I was inspired by a conversation this morning on Twitter by some women who are in their 40’s and have yet to marry and have children but long to be mothers. They affectionately refer to each other as #PANK (Professional Aunts No Kids). I could just tell by their tweets that these women definitely have the hearts of mothers and feel like maybe their time is up.
I can’t pretend to understand because I’ve been a mother all of my adult life. I had my first child at the tender age of 21 and my second at 36. So I’ve been somebody’s mama for almost 22 years now. But what I did sense from these women was a longing that is real to any woman especially a mother. I empathize with their longing.
But there are options now. I think as women, we need to update the conversation and change the paradigm. We’ve updated our thinking in so many areas of life but we’re still stuck in an outdated paradigm of motherhood. In other words, “I have to be married and I have to conceive the child biologically with my husband.” And while that may be the ideal, it’s certainly not the only option. Adoption and surrogates can also be options now and women should be open to exploring them. I have many close friends and colleagues who either were adopted or adopted children themselves. And they would tell you that they feel extreme love from their adoptive parents or for their adopted children.
It’s not impossible. But often we want to dictate how God chooses to bless us. If it doesn’t come in a certain package, then we might miss it. Think about all of the women who are raising children without husbands right now. Fathers who were killed in wars or died from diseases or just walked away. Grandmothers, aunts and girlfriends who have stepped in and are raising someone else’s children because maybe the biological mother can’t. These women are no less mothers because the fathers aren’t in the picture. So then “motherhood” is NOT defined by the presence or absence of the father. Motherhood is a relationship between a nurturing woman and a child period. A woman who has chosen that she wants to spend her life and resources helping this child find or make his or her place in the world. Chosen to love that child unconditionally.
So why aren’t more women exploring single motherhood via adoption or surrogates? We are more educated and financially equipped now than ever before so why don’t we feel we can do it? I think that part of the reason some women don’t explore the options of single adoption or surrogates is because over the years we’ve secretly and harshly judged single mothers and so the idea of “choosing” to be one forces us to look at that judgment for what it is. We’ve secretly wondered “what did she do to run that man off?” We’ve judged her as irresponsible with her sexuality never thinking that “her” is “us”. And I can tell you that as a single mother, I’ve judged myself that way. I’ve wondered the same things about myself earlier in my life. I’ve beat myself up about how my choices may negatively impact the lives of my children. But rather than being a victim of my circumstances and choices, I do the best that I can and just love them and myself. And let’s be honest, it’s hard. Raising kids will tap into every issue, insecurity, fear and pain you can experience. But nothing in my life has brought me greater joy either so I wish it for every woman who desires to experience it.
So to all of those moms-to-be, I don’t believe that God would plant a desire for motherhood in you so deeply only to deny you the blessing. It may take a while (Sara and Abraham in the Bible) or it may come by different means but it IS possible. God is faithful.
Blessings to all the mothers and mothers to-be.