Those who know me know that I am a private person. I draw a veil between my public and private life and I seldom pull it back; however, over the last weeks I have experienced some difficult news and, in my process of dealing with this news, I came to certain insights that I feel others might benefit from so I have decided to forgo my privacy this one time and share a few personal insights.
Being a parent is the most important position we as individuals can ever have. As we raise our children and let them go out into the world, we directly shape and release a force of change into society. Our children will carry what we impart to them as they take their place in the world, be it a legacy of fortitude and strong character or one of mistreatment and neglect. What we pass down to them, they will in turn pass down to their children, sending a reflection of our soul down the generations. All this said, I return to my original declaration: Being a parent is the most important position we as individuals can ever have.
Recently, I received the news that I will be unable to have children due to a progressive disease that I have apparently had for several years. In my late twenties, I made the choice not to have children. My books and my business are, in a way, my children—each story, each character and each line of verse created in the womb of my imagination/soul. So my dreams were not devastated by this sad news; nevertheless, since receiving the diagnosis, I have found myself in mourning for the life that could have been and reflecting on the place of we women who don’t (or can’t) have children.
What triggers the mourning is the idea or fear that all the maternal love we have saved within us for a child must now remain pent-up in us as sorrow. I chose not to have children but this does not mean I do not have that maternal love saved within me to give. I have found that, we women who do not have children feel forlorn as we try to figure out what to do with the love we have been building within us for the children we will never have. The most important thing being that we do not let that love turn to bitterness but rather, find a way to redirect it.
I have been pondering these and many other questions over the last years (especially over the last weeks since learning my diagnosis). And, while my reflections are still gathering, I have come to this conclusion: In being the mother of one or two, we set forth a ripple of change. But those of us unable to be the mother of one, are given the chance to be the mother to all. Unable to bring forth a new life, we should not find ourselves lacking; for we can find our place in fortifying all that already exists and is struggling for survival, which in these wearing times is a crucial role. Unable to focus my maternal nurturings on my own children, I turn my motherly love upon those around me and find new purpose as I bolster, comfort and inspire those I encounter.