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Dear Edith

Dear Edith Response #1 – Brittany

Dear Edith: I'm Not Maternal - read response #1 here on FemCatholic.com

Read the original question here.

Dear I’m Not Maternal,

Regarding the lack of maternal feelings . . . I used to want to be a nun.

In fact, I’d often remark that I found the idea of sex repulsive, and childbirth? Forget it. “Take my womb; I don’t need it!”

Then, I had what could only be described as a divine dream. It helped me realize that the path toward the convent was not what God wanted for me; this shook my sense of self, because I felt that a woman’s identity in the Church seemed to be built around holy virginity or mothering as many children as possible. I really struggled with God’s will for a long time, and it took therapy for me to discover that a large portion of my desire for the convent was my fear of intimacy and my unwillingness to surrender control. . .

I felt that a woman’s identity in the Church seemed to be built around holy virginity or mothering as many children as possible.

Then I met THE ONE. It was like a light bulb went off and I realized why I wasn’t meant for the convent after all. I still wasn’t keen on the idea of children, though. I was a strong, independent woman who resented the box that society tries to put women in.

Now, I didn’t mind other people’s kids. Heck, I was a teacher! But surely I was too impatient/selfish/unfit for motherhood. I had more to offer life than another human on an already crowded planet.

And then the yearning happened. It took me quite by surprise one day when my husband and I were watching a commercial and I found myself crying during a family-themed commercial. I was suddenly aware of this dull emptiness that I had never noticed before. My husband and I talked about it and wrote it off as my biological clock ticking a little louder than usual.

As the months passed, I felt a subtle pull and God began putting signs in my life. I felt a stronger connection to Mary in the nativity story. St. Anne was randomly chosen as my “saint of the year.” I missed a period when it was statistically impossible for me to conceive (stress-related) and found myself surprisingly sad when it finally came. Before I knew it, my heart was so desperate for a child (biological, foster, adoption) that I could barely go to Mass without crying at the sight of a family.

It was a very gradual conversion/softening of the heart, and — long story short — I’m currently bouncing my nearly 5-month-old daughter on my knee. Within a few years, I had gone from never wanting offspring to being open to the possibility of life to desiring it more than anything else in the world.

Childbirth nearly killed us both, and I legitimately hated being pregnant, but I love my daughter and I’m constantly surprised by the graces and patience God has given me. In God’s time, perhaps we’ll even have another.

I don’t quite fit into the mom crowd because I never “performed” pregnancy or did all the things moms are “supposed” to do to prove that they’re happy. I didn’t plan the nursery. I didn’t pour through baby name books. I didn’t do a maternity photo shoot (heck, I didn’t even buy maternity clothes) or inundate my Facebook page with ultrasounds and baby pictures.

I never felt like a proper pregnant woman or a proper mother, but I am one and I have a sense of peace now.

I never felt like a proper pregnant woman or a proper mother, but I am one and I have a sense of peace now. It’s like a scratched an itch I wasn’t aware of previously, but I don’t define myself as ONLY a mom. That’s only one aspect of the dynamic Catholic woman that I am, just like being single was one aspect.

— Brittany


This author would like to remain anonymous.

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