Embracing My Maternal Instincts {Without Being a Mom}

in naturalmedicine •  9 months ago 

We're almost to the end of a wonderful collaboration between @naturalmedicine and @innerblocks for a really enlightening challenge asking us to share what things "block" our blossoming into the people we want to be. I had a blast sharing my pumpkin butter and relating how I continually try to keep the fear of trying new things from keeping me progressing in my own journey. However, as I told @freedomtowrite from the beginning, I also have another topic that I have been wanting to write about for ages now that also fits the theme of the challenge.


I am not a mother.

Well, I suppose that should be pretty obvious since I have not had any of my own children nor adopted any other wonderful little beings to care for otherwise. However, it took me ages to finally "come out" and fully articulate to those around me that I am not, nor ever want to be a mom. Whew, I can't tell you what a relief it was to finally and truly come to that realization. It was one of those things that I didn't realize how much anxiety I had about living up to the societal and familial expectations until I examined my own feelings about it. I felt like something was wrong with me, to be perfectly open and honest.

As a young girl, I always remember talking about kids with my girlfriends, but my heart was never really in it. I was especially shy and quiet in school, so I was the type to just go along with things and not really share (or know) my true feelings on certain topics. I didn't really date much in high school or even into college, so it was never an issue that came up often. Looking back, it was something that was often in the back of my mind, though. I think the first time I examined my feelings on it a bit more was when I had some exploratory surgery that determined that I have some anomalies in my anatomy that in fact, might make it a bit challenging if I wanted to carry a child in my womb. Nothing that would necessarily prevent it flat out, but I would require close examination throughout a pregnancy if I chose to attempt such an endeavor. This was around the same time a lot of my friends were getting married and starting families.

I remember going to the mall with my younger sister not long after that revelation came to light. We were sitting there at the food court (yep, long before my healthy revelations in other matters, haha), and I opened up with my feelings that I didn't want children. I was a bit worried because up to that point I felt like everyone around me (friends, family, co-workers, people on the street) just expected I would some day. She looked at me and said, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I've never seen you as a mother." Such a simple statement, that perhaps many would take offence at, but it made me feel that I had finally been seen and expressed myself fully and truly.


Why is this such a big issue?

I think most any woman who has decided the same for herself and her body can probably elaborate that it is not easy in most cultures to go against this normative role! I can't tell you how many times I've been asked one of the following questions:

  1. Who will take care of you when you get old?
  2. Won't you regret it later on?
  3. Are you sure you really don't want kids?
  4. What does your mother think?
  5. Do you not like children?

And any other number of personal questions, regardless of whether the person has known me for years or just met me. I think the most disappointing is that even though I am very forthcoming now in my stance if anyone is curious, I have acquaintances who STILL ask me if I'm pregnant yet. Really?? I try to laugh about it, but then it gets a bit frustrating when no one asks some of the childless men I know the same questions. Not to mention, I also know plenty of women who wanted more than anything to be a mom, but were not able to bear their own children. Asking without knowing a woman's history can be like pouring salt in an open wound. A final comment that frustrates me is that I have also been called selfish for not wanting to have children. I suppose you can say so in some ways, but shouldn't we all be a bit selfish in really examining what we want out of life? If I nourish my own soul and stay true to my goals and desires, it means I have much more to give to others. Becoming a parent is a serious role to take on in life, and it should be a very well-thought out decision no matter what side of the coin you fall on.


Want to know the fun part I've realized? Being true to myself has made me accept the "maternal" instincts I do have and I absolutely ADORE being an auntie to a number of wonderful little children! One of my very dear clients and friends once told me that there are many ways to influence the future generation and leave your mark on this world without leaving your genetic markers behind. I don't hate children because I don't want to be a mother, if anything I get to enjoy time with more of them as a result! My Fridays with my niece are the highlight of my week, and I miss my good friend's daughter when I haven't seen her as much as I miss my friend. My photo reel is pretty much solely food and my favorite kiddos. It is a blast to watch these little ones grow up and be a part of their lives!


With that being said, I am also very thankful to all the wonderful mamas I know out there trying to juggle it all and raise these little humans to grow up to be well-functioning adults. I think sometimes there is a division, whether real or imagined, between those of us ladies who have children and those that don't. Of course there is a club that I won't have access to because I will never fully understand the joys and challenges that motherhood brings, but I also see that we can very much support each other. As in many areas of life, we all bring different experiences to the table that make our world more rich and wonderful when we share them!

I think I probably missed some other points on this topic, so would love to hear more thoughts in the comments if you have your own to add to the table! This was never a discussion I had as a young girl, which made it even tougher to know my own feelings on it. Also, if anyone needs an extra auntie, I'm happy to fill the job. 😉

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Good on you for being true to yourself Katie! Your maternal instinct comes through not only with your gorgeous niece but also here on Steemit, even though I'm probably nearly twice your age, you have given me a kind of motherly encouragement many times, as crazy as it sounds.
I was never the broody type but once my sons came along, it all changed!
Just keep on being the wonderful person that you are, guiding so many in your daily life and doing what you're meant to do, not what's expected of you!

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Thanks so much @lizelle! It is fun when you think about how many other areas of life you can provide nourishment and nurturing to others. I'm glad I've had enough wonderful figures to learn from in my own life to help me come to find my own truth. I'm still learning, but it is wonderful to come into my own and continue to be able to give of myself to others. I can guarantee I get just as much back from you all! 💚

You are amazing Katie! I would imagine you are a wonderful auntie! I'm glad you chose to follow your own star because being a mother requires that you're "all in" all of the the time. lol Too many people have children for just the reasons you have listed, and they shouldn't have! You have such a wonderful influence on your sweet neice, I'm sure your sister is so pleased about the relationship you have with her daughter, you'll always be close and special as auntie :) Beautiful post, thank you for sharing with us xx

Thank you so much for your kind words! My sister is very happy to know her daughter has a few of us to spoil her rotten (in the best way possible). ;) I am very blessed to have so many amazing mothers in my life that allow me to fill that special role. It really does take a village, so we all have our part to play in raising up the next generation. Grammas are pretty darn amazing, too. ;)

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

You have been curated by @freedompoint on behalf of Inner Blocks: a community encouraging first hand content, with each individual living their best life, and being responsible for their own well being. #innerblocks Check it out at @innerblocks for the latest information and community updates, or to show your support via delegation.

Thanks for co-hosting this thought-provoking challenge!

Thanks for share your thoughts

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Thank you for stopping by to read them. :)

@tipu curate

Thank you 😊

First of all, you and your niece are just adorable buddies and clearly, your maternal instincts are fulfilled just from being auntie. Although, I can't speak from my own experience because I am mother myself, my younger sister does not have children on her own, but my daughters love her to pieces and she loves them. Same thing is happening with my younger daughter who is still single and is quite clear she is not going to have children. However, she is a great aunt to our twin boys. I know they are some close minded pope who are trying to put everyone in the same mold, but that's their problem. The priority for you is to be true to yourself and those who loves you will accept you for who you are.................a beautiful, brave young woman who knows who she is and not to be afraid to live her truth 😍

Aww, you put it beautifully Lena! There really are all different roles for us women to fill, and it is a wonderful thing when we can all support each other. I think too often we think we need to compete with each other or hold ourselves to standards others set, when it is really our uniqueness that makes us strong together. I'm happy to know all kinds of different women who speak their truth and celebrate others who do the same! Thank you for being one of my close allies!

You can always count on my support Katie! You are truly a shinning example for women today. I am happy we connected here and I hope we always will be 😍

You may not have felt the need to be a mother, and there is nothing wrong with that, although at times I am sure and can understand you felt pressure thats what should have been your course, but hold your head high you are a wonderful person that comes across so clear in one way or another in each and everyone of your posts.

And you may not have bene a mom but i bet you are a much loved Aunt

Thanks so much @tattoodjay! I think times are beginning to change in that there are all sorts of blended families and men and women both are realizing they do have choices in that regard. Love can be shown in a multitude of ways. I think that's part of my job as a trainer, too. In many ways what I do can be considered somewhat maternal in that I give of myself very much to try to help my clients succeed! That and they can be big babies sometimes, hahaha!

Yes I do agree times are for sure changing and roles change
lol at the clients being big babies but also true

being a mother is a big responsibility that's why it takes a lot of consideration.

But sometimes, for some people, it seems like there is a miracle to suddenly want to be a mother :)

Absolutely! That's one thing I should have added, as well--anyone is allowed to change their mind at any point! I have a good friend who swore she never wanted to be a mother. Well, she is stepmother to 3 children now and does a truly great job of filling that role. I think the big thing is staying true to ourselves and not judging anyone else for the path they choose. :)

Aw, I love my nephews like mad too - they fulfil my need for another child, though I'm too old for one! I had one accidentally, loved him to bits and never felt the need for another one, despite everyone asking when we were going to have one together or if I regretted not having another (what, like a spare kid? and how dare you!). We were too busy having a life, and my husband didn't think he needed to contribute to a world already mega over populated. Kids are lovely and all and I don't begrudge people having them or the mother instinct which is darn strong, but it is merely a biological imperative which we can rise above if we choose or step aside from and we shouldn't be judged for that. You would make the best fun Auntie ever! Live your truth above all!

Saying that, if I was to have my time again I'd have ten... lol. No I wouldn't - I'm far too selfish haha. But a little baby Jamie (hubby) would have been lovely. He thinks a world doesn't need another Jamie - I totally disagree!

Just got back from my Friday afternoon visit, so my heart is pretty well bursting. Nothing better than an afternoon spent with that kid.

That is another loaded question--when's the next one coming? Or really any of those "expected" transitions. My boyfriend and I have been together for 9 years, so for the longest time it was the marriage question. Then some of the extended family got desperate and let me know (even though it was his family) that it was ok to have kids out of wedlock these days. 🤦‍♀️

I would imagine you and Jamie both impact the world in a lot of ways, as well, outside of the typical parental roles. 💚

Good on you for being true to yourself!
I had one son and had wanted another but I got divorced and when I remarried my husband didn't want any kids.
I loved him and I didn't want to bring a child into this world who wasn't wanted!
I think it is great for the kids there are to have all the love they can get and I think you have lots of love to give!

There really are a lot of kids that can use love in so many ways! I remember when I was younger thinking I just didn't like children in general, but as I've gotten older and hopefully wiser, I realized I just love other people's kids. ;) It really is important to know your partner's desires on the issue ahead of time. It can be a deal-breaker for some people, either way.

You have touched a bundle of nerves for me here, Katie. This post actually makes me want to cry because so much of it resonates for me. I will come back (probably) and respond to specific issues, but before doing that, let me warn you. The people that think that society has got over women as objects and that their primary role is to bear children and mothers are so wrong. When I tell The Husband that the social pressure to do all of those things was huge in my youth, he doesn't get it. He particularly doesn't get it when I say that it is still so.

This is grist to the mill.

Perhaps, instead of a long, rambly response, I should add my own journey with this issue to my list of things to write about.

Happy Friday with your niece. I shall think of you two when I am in my kitchen.

I had a feeling you would be able to put forth some very valuable feedback in this arena. I really only did scratch the surface and feel I could have gone a whole lot deeper. However, I didn't want to put off writing about it any longer as I think it is an issue that really does need to be addressed more frequently. As you said, it is still so. I tend to think it is just so pervasive and subtle that most people don't even realize when they are contributing to it. I know for a fact I have said things myself without even thinking about it in the past.

As always, the more rambly the better in my opinion. ;) Enjoy your kitchen day!

Ah, yes. This is a big issue. Writing about it, which I want to, is a real challenge. It's going to take some work. You are very perceptive. I do hope, one day, we have a our shared kitchen day(s)...

Welcome to the club! The membership is much larger than most people realize. I am 62 now and never regretted my decision not to have children. I have worked as a teacher and write children’s books. Not having my own children gives me the option of investing in the younger generations in a mindful and purposeful way, rather than just being caught up in in all the duties that come with motherhood! 😉

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I'm in very good company I see. 😊 I think that really is one of the most unfortunate misconceptions I've heard about people who choose not to have their own children--that we don't like kids. That couldn't be further from the truth, as you so wonderfully exemplify! It is always nice to hear from someone a little further down life's road that you don't have any regrets, either. I don't imagine I will, but sometimes it's hard to tune that out when people ask about that.

Yes, amazing how so many people think they are experts on how you should live your life! 😉. They mean well.

A couple of my cousins decided to be child free as well. We are are also animal rescuers and adopt from shelters. So we get to nurture sweet furry babies!

I’m glad i didn’t miss this one. Do you trip out as much as I do on the familiarities? It’s to the point where it’s weird now.

I briefly explained to Traci just the other day why I didn’t go that route, either. She tagged you a ishton of times in it, you’ll see it if you feel like it.

Aunt Plants Pants rhymes better anyway.

Well glad I finally saw that exchange. Think I'm finally catching back up on my notifications. ;)

So many different reasons why some of us go this route, and unless we tell ya, it's nunya business. I personally don't mind talking about it (obviously), but as you said so many people try to get all to familiar with you and think they know what you will and won't regret. Or what you can and can't afford. Or what your body can and can't accomplish.

Aunty Planty sounds pretty good, too. Though the kid doesn't know my alter ego yet, haha.

A bit late on this post but I am still glad to have read it.

For the longest time, I did't want children for a number of reasons. They scared me, the life scared me, and I seen how the world can be and hard it is to raise children, how easy it is to fall and fail. I didn't want to take the chance to raise kids and not succeed, to give them a rough life like I had lived and those around me. A life like that is not for children.

Getting older I remember how frustrating it got when family members would ask me those very same questions. Hey, it's my life and you're not living it. If I had kids according to others expectations, how horrible a life it would be!

Later on, I knew I wasn't living the life that I wanted. I wanted better, healthier and drama free. I wanted to disconnect from what people thought was the real world - full of fakes, and lies and unnecessary problems. I wanted to connect with what was real, this earth, our true nature and our true needs and happiness. Through trying to achieve that, I met Danny. He had the same beliefs and wants. Through this life opened up to me and the visions of having a family was possible. It wasn't a dream that I had to be a mom, but more of a need for a love I never had. I can most definitely tell you that I planned on only having 1 child and I think my sanity would have preferred that. I had a second child, the talk of everyone telling my that its not ok to have just one child, that the 1rst one would need a sibling to have company and a better life got to me, and my husband wanting another had convinced me. But I wasn't honest with myself. My thoughts turned and I wasn't ready to have another, I spoke to Danny about this and told him we need to stop trying, as having another child under these thoughts were unhealthy. I didnt know I was already pregnant then. It caused me to go deeper into depression, I was already dealing with a postpartum depression without realizing it and not dealing with it, so this worsened it all. I felt so guilty. I spent sleepless nights apologizing to my son why he was sleeping. I felt like I was taking myself away from him. Going back to these thoughts are hard and is filling my eyes with tears, even after 6 yrs has passed. I went down a dark path and the events that followed are hard for a mother to think about as we always want what is best for our children. That connection a mother has to her baby wasn't completely fulfilled when I had Emma. That is a hard thing for me to accept to this very day....
2 years after, I was still trying to work on this depression, my relationship with Danny was getting very difficult. I became pregnant for Frankie. This drowned me. I was seeing a social worker and a psychiatrist, and had a constant thought for having an abortion. My life was upside down. I know that it takes two to make a child and I wasn't being responsible enough. An allergy to latex and a dishonest husband is what brought me to that situation, a struggle with birth control had a play in it, but there are still other ways it could have been avoided, I am still part to blame in that happening.

I couldn't come to terms with getting rid of the baby. Everything was extremely hard to deal with. Medication wasn't helping with the depression and so I turned to a dear friend that knew about natural medicines, homeopathic remedies and spiritual nature. That is what helped me get through it all.

Later on I had what you all know as a Frankie. Through everything that went on, there is a reason why I had her. It took me some time to find out why, she is a blessing. I have a connection with her that I do not have with my others. It may sound mean, but I am being honest. I have a connection with the two others as well, they are all different thus having different connections. Frankie helped me get through many and as she grows up, she is still that support and reminder. She doesn't know it but she is a spirit healer. When something is wrong, she comes to me and looks me in the eye, she has a gift of understanding and when she talks she speaks with old wisdom that instantly calms and lifts away the problems. And all she has to say is that everything will be ok, and that she loves me. Its in her eyes that captures it all. I can't explain it, its going through it that we see. Shes only 4 and she is full in her natural gift. I can't imagine later on!

Ive written a post a long time ago, how children are our medicines. They are also our teachers. I'll dig it up and update it with more knowledge to it.

It isn't always about our own children that give us wisdom and love, it is all the children in the world.

I share this story of mine because I think it is important to share as mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins.... as women, that our lives are all different, and no matter what our decisions are, where life takes us, we need to learn to support one another and their choices. There is a reason to our paths and it is one to be respected. Every single thing that happens in our lives is with reason. Our battles that we fight are not to be judged but are to be loved. A love and understanding for that person.

Even if you havent had a child, you and others, we are all mothers. I see what you do with your niece and I see the love that you have. Take pride and joy in that. Your life is beautiful and it makes your niece's life that much more joyful. Your impact is strong and you have a bond that is unbreakable.

Life is life, let it happen the way it needs. That is a knowledge a lot people could afford to learn. Be you, be strong, be loving and kind. You have already succeeded in all that is most important and natural. :) xx