While motherhood is an incredible vocation, it has no more inherent worth than a childless woman simply being who she is, to the utmost of her capabilities. To think otherwise betrays a belief that being a thinking, creative, productive, and fulfilled woman is, somehow, not enough. That no action will ever be the equal of giving birth. -Caitlin Moran, How to be a Woman – reblogged from bitterbabe
A new-agey friend of mine has a deck of tarot cards. He had me pick two cards the other day. There were options like loneliness, patience, healing, rebirth (this was not your normal tarot deck). They all had beautiful images. I was having a very bad day.
The first card was ordinariness. It showed a woman in a forest, picking flowers with a smile on her face. It suggested to find god and wonder in every little task. To be happy with what you have. The whole idea that ordinariness is okay has changed the way the world looks today. The card suggested that ‘you don’t need to be impressing anyone today’.
As I mulled all of this over (and found some peace while commuting, making tea, typing at my computer), bitterbabe posted her quote above. I think women without children, who have “failed” to reach that life milestone of giving birth, end up having to work infinitely harder to find meaning naturally in their lives. They have to always strive to be amazing. It is like the only woman in a male-dominated office – you can’t just do your job, but you have to fight for it many times harder to prove your worth.
As I consider my life, I realize that part of my feelings of deep failure arise from this. Without a child, I should be changing the world. I should have finished my phd, invented something brilliant, become rich, traveled the world. But really, i just want to rest like everyone else. Having a child isn’t “rest” exactly, but it is rest for the soul. You have your mission. You know what you should be doing.
I find before I go visit my very family-oriented sister, I make sure to diet, tan, post exotic pictures of my Pacific island. It is sort of hilarious from the outside how much effort I put in to looking like I’m living the most glamorous life. The chances of me ending up in Nature or winning the Macarthur are equally slim – I am okay at what I do, and I love it, but it will never make me rich or famous (or even give me a wikipedia article!).
Today I allowed myself to be ok with just being ordinary.