Thursday, March 11, 2010

Parents, the childless/free & friendship

As you can probably tell from the number of times I highlight her posts here (lol), Lisa Belkin's Motherlode parenting blog on the New York Times website is often, well, a motherlode of interesting thoughts & conversation on parenting & family issues, which sometimes cross over the border into the Land of IF.

Two recent posts, on monitoring your child's friendships, and how friendships change after having a baby (which was more about how difficult it is to make friends after having kids), were followed by a third this week -- actually two guest posts in one -- one complaining about the post-baby gap between herself and a vehemently childless-by-choice friend, and another by a mom who longs for friendship that extends beyond baby babble.

The first post is the one that seems to be getting the most comments. It's heartening that (so far, anyway…!), the tone of the conversation has been relatively civil -- and also to see how many commenter (both moms & childless/free people) point out that not all people living without children are child haters. A few people have even mentioned infertility-related childlessness or being "childless not by choice" (although I wish there were more from that point of view).

Comment #12 by Starflower was probably the one that resonated most with me (& to date, it's been the comment most recommended by readers -- including me!). In part, it reads:

No one has to become a mother to truly feel love or to feel like a "real" woman, Sasha. My husband, friends and family already make me feel that way. And frankly, I've heard about all I'd care to on the gigantic gap that separates you from me. I get it. You’ve made a choice that radically changed your life, and what you're doing is very hard. But don't you dare lump me in with all the humorless child-haters that you believe are lurking around every corner. As the years go by and my friends' beautiful children grow and change, I hope to be able to play a unique role in their lives: the friend, who by very reason of her childlessness, has the time and energy to offer help, comfort, and support should they need it.

And please don't forget that we childless women also quietly attend your showers, tenderly cradle your newborns (if we're allowed to), and melt over pictures of your precious little ones, all without ever experiencing an ounce of the same approval and congratulations that are heaped upon women who've chosen to be mothers.



  1. Amen, indeed. How incredibly poignant and well said. And the grace. Let us all have that kind of grace. thanks for sharing.

  2. Sigh. Most of the comments on that blog annoy me way more than they should. Not the one you highlighted, though.