In the 1950’s, “the American Dream” included 5 elements: a husband with a salary, a stay-at-home wife, children, a nice house, and a dog. While the times have changed significantly, the majority of these elements are still popular for the average family unit. But what about those women who want all those things… except the children? Yes, I said it. I just heard the gasp of horror coming from potential grandmothers from sea to shining sea! I am, for the most part, completely happy and content without children. My husband and I discuss this often, and for now we are on the same page. Neither of us necessarily consider it a permanent decision, but it brings me peace, despite the nagging pressure to build an exact replica of “the American Dream”.
Even after making the decision to not have children (for now), that “dream” can sometimes muddle the emotions of a 30-year-old woman who is childfree by choice. For the most part, the driving force to become a mother is biological, but even so, we will each have different lives, different minds, different dreams, and different needs. I always thought I would want children. I never thought I would be “just a housewife”. Being raised in the South, it’s not uncommon to believe that either college or a job follows high school, and a spouse and a child come soon after. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that mindset if it works for you. Most of my friends already have at least one child, if not several, and I have a clowder of nieces and nephews. I love them all with a very generous portion of my heart.
I’ll admit, sometimes that leaves me feeling empty. Other times, I am beyond thankful— Don’t even get me started on some of the drama that goes on in the mom groups of social media, but that’s beside the point. Yes, I do have tiny twinges of jealousy when I wish I had a child just so I could have something to talk about with the “cool” moms… I mean, I try, but I must not be doing something right… “Your baby is adorable! Want to see a really cute picture of my cat? Seriously…she’s super awesome… Oh. Not the same? Roger that.” Hashtag: mom group reject.
So what about when I step away from the baby powder fog for a moment? I ask myself, “Is that what you really want?” Enter: complete clarity. While I’m also not opposed to God choosing me to be a mom, I see the word ‘no’ flash before my eyes in big neon lights. The hardest moments come after realizing that your desires for your life do not match those around you. It can make you feel as though your brain isn’t wired correctly. Something must be wrong with you since that’s your purpose as a woman, right? It makes you question whether or not you heard God correctly when he answered that prayer. In fact, people may sometimes tell you that very thing, as if they were listening in on the line between you and the Man Upstairs. Luckily for me, my closest family and friends (a.k.a. “the ones who matter most”) support our current decision, but I know there are some women who aren’t as lucky… “Why wouldn’t you want children? Do it while you’re young, or you’ll regret it! It’ll be so different when they’re your own.” As far as my current situation goes, I have even heard the, “Your life must be so easy,” and, “I could keep my house clean like that too if I got to sit at home without kids all day.” Which brings me to my point…
“I do not believe in weeds. A weed is simply a flower that someone decides is in the wrong place.” -Sister Monica Joan, Call the Midwife
That’s a great quote, isn’t it? Sure, I do get extra time to read or *cough* accidentally fall asleep in my favorite chair, but I don’t render myself useless by any means. I take my job as a housewife very seriously, something I had to teach myself as I realized my role in this stage of life. My husband supports me, I support him, and we made this decision together (with some Divine guidance). Even so, it’s been suggested by the standards of society that I’m a weed, awkwardly planted in the wrong stage of life. Perhaps a late bloomer that just needs encouragement. Soon, I will wilt. My purpose as a woman is not bound by the productivity of my womb. What people haven’t realized, that after months, possibly years, of thoughtful prayer, I am blooming where I have been firmly planted by the hand of God. He will make different uses of different women, and this particular story is about my garden.
There are many types of flowers and blooms in this world, each with their own beauty and requirements to thrive. Who are we to decide their purpose when their Creator had a use for every single root, petal, stem, and thorn? If you find your heart tugging at a desire you are confused about, take that desire to God. Specifically ask him the questions you need answered. Most importantly, listen with your mind open to Him, strongly plant your roots, and be prepared to bloom in ways and places you had never expected.