Every woman is a mother. It is not necessary to give birth to be a mother, nor is it necessary to adopt or foster children to be a mother. If you’re born female, you’re born a mother, and you’re going to mother someone or something. You have no choice in the matter—It’s like breathing. There are things about being a living human where freedom of choice is irrelevant.

If you don’t choose to marry and have children, you will mother something or someone else. You may become a teacher of other people’s children, and if you have not chosen to be a mother of your own children, you will mother those children. This often leads to predictable and very painful problems.

Avoiding children, you may very likely mother some man, but the trouble with mothering, as any mother can tell you, is that children tend to grow up.  You find yourself no longer needed. So you find another man to mother, and the cycle repeats itself. Perpetual mistresses are often caught in this repetitive trap.

Avoiding children, you may mother your friends. Again, however, you find that children grow up, and the close friendship you had with your friend vanishes when they no longer need mothering. Moreover, if you choose to mother friends, you will find that whatever problem they had with their own mothers will be projected onto you, and you will suffer their anger, distrust, or whatever negative feelings they have toward their mothers.

Avoiding children, you may prefer to become an entrepreneur, artist, writer, or some other kind of non-gender “creator” instead. The trouble here is that you’re over-protective of your creation-child. And rejections, failures, etc., tend to be infinitely more painful than they would be if you had children on which to project your maternal instinct. It’s like constant labor pains without the fruit of the pain.

This seems so unfair. Men don’t have such difficulty, as any feminist can tell you. And abortion does not alleviate any part of it. The pain only gets worse.

Perhaps it’s necessary to recognize that you’re not something apart from nature—no matter how well you try to keep nature at bay, with air-conditioning behind sealed glass, concrete buildings, and all the stuff we do to separate us from the rest of nature. You’re a part of nature, and all of nature is either male and female, and it was your (mis)fortune to fall into the female half. Accept it. Make peace with it. No rebellion, injections, surgeries, or legislation is going to change it.

If you find yourself pregnant, have the child, and if you don’t want to mother it yourself, let some other woman do it. Warning, however: You will not rid yourself of the maternal instinct your pregnancy hormones intensified. If you abort it, you will still suffer those effects, plus grief (worse because you don’t acknowledge it), plus, sooner or later, a remorse beyond your imagination.

Accept it. You’re a woman, and it is decreed by nature that, with or without children, you are a mother. Denying it only hurts you, and the collateral damage is horrific.

It may be that, although you’re a mother, God has ordained that you will be childless. In that case, there are steps you can take (also ordained by God). First, read Isaiah 54. Then look around and see what he has in mind for you to mother. Foregoing friends or emotionally immature men, there’s a world full of a need for mothering. There are the poor, there is nature (called by some “the environment”), there are animals, creatures abandoned, abused, and not least of all, if you’re Catholic, you could become a mother of a priest. Join the Spiritual Motherhood Society and adopt a priest. All priests deeply venerate the Blessed Mother, but on earth, they need a flesh-and-blood mother to pray for them, to have masses said for them on the anniversary of their ordination and their birthdays, a mother to care about them. After all, they are human and part of nature themselves. They have a Church-father in their bishop, but they don’t have a Church-mother. Be their mother. Care about them, pray for them—they need that.

The bottom line: If you’re a woman, you’re a mother. Who or what are you mothering?  

Dena Hunt
Dena Hunt is the author of the award-winning historical novel Treason (Sophia Institute Press), and The Lion’s Heart (Full Quiver Press), as well as several short stories and reviews, online and in print, at Dappled Things, StAR, and The Pilgrim Journal. She also writes for FaithCatholic, a liturgical publication company. She is currently working on her third novel. She is the book review editor of St. Austin Review.

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