There’s an assumption that females of a certain age must be mothers. That’s an assumption that makes Mother’s Day painful for women who are childless by
chance, not by choice. Mother’s Day is a very different experience for women who would have liked to include Mother in their life history, but for reasons ranging from medical to relational, have never had children by birth, adoption, foster or marriage, and never will.
When well-meaning but ignorant people deliver ‘Happy Mother’s Day!’ wishes to a childless woman like Paula Mamuscia, the hurt cuts through to her soul.
This past weekend, instead of suffering through in silence, she shared her truth.
“Don’t assume that just because I have a vagina and uterus that I have a ‘bond with someone who thinks of me as a mom.’ I will never truly understand or know the joys of motherhood or being a grandmother. It wasn’t in the cards for me and your well wishes make me feel less of a person and it hurts like hell! I would have been a good one.”
You can suffer in silence, the way many people do, or you can expand the conversation and talk about your counter-experience the way Paula has done. There’s nothing wrong with letting people know how you feel, and why.
Indeed, if you don’t express yourself, if you don’t speak up about your own experiences, especially when they run counter to the majority’s, others never have the opportunity to consider or understand a different perspective.
What about you? Have others made assumptions about you that, while well-intentioned, may be wrong? How do you handle it? Do you suffer in silence, or do you grab the opportunity to present a new perspective? What assumptions do you make about others? How have you handled it when you’ve learned your assumptions were wrong?
Live Honest, Open and True
Not every woman is a mother. Not every man is a father. If you’re childless, its okay to tell others your truth. If you’ve made an incorrect assumption about someone’s role as parent, it’s okay to apologize for your own mistake. It’s not the assumption that is the mistake, it’s what you do after you discover that you’ve made an incorrect assumption or someone has made one about you. You can leave the error unaddressed, or you can grab hold of the opportunity to express your truth. If it is your incorrect assumption, you can choose to be open to listening to others tell you how their reality differs from your own or from your expectation and assumptions about them.
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Thanks to Paula Mamuscia for sharing her thoughts with me. If you have a pet peeve, a counter-experience point of view or any situation you’d like me to address, stop by our Life is HOT blog Facebook Group and leave a comment or tweet me @LifeIsHOTBlog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!