Motherhood is a verb
“Women without children are also the best of mothers…”
―Louise Erdrich,The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year
At this time of year I honour the mother within me, the mother without children.
For me, unable to have children of my own either through birth or adoption, motherhood is a verb. I deeply longed to be a mother, and tears come to my eyes as I write that in the past tense, but it was not possible for me. And yet, I mother, and that deserves celebration.
I mothered my own mother. I mother my friends. I mother my god daughter. I mother both children and adults in my work. I mother, and I am a mother.
I even mother myself, and that was a hard won achievement.
I am a mother
But there is more to it than that. I am a mother because my longing was so deep, my desire so strong, and my mourning so profound and life changing. I imagined myself as a mother, I lived the experience in my mind and heart, I prepared for it both practically and emotionally and therefore the mother within in me was born. This mother, me, has no children of her own. I am a mother without children.
I mother, and I am a mother and I deserve to celebrate and to be celebrated. I do. I will.