A recent article in The Guardian newspaper discussed the position of childless women in society and how they are often treated as sub-women, who have somehow not fulfilled their purpose in life. It cited the example of Jennifer Aniston, who has come under criticism for not having had children, to which she replied that she has ‘birthed a lot of things’, and therefore did not feel any less of a woman as a result. As I approach my 39th year, I know that it is highly unlikely I will ever have children, but for me, that is not a great concern as I have never pictured myself married with children anyway. However, I also understand that sense of isolation at times, when those who are mothers, or wish to be, start having conversations which I am not able to contribute to, or am just not included in. People often assume that if you are my age and childless that maybe you don’t like children, which isn’t the case. It’s the actual giving birth bit I don’t like! I have also always felt that I would rather have adopted and given a home to children who would otherwise not have had one, and am also concerned about how over-populated our planet is and would therefore be reluctant to add another being to the world. That is not to say I disagree if others choose to have children and I completely respect their choice. Yet I do not feel I have completely missed out on some aspects of being a parent. I teach Media and Communication Studies to international students who are going on to study at a UK university. I often feel that they are my ‘children’, who I am encouraging to work hard and strive for their dreams. Three of last term’s students visited me the other day, ahead of starting their degree courses and I was filled with such pride for them, which surely other parents feel about their own children. So, while I will never know what it feels like to be a ‘real mum’ I do not believe I lack anything as a result because I hope that I can still inspire and have a positive impact on those around me, just as any parent should.
This is the link to the article which inspired this post: