Through the month of May in our Mother's Day 2017 series, we are making space for the childfree and childless women; those who've chosen to not have children, those who can't, and those who are ambivalent about it.
This is the third post in the series.
Lindsey Renaud is an archaeologist, artist, adventurer, a woman, a Latina, and an all-around judgement-free and fun person.
She is originally from the Yakima area, for now residing in Georgia working and digging with an archaeology firm.
May finds her child-free every year.
And she is not mourning.
Can you remind me if you've mentioned to me in the past where you stand on the issue of motherhood? Is it something you want to do or not?
"I have always had mixed feelings when it came to motherhood.I always told myself that if I wasn't married/didn't have children by the time I was 40, I would adopt. Now that I am a little older, I am not sure if that would still stand since my finances probably couldn't take it but it is certainly an option."
"I was never the girl that said "I always wanted three children." For me, getting my education and starting my career was more important than starting a family. It was even more important than having any sort of relationship. And despite the fact that all my friends are having children, I don't envy them and I don't desire their life. For some women, having children is their everything. But for me, it may or may not be something I do in the future. It just really depends on whether I want to or not. Because at the end of the day, it really is a choice."
"Also, there is a cultural aspect to it. Being a Latina, a big part of a woman's identity is settling down and having children because that's what women do. Me being a rebel, I wanted nothing to do with that. I want to be the complete opposite on purpose, because I could."
How do you deal with people saying that you are selfish for not prioritizing having kids?
"I usually say it's not their place to tell me what I can and cannot do in regards to children. It's not a final decision, just one that I am not open to at the moment."
(If you are ever shy about putting people in their place, just bring Lindsey along. She will do it for you with no problem.)
If you met an awesome partner and it was a "thing" to have kids, how do you think your life of adventure would change?
"I would think that my life would change drastically. I would have to give a part of myself away. I would have to open up in a way I have never had to before. But I would also have to remind myself that I had a life before said children, and that my life would continue in spite of them. I would show them all of the things that I love and admire and appreciate, but I would also take time for myself because at the end of the day, I would need that. As a loner and an introvert, I would really need that."
I barely just learned how to take care of my introverted self.
It has revolutionized the way I mother. And life has become much happier because of it.
I don't ask for permission to take time away anymore.
I just make it happen.
"I think people think that being introverted is some sort of disease or something where you're deliberately being antisocial but I don't think a lot of people realize that hanging out with other people can be so emotionally draining. It's OK to step back and say "I need some time for myself"."
Seeing as to how fertility is a finite period of time in the lives of women, it is very interesting that we perceive all the trappings of motherhood as equivalent to womanhood. The self-sacrifice, the martyrdom...it's all driven by biology.
Nowadays though, our offspring have a much better chance of survival than they did thousands of years ago. We don't have to abide by the urgency of biological impulses.
Motherhood is but a part of femininity as a whole. Yet, we've made it a synonym and interchangeable word. It robs us women of the opportunity to build ourselves strong outside of how good the job of mothering is going. It is a disservice to ourselves, our men, and our children to hang all of our identity on motherhood.
A woman is herself before and after motherhood. Yet all of our lives are ruled by this one decision. And everybody agrees with it. Learning to become a healthy woman with a solid core and grounded feet; strong on the soil we've prepared ourselves to plan our own seeds; to collect our own harvest, is one of the greatest inheritance we can give our children.
This is how we protect them against the hurts of the world,
by showing them the way of resilience and bouncing back after monstrous setbacks.
It is time to learn something from our sisters who live lives free of the demands of tiny humans.
Call them in for help in their expertise of what it's like to build a life outside of motherhood.
And they don't have to be exiled from the tight knit warmth of family just because they have chosen their path free of boogery and sticky children.
Karelys Beltran is a Sinaloa native and Denizen co-founder who is passionate about self-education, personal development, and bringing people together.