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Afraid of Motherhood?


I appreciated this blog post that Rachel Held Evans posted today.

I’ve been punished by fellow Christians for saying this out loud, but it’s the truth: I’m afraid of motherhood.

I’m afraid that having children will disrupt our happy marriage.

I’m afraid that starting a family will put a swift end to my career.

I’m afraid that I will never figure out how to use diaper genies.

I’m afraid that my inability to multi-task will make me a bad mom.

I’m afraid of losing myself in a world of diapers and Dora and nursery themes and mommy wars.

I’m afraid of being totally responsible for another life.

I’m afraid of bringing into this world a little person who can and probably will be hurt and disappointed.

And I’m afraid that I have to figure out my own faith before I can pass it along to a new generation.

Moms—Did you ever wrestle with these fears? If so, how did you overcome them? Did you ever feel “ready”?

Everyone—Why do you think Christians are so hard on childless women? Do you think there is an assumption in Christian circles that procreation is necessary for true, God-honoring womanhood?

Rachel’s honesty really had me thinking today. In the past I’ve bought into the lie that women were made for childbearing and that they were incomplete in some way if they didn’t have a child. This is not to talk down to women who do have children, because I can see how happy, fulfilled, and truly blessed they are by having kids. And I know women who desperately want to have a baby but can’t for any number of reasons. Heck, I want to have kids too.

But Rachel’s throwaway line really got me thinking: “The implication is that a childless woman isn’t a whole woman, that I can’t possibly offer any insights into my role as a woman in the Church until I’ve procreated.”

A childless woman isn’t a whole woman. Wow. No, I know plenty of women who are whole and complete and childless. What makes them whole and complete? The love of God first and foremost. The love of a man second. A career, job, life, goals, dreams, hopes, fears, ministry, etc…third.

This got me thinking about a conversation I had with a young woman recently. She has just finished her first year of grad work, and for some reason we started talking dating and kids and all that. And she told me she’s perfectly happy never having kids in her life. And after I beat down my creepy cultish fundamentalist reaction, and actually listened to her, and more so, listened to the Holy Spirit…I agreed with her views and couldn’t condemn her one bit. I still told her that I hope to have kids one day (more so so my parents can have grandkids), but I understood her.

Not all women need to be mothers. Not all men need to be fathers. And it’s not selfish in the least to say so.

God, I repent for my wicked views and thoughts…continue to humble and correct me on this and many more issues…

One Comment leave one →
  1. 05/14/2011 11:08 am

    I agree that every woman does not need to have children to live godly lives.I would say it is the norm and the majority of Christian women are called to be mothers and wives. There are always a few exceptions to the norm, but the list of reasons above seem to be rooted in a lack of faith, self loathing, selfishness, and lack of understanding God’s blessings. There are many uncertainties in raising children, many failures, and many necessary changes and sacrifices made which effect our relationships and routines. If avoiding these are the sole basis for not having children, then you need to repent. We are to overcome and to trust that God’s grace is greater than our failings.

    There is much more to be said on the topic, but I’ll leave that for later.

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