The Mighty Logo

My Mixed Feelings About Mother’s Day as a Woman With No Children

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor's Note

If you want to have a conversation with people who “get it,” join The Mighty’s Chat Space group.

What comes to mind when you think of Mother’s Day? Do you have positive thoughts? Do you have negative thoughts? Maybe a mix of positive and negative?

What feelings do you feel when you think of Mother’s Day? Do you feel happy emotions? Do you feel sad emotions? Or maybe there are some angry emotions?

I have mixed thoughts and emotions.

I’ve got my mom in my life. We have great times together. We’ve had our share of difficult times, which makes the good times all the better. I’m grateful to my mom for all she has taught me throughout my life. She visited me when I lived out of state, which was awesome. My mom is an amazing cook —  she can make tasty meals with any ingredients she finds. I love my mom, I enjoy spending time with her, and we laugh a lot together.

I also have three sisters who are all moms to some awesome kids. They are each different in their parenting styles and yet, similar too. They have taught me a lot about kids; since I don’t have kids, I wouldn’t know as much as I do today without them. I feel lucky that I can be part of their lives and their kids’ lives as auntie Leslie. When my niece and nephews send me a video saying “hi,” I feel such joy.

When I see how happy my mom is when she spends time with her grandkids, I feel some sadness that I might never give her happiness like that. I don’t think it’s news to anyone who knows me that I may never have a family or kids. I’ve seen my sisters feel excitement and pride watching their kids grow and learn. I might never relate to them over that. Yes, I can put myself in their shoes and have some understanding, but it’s not the same coming from a childless person. My sisters have that extra bond of parenting that links them together.

There are times when I start thinking I’m an oddball in the family, because for my mom, I am the only one of four children without kids and for my dad, I’m one of two children without kids. When I get overthinking about the future, I get some worried thoughts about what will happen to me when I’m elderly and unable to care for myself. There’s that expectation that kids help take care of their parents in their senior years. If I never have a family, will I be completely alone?

There are people who’ve told me that I’ll never know what love is until I become a mother. What about the love I have for my family, my friends, and my animals? Is that not real love? Is the love I feel from my niece and nephews not genuine or valid just because I’m not a mom? Is it not a true form of love that has allowed me to recognize my cat’s different meows and then be able to provide what she wants or needs based on the meow she gives? I’m pretty sure those are all valid examples of love. I’m pretty sure I’m capable of loving others without being a mother.

I’ve been told by some people that I will regret never having kids. I might and I might not regret it, if that’s how my life turns out. No one can be 100 percent correct about anyone’s future. People are complex beings who change often for so many reasons. My life might turn out differently than I’m thinking it will on this present day, as it already has turned out different than I expected it to be when I was younger. I might find myself being pleased with a life without children. Or I might find myself saddened at never having children. I don’t know what my thoughts or feelings will be in the future.

At this time in my life, I’m not certain if I want to be a mother. I’m not sure if I am healthy, stable and safe enough to be a mom. I’ve worked on my mental health diligently for the last two years, but there’s still more work to be done. There are days when I still avoid situations due to feeling anxiety. I still have days when I feel the deep darkness of depression. I want to make sure I’m free of self-harm actions for a few years before being responsible for someone else’s life. Are these really “bad” reasons to be wary of having children?

Let’s celebrate the mothers in the world, and let’s not forget those who may have difficulty on Mother’s Day. It’s OK to feel any and every emotion on Mother’s Day.

Getty image by Rclassen Layouts.

Originally published: May 13, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home