Sunday, 15 March 2015

On Children and Motherhood

It's Mothering Sunday in the UK and Ireland, and although I celebrate the American one in May (the Philippines, where I was born and raised, is heavily permeated by American traditions and Americanisms), I'm prompted to share my thoughts and feelings about today's important celebration as I had one of those occasional bursts of motherly instinct yesterday.

The Mr was made a godfather to a very close friend's daughter. I came along, of course, as it's a major family gathering.

We stayed after most of the guests have left, and we all gathered around the dining/front room to properly catch up and banter with each other. Our friends' eldest son, who's been doing some watercolour artwork lately, made a hilarious portrait sketch of my partner. The nine-year-old then offered to do mine.

He directed me to look at him then turn my head sidewards. I think he has perfectly captured my aura. What do you think?

My fondness of him stems not only from the fact that he's such a lovely boy, an entertaining conversationalist who loves hanging around the aunts and uncles, he's learning the piano, very sporty, and he gives the tightest hugs; He's the same age as the son I almost had. 

It's been almost a decade, and though I sometimes think that I have hurdled the psychological and emotional scars of that unfortunate incident in my life as a young married woman, there are moments and instances when I miss motherhood --that stage, of which I have not even experienced the full and entire process, and the larger-than-life experience afterwards. 

A made-up term for that is anemoia, or nostalgia for a time I've never known. It's from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, which is saved for another post.

I sometimes long for that child, and I have entertained thoughts of having one especially now that I'm with someone who, without an inch of a doubt, will make an excellent father.

But at the same time, my desire to have children is not the same as it was a decade ago.  It has eroded over the years, for every year that it was put off for another year.

Me and the artist

No. We, child-free women, are not selfish, as some pre-judge us.

Some of us do not deliberately and consciously choose to be child-free. Sometimes, being child-free is brought about by circumstances that are beyond our control or life events that open up and cement a realisation that not all women are meant to be mothers by virtue of having a womb.

I am past the concept of bearing children for the sake of having them as society expects me to. Not even my conservative mother is bullying me, so why should I accede to the rest of the world? 

The Mr and I sometimes joke about being parents to win the you-don't-have-chidren-you-don't-understand argument with patronising parents. Or I marvel at the idea of us having beautiful mixed race kids who will probably go on to become actors or beauty queens, or comedians (I know, that's gone too far, and an indication of a possible stage-mother inclination). But these are not reasons to have children. 

Still, the one thing that keeps me hanging on to passing on my genes is I may regret not having little ones when I know I'm capable of giving life to them. 

But then again, that's life. Sometimes, the most obvious life path and decisions are the most difficult to take and make.

My ovaries still have a few good years before they finally give up on me, and I have not entirely given up on the thought of being a mother. But in the meantime, I'm settling for being the doting aunt or godmother.  The world can never get enough of mother figures!

Happy Mothering Sunday 2015!


  1. What a very personal post Marj. At a family gathering this weekend, the talk also touched on motherhood. Well it's very true, some of us women cannot bear a child, some choose not to have one and some are just waiting for the right time. But none of us should be considered selfish because we don't have children yet.

    1. I think it's even more selfish to have children just because your neighbours have them :) Thank you for reading my very personal post. I think this is the kind which most readers stay away from and don't wanna know. So, thank you!

  2. Hi Marj. What a beautifully written, thought-provoking post; I'm so sorry to hear of your sad experience babes. I know a couple of people who have been faced with this and cannot imagine how one must feel after such a heartbreaking event. I don't have children either and often (although less frequently nowadays) get quizzed about why or told that's it's time to find a man and settle down. I've never had a maternal instinct but this was made worse when my brother was born with lots of health complications and still has health issues today so there is a fear factor involved for me not wanting children too. I don't ever feel pressured in to having children and must admit have never been referred to as selfish (that's crazy) and in fact a lot of my friends say they envy my child-free life but I know they are just saying that in jest since I'm sure they'd never want to exchange their child for my life. I hope you have the opportunity to add to your family - i don't know you in person but I have a very strong instinct that you would be among one of the 'perfect' mothers out there: inspirational, beautiful, intelligent, passionate and caring among other adjectives. Take care xxx

    1. Thank you for reading Colleen, for your beautiful words, and for sharing your story. Yes, you mentioned before about your brother's health issues. I understand. A friend has bipolar syndrome and he's absolutely terrified to pass it on to his children. I think people are sick and tired of pressurising me to have children. Well and good, coz I'm sick and tired of them as well. They're now focused on the twenty-something family relations and friends. Thank you, I do feel that I'll make a good mother. I think that idea of me is reinforced by the fact that I know in my heart my partner will make a good father. It's comforting and makes me brave enough to tackle the issue again. Hope you're having a lovely week xxx

  3. This was a beautiful post doll...being a Mother is a very rewarding yet really hard and tiring task. Most think it's just for a moment, but it's every moment of every day, you don't stop being a mother. My girls have taught me more than I think I've taught them at times. I don't think we should ever make it hard for those who do not have children, it is a choice and sometimes a choice made for them as nature goes. And some that have children aren't the kind of Mothers anyone should have. So it can go both ways really. I think you'd make a great Mother and even if one doesn't have the children themselves, we can still be a motherly presence to someone's life!! Xxx

    1. Thank you doll! I can imagine how lucky your girls are. I can tell you're a fun mum :) You're so righh about your points. If I do become a mother, I have to rein in myself as I have a feeling I'd be a stage mother, the way my dad was a stage father to me. Haha. I'd like to think I'm a mother figure to my niece and nephew and friends' children. That's a beautiful thought. Hope you're having a good week xxx


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