Mardy S. Ireland, a psychologist with a clinical practice in Berkeley, California, wrote that traditional women who have failed to be mothers, who as childless women are perceived as a vast, unfillable empty womb and their bodies as black holes, unable to make contributions to society by producing a child. In her book "Reconceiving Women - Separating Motherhood From Female Identity", Ms. Ireland conducted a survey and found that 40% of American women do not have children. Women who biologically are denied by their bodies to carry children are labeled as traditional childless women. Society made these women feel so abnormal because of their failure to have children.
While society is most familiar and more accepting of these traditional childless women because of their medical condition, the transitional women are labeled as selfish since these women delayed child-bearing to pursue their careers until it is seemingly too late to have a child. These women who like me are not mothers have found source of personal fulfillment and purpose of our identities.
I never felt the need to explain to anyone the reason my husband and I could not have a child of our own. I also did not care to explain that we have tried to adopt but the adoption took too long and very costly. I did not care to admit that I would not be able to love a child born as a product of artificial insemination. Our childless situation was a medical condition that even expensive treatments could not correct. For more than two years, we were willing to take injections that left our bodies with bruises and dutifully taking and recording tempature on the charts everyday.
I remembered the times when I broke down in tears in the doctor's office or looking at the pretty little dresses imaging about the daughter I would never have. I remembered the times when I lied to strangers showing photos of my daughter, T. and son, W. (T and W are children of my best friends, M.) Recently when someone asked, I would tell them that my son is Brady Quinn, the quarterback of University of Notre Dame! Actually, at my age I could have a son in college. Of course, my son would receive full scholarships and we would not have to work two jobs, or worry about second mortgage to pay for the tuition.
If I could, I would trade all the fancy vacations and the investment porfolios for a child of my own. When my nephew J put his arms around my neck and said he loved me, and when I cradled his head in my arm while reading Thomas the Train story, my heart is filled with joy. I have learned to accept that I will be a childless woman. I am at peace with reality that having children isn't what makes me a woman or a person with fulfill heart.
I learned to accept my identity as a childless woman and as a complete person outside of the institution of motherhooad. I don't need affirmation from society that I am a woman with my own strong foundation. My heart is fill with love that could be shared with my nephew, children of my friends and many other children around me.