It is NEVER
okay to ask this question.
Why? There are many women who do not have children for a variety of reasons.
Here are a few reasons why some women do not:
1. They are in the midst of trying to have a child and are struggling with infertility.
2. They are infertile.
3. Their partner is infertile.
4. They have just suffered a miscarriage or have a history of miscarriages.
5. They have experienced a failed adoption (s).
6. They are a mother to a deceased child.
7. They have not found a donor.
8. They are pregnant and have chosen to wait to share the news until they feel ready.
9. They chose to terminate a pregnancy for reasons that we do not need to know.
10. They have chosen a child free life.
As a woman I have been asked this question so many times that I have actually lost count! I fall within one of these categories and know how it feels. For me in the most recent months I have been using this question in the moment as a way to educate. I have asked the person why do they feel the need to ask me about such a personal choice. I have also given them the list above.
Feelings. When you or someone you loved has been asked perhaps your / their heart begins to race, your / their thoughts become clouded, you / they want to cry, you / they get angry or perhaps you / they are resigned to the question and the conversation that will follow.
In short, there are many feelings tied up in this very personal question; which is (in my experience) usually asked by strangers or acquaintances.
What is the definition of mother? At Merriam-Webster you will find several:
1a. A female parent
1b. A women in authority; specifically: the superior of a religious community of women Mother Theresa
1c. An old or elderly woman Mother Hubbard
2. source, origin of necessity is the mother of invention
3. maternal tenderness or affection, all my mother came into mine eyes and gave me up to tears - William Shakespeare
It is important to acknowledge the multiple definition of mother for women who do not have children; as many are mother's. The reality is that the woman in front of you could be a mother figure to her nieces, nephews or other children in her life. She could be a mother to furry four legged children either in her home or her friend's home.
She could be a mother to a thriving business she has started from the ground and built into an empire.
She could be a mother to a deceased child.
The reality is that she is a mother in her heart, mind and life. Who are we to judge if it is not in the formal traditional sense of the word?
With that said, before you ask this question please think of this blog OR if you get asked this question please feel free to share this blog.
The woman being asked could be actively grieving, they could be in the midst of their own battle or they could be extraordinarily happy with their decision to not procreate.
Whatever their reason - it is their choice - a very personal choice. Or perhaps it is not a choice at all and they are struggling with the cards they have been dealt.
You are not alone. There is a tribe of women who you have never met that know and see you! We all stand in support of you!
If I can help you with additional strategies or ongoing support, contact me at 281.940.5820 or firstname.lastname@example.org