“Why is there is no celebration for the invisible ones who help the world go around? Since she doesn’t have a ring or child she fades into the crowded background of the miscellaneous.”
As a single, childless and 40-year-old woman it is rare that people say things like “Congrats on being single. I need to celebrate you and get you gifts!” or “You’re not pregnant, so let’s have a shower!” I know you’re thinking that’s because there is nothing to celebrate. Well, you are right! There is no celebration for a wonderful, fabulous, hardworking, care-giving you. And, yes, I am joking! I am not actually looking for a singlehood shower. But why? Why is there is no celebration for the invisible ones who help the world go around? Since she doesn’t have a ring or child she fades into the crowded background of the miscellaneous.
Sometimes, I wonder, “Am I less important without a title; wifey, mommy, something like that?” I know it has come to mind, though fortunately not very often. Sometimes I am tripping out, trying to remind myself that I am only human. I want more for myself and wonder why don’t I have them? Is it me? What did I do or didn’t I do to affect the course of life events thus far? However, this conversation is not about recognizing my (or your) self-worth, it is about reminding others we have worth. And wondering why (and when) did I forget that?
But this is where I need to be clear – there is no woe is me (well not most of the time HA!). For me, WOE IS A NO! I am not one for pity; however, that is not to be confused with not being a believer in everyone’s need for empathy and compassion. I personally cringe when people do not understand the difference between sympathy and empathy (and that’s a lot of people..CRINGE!) The opportunity to practice empathy is a gift for me. The chance to give another compassion is a great spiritual gift that serves myself and another. I must say that I also understand that there are people in this lifestyle (single and childless) demographic that need, require, and choose constant pity. That’s a perspective that I don’t understand so don’t choose to reflect on.
BUT MAY I SAY DAMN! There’s this interesting thing that sometimes happens when you are around the married with children. You realize that some forgot what it was like not to have. They have forgotten what it was like when it wasn’t coming easy; when you didn’t have to just turn over to get a hug. Don’t you remember that guy (or couple of guys) you “wasted” a year on before you found the one? Or, do you remember using condoms not just to avoid STD’s but to avoid pregnancy? Or the double up of a pill and condom?
Well what happens when you discover that the pregnancy prevention you practiced your whole life didn’t matter anyway because for unexpected/unknown biological reasons you weren’t getting pregnant? And, my favorite, I’d love to know if pregnancy was possible but I am nowhere near meeting someone husband or father ready or worthy. I’d like to keep hope alive for me too, so could I get a little hand hold and maybe a hug just because you realize we all wanted things. We all have dreams, achieved or not. You got yours and I didn’t. No blaming, no pointing, it just hasn’t worked out… Yet. It’s fine and I’ll get over it, and yet sometimes it’s not and I need your support.
However, Sis, are you looking down on me? I saw on television recently an ad for a reality show series. I was shocked to hear in the commercial what sounded to me like one woman shaming another woman for apparently struggling to get pregnant. Knowing the series, I knew the woman saying it has several children and has no problem in the push department. I must say I almost took to Facebook in an uproar to blast that woman (I didn’t, I’m practicing self-control…lol.)
I couldn’t believe that this woman was shaming this other woman for an inability to get pregnant all because they don’t get along. As if this was some big opportunity to say something like “karma is a bitch!” In which case, I would have to say please review karma more thoroughly and apply it to yourself first. Biological or lifestyle opportunity does not warrant a belief of survival of the fittest. Sis, don’t render me unworthy (of your time, love, support) and don’t look down on me because your chips fell in place sooner than mine. My grandmother always told me I was a late bloomer and my life is still blooming.
Now, I know someone somewhere may be screwing up their face and feeling defensive; or even worse, dismissive. I write this because I believe that there are many women who would be shocked at how disconnected (mostly by accident) they became after they got married and had children from their single/childless friends. I bet they never thought twice about the party they chose not to invite that friend to or the dinner they wanted all couples. You found your partner and now you want to do couple type things with couples that live like you. Well, guess what, I think that’s great!
Seriously, that’s great, no sarcasm!! But question, did you invite single friends to your wedding and life events that followed so that your joy and life could be celebrated? Bet you did.. and got time, love, support, and, likely, a gift too. Remember that the next time your single, childless friend just doesn’t fit the theme. They fit the theme when the theme was celebrating you.
I am the single, childless friend. I love you and I love everything that has made your life full, complete, a dream-fulfilled. We are the loving, funny, “I got your back” sisters who you loved before your life “fell into place.” It is so important to remember that sometimes life throws us “out of place” and you might come looking for us and we will no doubt be there for you. Did you fortify our relationship or were we not worth the time? I mean we all know how easy it is to make genuine friends in adult life…now that was sarcasm.
I hope that my sisters understand that these feelings aren’t based on jealousy. They are however based on the need for support in your life no matter what those life circumstances bring. Judging me for what I don’t have, which people seem shamefully comfortable doing, is beyond hurtful. I have experienced literally feeling instant shock in my chest from thoughtless comments made about me and my life. Hurt me to my core as it came from people who I loved dearly but were mighty comfortable judging my “lack.” And it is equally as cruel to be presumptuous that it will always be that way as if spiritually stained.
If we choose, and our day comes, that we marry or have the blessing of having children we want you in our corner loving and supporting us. And if that day does not come, hug a sister with empathy (not sympathy) in your heart remembering that although we don’t always get what we want that it has no impact on our worthiness as human beings. We are all deserving of love and support – not pity.
Life is short. “Make new friends but keep the old because one is silver and the other is gold.” My Mama taught me that oldie but goodie.
~Anonymous Childless Woman
*Thank you to my girl who knows marriage and motherhood very well but inspired me to voice my feelings on this women’s issue. It is a touchy subject that is in no way easy to give voice to. There are many sides and angles to this issue, filled with misunderstandings and confusion. With some investigating I came to understand that my feelings are not rare at all. Additionally, my friend confided in me that she has had other friends say the same thing to her that I was saying. That essentially was “where is the love” and “why am I feeling so damn left out?” Thank you for your support Sis.