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May 13, 2023


Thank you for this post, Beth.

My birthday is right around (and this year right on) Mother's Day. A friend sent me flowers today and the delivery guy wished me "a very happy mother's day". I went to buy a cake for dinner and ALL the cakes at the bakery counter, even the single portion ones, had "maman" or "bonne fête des mères" written on them. It was my choice not to have children, so I take this with a grain of salt. But I know it's a rough day for a lot of people...

Thank you for writing about not being a mother. As a woman who chose not to have children, I have no regrets and a full life which only grows fuller as I approach my mid-70s as an artist.

As you wrote, Mother's Day is a time to be gentle and aware, given the many ways that day is experienced emotionally, depending upon one's circumstances.

A wonderful post, Beth, expanding the idea of the archetypal "mother" the way the notion of love can be expanded well beyond romantic love and partnerships. I've known a mother of two who remained unfulfilled because a third child was not to be - her concept of fulfillment depended on that third child, but she kept miscarrying, and she was bereft for years - despite having two healthy children. I've read in the safety of anonymous print about mothers who regretted becoming mothers, or never wanted to become a mother in the first place. I had a friend who's sister left her four children and their father because she was suffering so much in her role. Becoming a mother is a natural, evolutionary process, yet it's also natural for some to not bear children, and we have the power of choice to guide our outcomes. Our conscious choices and intentionality are no guarantee of fulfillment; and biology may yield its surprises or make becoming a mother impossible. And then for parents, the challenges you're describing about finding fulfillment in balance are so prevalent - and not helped by the age of screentime. Every path has its blessings and challenges. I never thought of how we raise girls to aspire to careers only to have to put those careers aside, maybe permanently, to raise more girls who aspire ... as my mom did! There is love and beauty and sacredness in many forms of mothering, and giving nurturing and care to others, to animals, to the earth; giving life to works of art; as well as to our babies!

I so appreciated this post, Beth. Though I would like to believe I am not tugged in by the gravitational pull of a holiday and the conventions
and connotations that surround it, Mother's Day each year offers a bit of melancholy. As someone who lost her mom at a young age and as a mothering person who did not have children through a complex process, a choice that included ambivalence, I find myself a bit confused, conflicted, perhaps even excluded on that day. Reading your words brought me a bit of lightness and a feeling of good company, as does reading the other comments. Thank you to all of you.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.