I’m sitting outside beneath a mid-May sun and writing these words. It’s the first day of this year that I’ve worn a dress with no sleeves. Everywhere around me there are birds singing, their glorious chits, squeaks, chirps, whistles reverberating through the garden. A buzzing vibrates the blossoming apple and pear trees. It is a good sign, all these bees. Their flowers will be pollinated and the fruit will grow.
This past weekend, in honour of Mother’s Day, I began to reread a book called Nobody’s Mother. It is an anthology of stories by women who have chosen not to be mothers. It is so nourishing to read their stories as it reminds me that I am not alone in the decision to forego motherhood. In 2012 it still isn’t a very popular stance to take in our North American culture, or any culture for that matter.
At 45 years old, I look at mothers around me with young children and imagine how it feels to know that your next 15-20 years are organized around raising children. Then I think about my own life and recognize that I don’t have the same kind of built-in long-term goals. What does your life look like when there is no one you know that you will need to care for, no one who is counting on you to be there, day after day, for so many years?
Of course there is my partner, whom I adore, and yet I believe I count on his presence far more than he on mine. Not that he doesn’t value my companionship and love. However he prizes his self-sufficiency more than I do my own. I love being cared for. And I do get to care for others, however I know that it’s not in the same way as I would if I were a parent.
One of the many things I love about not being a mother is that I am able to devote a lot of time to my own creativity, self-care and learning. I also love the ability to be aunt and Goddess-mother to other people’s children, and I cherish those relationships.
In her essay titled The Right Decision: internationally published author and kayaker Maria Coffey accepts:
“I didn’t need a child to complete my life. I was happy being barren. And if I needed the love of children around me, there were places I could find it.”
There are many things I imagine myself doing in the next 15-20 years: writing a book on Loving Inquiry, performing in a new one-woman show, traveling to Europe to discover the beauty of Scotland, Ireland, Southern France & Italy and to Asia to savour the cuisine of the South East while experiencing the arts and rituals of other cultures. I would also love to speak in front of thousands of people, to share my poems and my heart, to teach others to live with love and compassion for themselves and others.
Then there are dreams that I am not even aware of yet. Like the blossoms on the fruit trees, these unknown longings are just at the beginning of their journey to fruition. I could never have imagined I’d be here, twenty years ago. And yet even as I write that, as I look back through my journals I can read the seeds of all the beautiful blossoms now adorning the present of my life.
Whether you are a mother or not, what new longings are being felt within the womb of your life path? How might you honour their seedling potential?
Take some time this week to pause and accept wherever you are at in your unfolding. Write a poem, draw an image or connect with a plant that will help you to honour the un/knowing that is an integral part of your creative potential.