To my mom friends:
I love you and your families with all of my heart. I’m the friend who comes solo to your child’s third birthday and runs around with all the kids. I’m the friend who never gets mad when you have to hang up to calm a crying voice. I’m the friend who loves your children as much as I believe I would love my own.
I know sometimes you have to cancel plans last minute because a little life needs you more than me. I know sometimes your life is too chaotic to call on important dates. I know sometimes you just need a space to vent about not having a moment to yourself. And I am that friend who will always understand, who will always tell you it’s okay, and who will always answer when you need me.
Like I said, I love you and the life you are building with your loved ones. And I’m so glad I get to be a tiny part of the world in which you want your kids to grow and thrive. That’s why today’s conversation is a little hard for me.
Lately, I’ve been hearing some phrases that hurt.
“You don’t understand because you aren’t a mom.”
“Maybe you’ll get it when you’re a parent.”
A chuckle, followed by, “What’s it like to be able to do whatever you want?”
I want to scream that you are right, I’m not a mom. I’m not a parent. And I have a whole world telling me I’m inferior because of it.
Maybe I don’t have kids because my marriage fell apart. Maybe I don’t have kids because I’m unwillingly single. Maybe I don’t have kids because my body wasn’t designed for it. Maybe I constantly worry that I never will or maybe I constantly worry it’s shameful that I hope it doesn’t happen to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I know being a mom can be isolating. I get it. But not being a mom can carry a stigma. And the whole host of reasons why I may not be a mom often leave me feeling like I’m not good enough or something is wrong with me.
Be gentle with me because sometimes your words, intended to make me understand your pain or loneliness, can have a traumatic effect. Be gentle with me. Instead, make me understand what you feel. Tell me that you are struggling because you are overwhelmed. Tell me you need some time to yourself because you’re tired. Hell, tell me you’re upset because I’m being a jerk.
But remember, maybe I would love to have little hands reaching up to hold mine. And maybe I’d love to have a husband who I could create a little world with. Maybe those things were so close for me and I lost them in the blink of an eye. Or maybe I feel shame for not wanting those things.
Remember this, and don’t make the conversation about me not having kids. Because, trust me, I really wish I lived in a world that didn’t make me feel shame, because I don’t.