“So, she did all the hard work and you get to kiss the baby.”
No, I have never carried a fetus in my womb, nor have I experienced the agony of childbirth pains. I deeply appreciate all that women endure to bring this priceless treasure to birth. I acknowledge, recognize and commend every mother for all she has done, currently does, and will do for her child(ren).
But the fact that I do not have a child of my own does not make me less of a woman. Is my heart colder than others? Do I hear the cry of an infant with less compassion than a woman who has borne a child? Do I care less for the “minor” accomplishments of a small child, knowing that in their young reality, these accomplishments are HUGE?
I would daresay that there is little in this life that warms my heart more than the sights and sounds of happy, healthy, polite children. There are a few children in my life that I consider myself very blessed to be quite close to, through family and friends. These precious little ones are in my thoughts more often than not, as I think of ways that I, as “Auntie,” can bring a smile to their faces and remind them how much they are loved.
When the dear infants cry, my heart aches with the need to make them as comfortable as possible. When the kindergartner wants to draw a picture, I stand ready, crayons in hand. I regard each piece of juvenile artistic expression with awe at the promise of talent displayed. I marvel at how well words and letters are sounded out. I swell with pride. But “I didn’t do any of the hard work.”
In this day and age of instant (or as near as possible) gratification, few people understand why, if I love children as much as I seem to, I do not have one – or more – of my own. And I can’t explain my reasons without inadvertently offending or causing pain to those who already have children. Interesting predicament? That would be an understatement.
No, my reasons are not selfish. I’m not concerned about keeping my girlish figure or having time for a social life. I’m concerned for the health, upbringing and welfare of my child. I’m concerned about genetic defects that would seriously impair my child’s quality of life. I’m concerned about paying strangers to care for my child. I’m concerned that there could be trouble making ends meet. For myself alone, I could face uncertainties and difficulties. But I cannot in good conscience knowingly subject an innocent child to these difficulties, when that child has no choice in the matter and certainly deserves better.
So my cherished unborn, unconceived child will wait for me until I can give him all he deserves. In the meantime, I give of the maternal love that flows unendingly from my heart to those little ones I am blessed to know right now – precious treasures that never fail to bring joy and wonder to my life.
* See previous post, A Woman Without a Child for more on this topic.