There is a Mother’s Day Underground, comprised mostly of infertile and uncoupled/childless women, that survives the first couple of weeks in May on courage, hiding at home and sending emails. A few of us also blog.
One of my similarly affected sisters sent a link to writer Anne Lamott’s very prescient piece in Salon. Although she herself is a mother, Lamott gets where we of the untapped wombs are coming from.
Mother’s Day celebrates a huge lie about the value of women: that mothers are superior beings, that they have done more with their lives and chosen a more difficult path. Ha! Every woman’s path is difficult, and many mothers were as equipped to raise children as wire monkey mothers.
That’s an old song, and most people–even those with children–have heard it before. The sour grapishness of that retort is not that new. But later on in the piece Lamott puts into words the raw truth that we childless feel. And it was this that I found very important and worthy of discussion.
We talk about “loving one’s child” as if a child were a mystical unicorn. Ninety-eight percent of American parents secretly feel that if you have not had and raised a child, your capacity for love is somehow diminished. Ninety-eight percent of American parents secretly believe that non-parents cannot possibly know what it is to love unconditionally, to be selfless, to put yourself at risk for the gravest loss.
That’s the coarse prejudice that hits you in the face every time some person smugly retorts “you just don’t understand because you don’t have kids.” As though that fierce, fiery love only comes with offspring. As though God were wholly incapable of giving those not gifted with children other avenues for such love experience.
I realise not everyone shares my worldview, especially my belief in a loving God who presents love as a mystical experience and the ability to Love as part of the essence of Divinity. God is Love.
You needn’t believe as I do, but even so I beg you to see that Love is not a selfish thing. It does not begrudge others. It does not seek to exclude or belittle. There is absolutely no reason to assume that someone else’s love is not as strong, good or worthy as yours simply because it does not conform to your pattern of living.
I do not say this to brag. But I know that I am blessed beyond measure to be part of a marriage of unconditional love. Not many people have that, and every time I read a romance novel or see a movie where the quest is for the type of Love I was blessed to find AT NINETEEN I am reminded again how generous God is with Love. We don’t have that magical unicorn love of mother and child, but we have another taste of magical love.
I don’t wish to stir up more controversy, but the number of childless couples and singletons I know who feel deep and abiding love for their pets, nieces, nephews and other unconventional entities is in the double, if not triple, digits. Pet people without kids hear often that dogs and cats are ‘not the same’ as having a child. I would submit that although the mechanics are different, the love experience is not necessarily different at all.
Because I know this like I know my own skin; If you thirst for love, the God Who Is Love will send it to you. Deep Love is one of the best ways we experience God. God desires to be known. So God sends love to those who wish to know it.