Rae Ann contacted us wanting to share a poem that she had written and a small piece about her lived experience of being a woman without children.
Sit back and grab a cuppa and let Rae Ann’s words settle with you, as she guides you gently through her experience so delicately and with such power and grace.
Thank you Rae Anne
I have a perfectly serviceable womb
that sits there,
perplexing people who cannot abide waste.
As someone who has dealt with depression that rears its head whenever my life is most lonely, I’ve learned that being open about my struggles is helpful to not just me, but many others around me as well. I was so grateful to discover the Anotherhood community for exactly this reason. Hearing the stories of others through this community has brought me comfort in my loneliness and prompted me to offer my own in return.
It has been hard to be frank about both the struggles and joys of being a woman without children. I’ve often wondered if this is because society is still so uncomfortable with women who deviate from the norm and so people just don’t know how to react to me.
On one hand, they pity my perceived lack – lack of a partner, lack of children, lack of family, lack of the regular story we’re all so used to hearing and were told to expect for ourselves. But at the same time, they don’t want to hear about the fullness of the life I’ve built for myself. Me finding happiness in my life of unusual responsibilities, the way I have embraced my identity as an auntie (truthfully, it’s the thing I’m best at!), extra time with my parents because I don’t have to split holidays with in-laws, the loyal and supportive friendships I have built with those I love, the incredible bonds I’ve created with the students I’ve taught over the years.
When I try to talk about the beauty of my life, I often get a sense that it should continue to go unspoken, as though me celebrating my life is forcing someone else to question the choices they’ve made in their own.
I always feel like they need me to reassure them: ‘trust me, I am no threat to the status quo.’ In reality, all I really want is for my life to be considered as important and valued as the lives of women whose identities include the roles of partner and mother.
I wrote the above poem after yet another experience of holding someone’s baby and being told: “when are you going to have kids? You look so good with a baby in your arms.”
I’m now 44, perpetually single, and have pretty much let go of the idea that family is in my future in the traditional sense of the word. It just didn’t happen for me.
The regular trajectory of life skipped me for some reason that I can’t really pinpoint. While the lack of a partner is far more difficult for me than the lack of children, it is never easy having your ‘abnormality’ pointed out publicly. What is the proper response to such an uncomfortable and intrusive question? I still don’t know. I do know that I am a deviant woman but am learning to embrace that identity.
And I am truly grateful for this space in which to share that accomplishment.
Photo of Rae Ann was captured by her friend @jchuphotography. Rae Ann chose this photo as she felt it reflects the freedom she has as a woman without children.