“…I don’t think there’s a single lesson that motherhood has to offer that couldn’t be learned elsewhere. If you want to know what’s in motherhood for you, as a woman, then–in truth–it’s nothing you couldn’t get from, say, reading the 100 greatest books in human history; learning a foreign language well enough to argue in it; climbing hills; loving recklessly; sitting quietly, alone, in the dawn; drinking whiskey with revolutionaries; learning to do close-hand magic; swimming in a river in winter; growing foxgloves, peas, and roses; calling your mum; singing while you walk; being polite; and always, helping strangers. No one has ever claimed for a moment that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence, and were the poorer and crippled by it…
“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.”
—How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Let me start here by saying that I love babies. All babies! Baby girls, baby boys. Café-colored babies; tea biscuit-colored babies. Babies that smile; Babies that wail. Babies that I am related to; Babies I pass by on the street. I’ve got a lot of love for babies. How can they stand kissing all those politicians? They’re amazing!
Yet, due to a biological flaw in my system, and the conviction that I’m not 90% sure I would make a good mother at this point, I’ve decided to remain…a barren spinster.
Yes, I pass my hours in a rocking chair, glasses at the tip of my nose, a thick book in my hands–usually the collected letters of some bluestocking babe–and I live out my days scowling at young folks and fixing a pot of tea to go with my boiled prunes.
Most people would not boast about being a barren spinster. There is little to say in her favor. She would probably make a good librarian–the old-fashioned type who tsk-tsked at those who would not remain silent. Or maybe she is Eleanor Rigby–all the lonely barren spinsters!
Just please don’t feel sorry for me. I love to watch PBS and I carry a tote bag to prove it. (Take that, Mr.Romney! Right where it hurts!) I always brandish an umbrella, even if it doesn’t really look like rain. And I adore paying my bills on time, signing the checks I write with my lovely cursive, and reinforcing the glue on the envelope with some scotch tape.
I smell like asparagus and I refuse to wear makeup. I love animals and plants and I do the crossword puzzle in red ink. I love the little pleasures in life.
But, babies? Haven’t you heard of overpopulation?