I really don’t want to tackle this post, because it’s not something I love thinking about. However, I do think it’s important to bring this perspective into the light. Since it’s not spoken about very often. At least, I don’t come across it very often. Because the truth is, single women over 40 who do not have children, really have a rough time holding their heads high in society. At least, I do. And it’s a tricky topic because women have all sorts of reasons for being over 40 and childless. Some women are there by choice, and others, not so much. But I think there are a LOT of childless, single women over 40, and I think they hide out like I do, managing their shame and embarrassment behind closed doors. And this blog post is my way of attempting to overcome at least a little bit of those negative feelings.
I also know there are many, many childless, single women over 40, who do not feel shame or embarrassment about their situation. Many of these women are there by choice. And I love that! I just don’t happen to be one of those women.
I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A MOTHER
Since forever, I have always wanted to be a mother, and I still do. Even when my older (now estranged) sister laughed in my face when I was a teenager talking about having children someday. She said something along the lines of:
“Oh my god, Libby, you could never have children, you’re so selfish!”-Estranged sister
She regularly told me I was selfish (is it really fair to accuse an anxious 5-year-old child in a traumatic family setting of being selfish?) and I don’t really want to get into all of that. That’s definitely for another post that I may never write. Needless to say, those words hurt, and to this day, I can easily be brought to tears if someone even teases me about being selfish. And I’ve never really seen myself this way. Self-advocating, yes. But selfish, I’m not sure if that word is all that accurate for me.
So, there’s this part of me that has always wanted to prove her wrong. And it makes me sad that I can’t. That I haven’t been able to show her and myself what a loving and giving mother I could be to a child. Who knows? Maybe I would be terrible, but I would like to think I would rise to the challenge.
I also never had a positive relationship with my mother. She was an active alcoholic for most of my life, and I always wanted to just do it differently. I wanted to raise a child and nurture them the way I never was. And I fear that I may never be able to have that opportunity.
I NEVER WANTED TO BE A SINGLE MOTHER
I also never wanted to be a single mother. And since I’ve really struggled in the love category of my life, the timing just never worked out.
Also, please, no one send me advice about freezing my eggs, adoption, and all of the other options. I’m aware of all of the options, and I appreciate helpful gestures. But I don’t welcome them at this time.
It’s also strange, because I feel like single mothers get more love from society than single non-mothers. Single mothers get sympathy and respect for their struggles. Which they 100% deserve!!! However, it feels like single women over 40 who don’t have children, just get judged. People tend to think, “Hm, what’s wrong with her?” or “What went wrong in her life?” Whereas, if you’re a single mother, you’re still very much recognized as a hero in our society. And most single mothers are indeed amazing! I mean, my single mother wasn’t. But again, that’s for another time.
You can see how complicated this topic can get. And how very personal it all becomes.
I enjoyed this article, “Single Women Over 40 Childless and Carefree.”
NO NEED FOR SYMPATHY
I really don’t need or want any sympathy, really. Because honestly, everyone has something in life that just didn’t work out for them. And that makes them sad. I think I just need to write this out loud in order to heal a bit of my shame around the matter. Getting it out in the open is always my way of healing, as many of you know.
Because there is a huge part of me that feels like I failed. And that I’m not as much of a woman if I haven’t mothered any children. Or, that I’m somehow less than because I could never find a man who loved me enough to marry me. All of these thoughts go through my mind, although I try not to let them snag me.
Mom Haiku 14, mixed media on paper, 2022, image and words dimensions 2 ¾” x 2 ½” paper dimensions 12” x 9” © Libby Saylor
And I can’t say I’ve received explicit negative feedback about being single, over 40, and childless. But, I do feel the pressure. Since the majority of women in this country are mothers.
I share a bit more about these feelings in my article, “I’m Not Really Interested In Your Perfect Life.”
ALL OF IT MAKES ME A BIT SAD
I was talking to my dearest friend yesterday, who has a beautiful teenage daughter, whom I’ve known since she was born. My friends and I all love hearing about her teenage stories, and we love getting updates. She’s kind of a like our niece and we would do anything for her. And just the other night, she had a noteworthy experience involving a boy. And her mother and I were discussing the details. It made me so happy to hear how much her daughter has grown. And at the same time, I felt such a deep sadness. That I don’t have a daughter of my own to guide in her travels. I think I would be good at that. I really do. And I feel very sad about missing the opportunity to experience this.
There are also parts of me that may not necessarily be willing to give up certain things that single women over 40 might not want to give up, in order to become a mother. But, I think if the opportunity arose, I would gladly make the sacrifice.
I do very much see why mothers are so proud to be mothers. And why society is so proud of them, and wants to honor them. I guess I just feel frustrated at times that women like me are just not viewed in the same way. Or, are judged. It just doesn’t help my already sad feelings about it. And this post is to just kind of bring this perspective into the light. Because I do think there are ton of motherless, single women over 40. Feeling the same feelings. And whether or not a woman has chosen to be childless or not, I do think most childless women struggle with the same negative societal pressure. And that’s a shame.
THANK YOU FOR READING!
I apologize if this post was a bit of a downer. And I fully admit that I’m writing this as my monthly hormones rage. I also want to share that I think when women express themselves when they are hormonal, they are not “overreacting” or “overly emotional.” Instead, I feel like the typical filter that remains in place for most women is just removed. And the real and raw vibes are released. These are not new feelings I’m sharing today. I just have even less of a filter on my emotions at this time (if you can believe that’s even possible for me!). So, thank you for letting me be myself and share my true heart with you at this time.
SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEWSLETTER TO RECEIVE EXCLUSIVE, SUBSCRIBER-ONLY GODDESS CONTENT!
FOLLOW THE GODDESS ATTAINABLE PODCASTBecome a Patron!
VISITY MY ETSY SHOP
Featured photo by Paola Chaaya on Unsplash
Mother and daughter hot air balloon photo by Kenny Krosky on Unsplash