#mama: It is a club, and I am not welcome

There are so many posts I should write, I could write, but sometimes something just gets under my skin and I have to get it out. Regardless of who it may offend, though it's not meant to...

634f316e-a374-4d7c-bc69-7accde6c1c67

I keep seeing more and more communities, events, online projects, hashtags, etc. that are targeted towards women and branded with infinite varieties of "moms" or "mommies" or "mamas".

On one hand, I can understand that motherhood is a HUGE and identity changing shift in a woman's life. But I hope that the women who organize and participate in and promote these realize how in-your-face the exclusion of women without children it is.

Sure, some women don't want to have children. But others desperately want them and can't have them. There are a million different scenarios in between those two extremes. Think about the pain that would cause in someone who's already been excluded from something they so deeply desire, never mind all those who are just in the same age/gender range and would love to participate in something that is totally not dependent on having children (art projects, business seminars, cooking groups, etc.) with their peers. There are women who want to be included and be part of a community, but aren't even welcome because their "loins" have not borne any "fruit".

I have a strong feeling I'm only going to see more of this, and I have a strong feeling that many will find this ridiculous, or even insulting. Aren't there a hundred other groups to join and events to attend and hashtags to use? Sure. But I think it's important to speak out on something that is thrown around so naively, so harmlessly, so thoughtlessly, despite that it is extremely divisive, exclusive, and even hurtful towards people I care about, including myself.

It is a club, and I am not welcome. My family is not a family like your family is a family. I am not as much of a woman as you...

This song is not about that, but what if we add to the list, "You are worth more than what your womb has done."?

 
Update (Nov. 22, 2013) A few weeks after posting this, a friend sent me a link to a post on a popular "mommy blog" site that had announced it was de-mommifying its name. I think their decision and the way they explain it is pretty darned cool. Simplemom.net, now The Art of Simple. A trend? One can hope!

Comments

Ariane, this is very moving. I remember feeling this same way before I had my child. I did not conceive easily, and never had a second due to PPD. And even now, as a mom, I *still* feel excluded in many ways because I'm not as traditional nor do I think motherhood should be the be all end all and does not define me as a person. I really dislike the term "mommy blogger" because, as you implied, it's so exclusive. And I do agree that many women are hurt and feel left out regardless of their reason(s) for not having children. All this to say I agree wholeheartedly with this post. And I apologize on behalf of moms who may have or do hurt you. You are no less of a woman because you do not have a child. xo

Honestly it's something that's just come up for me recently because it's been SO IN MY FACE a few times the last month or so, and what was just mild annoyance has grown to actual disdain. But I know a lot more people who this is probably extremely hard for - those who really have wanted to have kids and tried to and not been able to, and I feel so much heartbreak for them over it (also knowing that one day I could easily be in the same position!). For me it's unkind and thoughtless but I think for a lot of women how extremely hurtful it must be. And another friend mentioned how all the "mommy" groups exclude dads and particularly stay at home dads who there are more and more of... 

Thanks Ariane! This is so true! I had never really thought about it before but I totally get how ostracizing it can be in this culture. I'm often made to feel like a complete wing nut because I have ONE kid. I don't think what you say is offensive, it's true, and it's good that you're standing up for so many women in a similar position. right on!

Thanks Heidi :) I love how several moms have actually been supportive about this post! I think probably a lot of people just don't think about it because to them having kids is just a given or normal. It's a funny age bracket, since a lot of people have young children but a lot still don't - it sucks to see such a divide happen. I can't believe anyone would judge you for the number of kids you have, now that is crazy!

Add new comment