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Intentionally Child-Free on Mother’s Day

What do we celebrate on Mother’s Day? Mothers, of course. But what makes one a mother? Does it have to be the physical act of bringing a new life into this world? I would encourage that that is not the only way to be a mother, and that children, borne or chosen, or even pets are not the only way to give life or nurture those around us as ‘mothers.’

There are those of us who have chosen a child-free life, and from my perspective, it does feel limiting that by this choice we can feel excluded from a celebration of life-givers simply because we’ve chosen not to use our physical capacity to bear life into this world.

What if our ideas, our creations, our gifts can be seen as bringing life, of nurturing?

Me and the hubs do semi-seriously joke that our creations, my art and his books, are our children. Sure they can, in many ways, be less tangible than a child. But they are still our legacy, what we are giving to the world. We may not have a lot of reach, but often children don’t really either, in the whole scheme of life and our world.

And I do hope that what I am bringing into the world is something that gives life, that nurtures those that it finds.

I also understand that some may disagree, saying that my ability to bear children as my legacy should be more important than a creative legacy, and they can keep that opinion, mine is also valid, though. And, I would like to believe that a woman is not her ability to have children. There are those that cannot, not having made the choice against as I have. And that sucks. They have so much love to give, and they are denied the natural option.

And Mother’s day can be hard, for many women, for many reasons. And while I know of the struggles of some, I know intimately my own struggles. The feelings of being left out when, in a way, I was taught that Mother’s Day was going to be for me. No question that I’d definitely have my own kids.

It is a weird kind of sadness and grief because it is directly a product of my decision, and I wouldn’t change that decision for the world. I know I chose well for me. And I struggle to not feel left out when my friends are having kids and when Mother’s Day rolls around.

It is a reminder that I have chosen a different, possibly harder in some ways, path. It is a sadness and grief that feels hard to share because I chose this. And yet it still exists.

So, I love seeing others talking about the other ways in which we, as women who have chosen no children, can be life-giving and nurturing. How we are still women even without the expected physical legacy that children bring. We, too, can bring joy and love to the world. Just in a different way.

And, this is not to say that mothers cannot do this in addition to their gift of children. There are so many amazing moms out there that give so much and nurture and give life to so many more than their own children. It is in our nature, as women, I think to nurture. We just don’t all do it in the same way. And that must be acknowledged. It must be welcomed. It must be shared so that none of us feel alone in what we cannot or chose not to do. So that we don’t feel alone. Period.

So, to all the women out there, Happy Mother’s Day! Let’s celebrate all the ways in which we nurture and bring life to others. You are doing great, exactly where you are, exactly how you’ve landed. Hugs all around 💜

PS. Here is a digital painting I did of some plastic flowers I saw at a house in our neighborhood. I definitely didn't know that they were plastic until a friend did some sleuthing and now I feel silly for not having seen it before lol. Still, I made some art and it looks great so I don't know that I care that I got bamboozled by pretty plastic flowers. Original image below the art, I really should have known but I wanted to believe they were real, I think.

digital painting of two plastic orange flowers that were not known to be plastic when painting them.

plastic orange spring flowers used as reference for the digital painting above

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