Recently I chatted with a dear friend of mine, who had been given some devastating news: after ten years of infertility investigations
For those women who, like myself, are childless not by choice (CNBC), Mother’s Day brings a mixture of feelings: love and
I am a woman without children. So why would being described as 'childfree' bother me? Until now, it hasn't, really. I preferred it to childless, because I felt that being described as 'a childless woman' made me sound like I was lacking; less than. It sounded sad, as though a life without children is a wasted opportunity, when we all know that isn't the case.
I am not someone who tried tirelessly to have a family; who spent thousands of pounds and years of my life on failed IVF treatments; who received a devastating diagnosis of unexplained infertility; who tried and failed to adopt; who miscarried; or whose child tragically died. Nor am I someone who's imagined herself as a mother throughout her adult life.
Years later, feeling strong and positive once more, I made a conscious decision not to let the whole experience of being turned away from the Mum Club continue to get me down. I had a lightbulb moment - an idea so obvious that I instantly wondered why I'd not come up with it sooner: I'd open my own club.
Don't get me wrong: Often it's okay to play the Child Card. But don't abuse it. Don't think that because life is so difficult for you as a parent, non-parents are obliged to make your life easier. I'll let you decide the date and place we meet. I won't comment on you turning up an hour late. But it's because I'm being nice, not because I owe it to you.
The true reason behind not having children is illness related. It just can't happen. Mother Nature decided that cancer and a heart condition shall prevail and the ability to reproduce shall sit in the pile of 'what ifs' for the rest of our days. Even adoption is off the cards for the same reasons.
For a woman without a child of her own, Mother's Day can be a challenging time. It can bring to the fore any pain, grief or sense of loss associated with not being a mother. Yet, we are all mothers, we all give birth to new life and create awesome things, whether it be in a physical, intellectual, emotional or spiritual form.
When I hear these comments, I usually smile and say nothing. But on the inside I find it really hurtful to be stereotyped in this way, and treated like there is something wrong with me just because I have not got the perfect husband or perfect family life.
When times were tough, you offered understanding ears. Even when you didn't understand, you listened and nodded sympathetically. You dried my tears on the first day I spent away from her; spurred me on during tough essays and projects; you accepted us as parents in the same way you'd accepted us as fellow students.