Thoughts and ideas to inspire, uplift and affirm the childless and childfree, by circumstance and by choice
I’m learning and being inspired constantly by the amazing discussions that go on in the comments here. Tonight I have been mulling over some thoughts rantywoman left on my recent post about the formless nature of non-motherhood. She wrote:
“I do however like the idea of a support group for non-mothers, but it’s difficult because we are all coming at the issue from so many different places– married but infertile, childfree, childless due to lack of a partner, still hoping, and on and on. One thing I am finding though as I read these blogs is that there are some commonalities to the non-motherhood experience that cut across all categories.”
Because my own experience of non-motherhood is mainly positive and always interesting to me, I often wonder as I write if there are readers who are thinking, ‘that’s all very well for her to say because her experience hasn’t been painful like mine‘. And sometimes I worry that for all my hopes that we might be able to come together and help and strengthen each other as non-mothers, there might be limits based on the huge differences in our individual experiences.
So I loved rantywoman’s observation about commonalities that might ‘cut across all categories’. It gives me lots of hope. Extending the non-mother/vegetarian comparison from the previous post, people can be vegetarian for reasons of health, politics, compassion, religion, squeamishness, poverty and fashion – but they can all find inspiration in the same cookbook.
There are lots of assumed commonalities that are certainly myths. We don’t all loathe children. We don’t all party hard and buy lots of handbags and shoes. We don’t all globe trot. We don’t all have pets and if we do, we don’t all regard them as child-substitutes. We’re not all stupendously wealthy and/or over-educated. We’re not all regretful and envious etc etc.
So with all that in mind, I’ve been trying to figure out what some of the most basic commonalities could be. I thought one might be a shared sense of spaciousness, whether glorious or daunting, in terms of how we see and plan our futures. Related to that, I think there might be a shared feeling of breaking with tradition (perhaps its too obvious a point to make, but all of our parents and grandparents were parents, so by definition we’re all breaking with our own immediate family traditions.) And then, as a result, I think we tend also to share a sense of disconnect with a very significant and perhaps even sacred part of our own societies and cultures.
If you’d like to read more about understandings of non-motherhood you might be interested in this post about the way we’re trained to see the word through a parenting gaze or the part of the faq page where I’ve tried to explore choice and circumstance as forces that are not always entirely separate.
But in the meantime, how about you? Do you think we can assume any points of commonality among non-mothers as a collective?
[The beautiful image above is reproduced with permission from Yataro.]