As a little girl, I remember looking forward to my future, fantasizing about who I would marry. Spending hours visualizing what my babies might look like, how many I would have and what their names would be. I would beam at the ends of fairytales, sighing and wishing for my own fairytale someday. My own happily ever after of babies and … um … happiness?
It’s a tale as old as time, you might say. For us girls, the apex of our existence seems to be centred around becoming a mother.
You dance with squirrels and sing high pitched songs in the forest, fall in love, get married. You have a bunch of Gerber-looking babies and live out the rest of your days in an apron with a toddler on your hip and a Subaru in your driveway.
Or you don’t.
You don’t have children and you live in a dark, creaky cottage at the edge of the forest. None of the trees out your window ever grow leaves. Your only friends are crows and, for some reason, you always seem to wear oversized hoods and have a suspicious looking mole.
Laying it out and adding a dash of sarcasm, of course it sounds silly, dramatic and extremist. But, is it really?
Somehow we have been cornered into these two choices, laid out before us in seeming black and white. Roles that come with these predetermined, stereotypical behaviours and lifestyles – and so many assumed judgments that we barely even notice them, let alone question them.
A woman is still the epitome of womanhood, even if she can’t bear children. She is still powerful and divine.
A woman is still a woman, even if she knows she doesn’t want children of her own. She’s no less feminine or nurturing, no less capable or loving. Just as the women who choose motherhood are no less independent or ambitious.
The stress of these all-or-nothing decisions bends us until we break as we step into these tiny boxes, sacrificing because we think we have to.
You can choose motherhood and a career. You can be a mother without being pregnant, you can choose motherhood without marriage. You can choose not to have children, yet still love children.
Ladies, we are splitting our sisterhood down the middle. We drift away from relationships with people that don’t live lives similar to ours, friends that make different choices get regularly phased out. We just don’t have much in common anymore, you know?
That transition is fair, understandable and, a lot of the time, even necessary. It’s growth.
But what if we looked up from our own little realities and self-centred thought processes to stop doubting the choices of our peers.
You don’t need to understand their motives or their choices. You just need to accept that they are different than you. That they know themselves better than you know them and that they are making the choices that make sense for their heart, soul and lives. End of story.
Once we start accepting our sisters, embracing them instead of questioning their truth, we get to start exploring this glorious grey area that lives between the obvious choices surrounding motherhood.
Mommy’s Inside Voice is a biweekly column by Amie Jay, a local mother of three.