Tomorrow is Mother's Day! And I will be lavishing praise on my own dear mother (and all wonderful mothers!) tomorrow accordingly!

But as for today, a friend of this page asked me if — on this Mother's Day weekend — I could re-post some words that I wrote last year on Facebook about my own choice not to become a mother. Nearly 50% of American women today of childbearing age don't have kids, and as I am one of them, I am often asked this question:


So here is my answer, which I wrote last year…

A dear soul on this Facebook page asked me this question the other day, and I thought I'd make the answer public. The simple answer, blessedly, is: No.

The longer answer is that I have come to believe there are three sorts of women, when it comes to questions of maternity. There are women who are born to be mothers, women who are born to be aunties, and women who should not be allowed within ten feet of a child.

It's really important to know which category you belong to.

It can be a tragic situation (personally, for a family, and for the community at large) when a woman ends up in the wrong category, based on her true nature. Women who long for children but cannot have babies suffer enormously, as we well know, and my heart aches for their loss. But children who are born to inadequate or unprepared mothers also suffer enormously (and their mothers suffer, too—trapped in a responsibility that they can neither meet or enjoy.)

Those of us who are natural-born aunties are luckier. We love children, we enjoy children, but we know in our deepest heart that we are not supposed to have children of our own. And that is absolutely fine, as not every woman in history needs to be a mother, or would be good at it. Now, listen—if you put a baby in front of me, rest assured: that baby is going to get cuddled, spoiled and adored. But even as I'm loving on that beautiful infant, I know in my heart: This is not my destiny. It never was. And there is a curious rush of joy that I feel, knowing this to be true—for it is every bit as important in life to understand who you are NOT, as to understand who you ARE.

Me, I'm just not a mom. I bow before all good and loving mothers, but I think it's better for everyone if I create and nurture in other ways — in ways that are more suited to my talents and my heart. Having reached a contented and productive middle age, I can say without a blink of hesitation that wouldn't trade my choices for anything.

Lucky is the woman who can say that, and lucky are we ALL to be able to choose our own paths, in line with our own natures.

Blessings to everyone, and thanks for asking!



via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall