Attitude,  By Gracilis,  Family,  Single Life,  Timeless Stories

Above 40 , single and childless

That is not my portion. Absolutely. I do agree  with you  I mean that is what I would have said to this topic about two decades ago but as one of my former classmates would say “whose portion is it ?”

Today is Mother’s Day(US version) and we will all agree it has come with a difference.  However, the Coronavirus should not stop us from celebrating and appreciating our mothers and a big shout out to those who have already done so. This year, rather than the several celebrations and dining out that would have occurred or the recitals and performances that would have been done by several children, we are more or less limited by the social distance measures. and are all at home While this might provoke sad emotions in some women, It may actually be a relief for some other women who thought last year that they could not bear sitting through yet another Mother’s Day Celebration as their crib is empty or perhaps they are still single.

You may find yourself or a loved one in the last category and understandably, you are concerned. As a rule, we as human beings hate isolation or feeling excluded from a group and a day to celebrate and honour mothers (no matter how low key it seems)would leave many emotional and feeling left out of the group to be celebrated. There are various groups and the need to appreciate the uniqueness of each can be daunting.There is the group of women who have babies and children to show, there is another group who are perhaps married or with a partner and still trying for their own baby(Hannah Club) and finally, there is the Singles group who appear to be in a double predicament.

The additional hurdle of a Single woman entails having a father for her child   and being a Christian means the covenant of marriage must be in place. However, with advances in technology, a woman can decide to have her own biological baby by herself using donor sperm.The latter is quite controversial especially in the Christian circles and to be honest,  the challenges of single parenthood are enormous, irrespective of whether it is planned or not.

But besides childbirth, adoption is another option for becoming a parent but it is sometimes frowned upon for the married with a stiffer opposition for the singles. Adoption has been erroneously perceived by most people (especially in African settings) as a lack of faith and for the Singles, a test of competency. You will be amazed at how much people oppose a single person adopting by claiming a child needs a two parent household to develop properly as if there are no examples of successful adults who were raised in single-parent households.

Bereft of choices, the single Christian woman can be left in a ‘wait and see’ approach while her anxiety levels needlessly increase as the years go by.

I was surprised some years ago while in a conversation with a friend of mine she informed me  that  she was thinking of  freezing  her eggs before they became disabled. I laughed at the phrase but confess to you that later on, I started  considering doing the same, especially as it is  free for under 40s. I however did not pursue it further after a proper rethink as I realized it was  a fear -induced  decision.

To be honest, some of the decisions a single person makes can become easily coloured and guided by fear; the fear of not meeting society’s standard of success as a woman; being married and having children. Unfortunately, these societal expectations have also pervaded most religious circles and so it is not uncommon to see the achievements of single people downplayed effortlessly when rather than a hearty  “Congratulations”, the response is in the tune of   “the Lord will perfect that which concerns you. I recall a friend recounting to me that once during a testimony session at her church, while a lady was giving a testimony of how she secured her dream job, another woman sitting close by whispered is she married ? Another person I know who is married and at that time was waiting to have children(eventually did after 14 years ) was sharing her exciting news of gaining admission to pursue a PHD programme with her spiritual leader,  only to be told “is this the issue we should be concerned about now? “

Not fitting into the norm and society’s expectation can be hard and in reality, it is usually those in your shoes who can truly understand. A friend of mine who married at the age of 22 once said to me about twelve years after her wedding that she understood what I was going through. I smiled as I thought to myself what a joke but on second thoughts, it is the concept of going through that is the problem. When we live our lives thinking that until we are married or have children, we cannot be happy as we have not arrived yet, we short change ourselves. Sadly, tying our happiness and self-worth to the things that are beyond our control is a  sure recipe for unnecessary pain which sometimes can hinder us from truly rejoicing with those who seem to have what we lack or appreciating what we already have.

However, l will be the first to tell you that sometimes, when I have held babies in my hands or taken care of  other people’s children, I have wished that they were mine. I have listened with delight to these children and rejoiced greatly at their progress. as they hit milestones in life. But these longings have not crippled me, rather they have fuelled my passion to birth the very dreams that are in the womb of my heart. These dreams are the children I have control over whose birth will leave a lasting legacy. Part of these dreams is that relationships around me would be healthy and people would be genuinely happy in their homes.

So on a day like this, I pause to admire   the  Victorian Scottish missionary Mary Slessor, who was referred to as Everybody’s mother.I learnt about her as a child and remember being taught that she stopped the killing of twins in Calabar as these children were perceived as evil. She did not have any children but she saved the lives of children for generations to come. Recently, I had the opportunity to learn more about her and found out that she did more than stopping the killing of twins. She fought for the rights of children and women and was not tolerant of domestic abuse. In honour of her work, the Clydebank in 1997 chose her to replace David Livingstone’s face on the Scottish ten-pound note.I also know of someone who has worked tirelessly helping families of the displaced in my native country and recently raised money to fund the fees for the   Secondary School Leaving Certificate Examination for 33 of  the children of the displaced people.

What characterizes these women is the spirit of sacrifice, the grace to nurture  and  the instinctiveness to protect  young ones till they can fend for themselves .That for me is the true definition of motherhood.

And so today please join me as  I celebrate all the women who have risen above the need to be defined by their marital status or parity, who are burden bearers and are well acquainted with spending for others and being spent. I take my hat off for women who have birthed things that are changing lives whether or not they have biological children to reap the benefits now, mothers  indeed in the very sense of the word.

I  and the entire team @dishusbandmata salute your courage.We celebrate you all today and wish you a happy Mother’s day

PS: This article was first featured on Mother’s Day ,  UK Edition 2019 and has been adapted for this US Edition. All copyrights reserved.

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19 Comments

  • Anonymous

    Wow. What a fantastic write-up as usual Gracillis. You nailed it, you are as bold as a lion. I salute your courage girl.
    You know, at times; if not most of the times, devil amplifies that one thing that is “lacking” in our lives and makes us to forget 99 other blessings that we should be grateful for. I am a husband and a father, some of the issues you discussed here are those that I dare not discussed with anyone not even my pastor but in my mind, there are constant battles going on every minute…..you know as a man; especially African….you need to be extra-ordinarily strong. I have had it tough right from tender age and still “going through” but am very lucky to read this write-up. It has indeed ministered unto my soul. Thank you Grace. More power to your elbow in Jesus name.

  • Ola Olaleye

    Thank you for this beautiful piece and for the great work you are doing. I celebrate the team at dishusbandmata. God bless and enrich you all.

    • Esohe Enaohwo

      Wow, thoroughly thought through.
      This is sooo real. I have been blessed by this piece.
      Thanks for availing yourself to be used by God to bless so many , I’m a witness.
      I salute you Sister Grace.

  • Anonymous

    What a beautiful piece.
    I love the fact that you made it very real.
    I look forward to reading your next article .

    • dishusbandmata

      thank you .we try to be as real as possible.it is the only way we can learn to become better
      thanks again for your comments

  • Mopelola Opeifa

    I really admire you for penning this important article. In my own opinion, it applies to everyone, not only “above 40, single and childless”. As you said, we shouldn’t let society’s expectations define us or blind us from seeing how awesome we are.

    2

  • Olive

    Wow! How can we make more people read this? This shouldn’t be kept on this site only. If permitted, let’s share this wholesome truth with family, friends and colleagues. I salute every woman who has refused to be crippled by societal definition of a mother but rather giving birth to the dreams that are in the womb of their heart👏🏽👏🏽
    God bless you as you have blessed us with this.

    • dishusbandmata

      Thank you for your kind comments.I am glad to know it blessed you.please feel free to share it wherever you choose

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