Rebecca adds: I hate to seem unsympathetic, as this woman seems genuinely to be in pain, albeit (as she acknowledges) because of her own choices. But isn’t this a symptom of some mental health issue or other – compulsive lying to avoid dealing with the reality of one’s life? At best, it’s Walter Mitty syndrome, and depending on how much she deludes herself, maybe something worse.
Andrea adds: Does this culture demand women deny themselves something they actually really want? I have wondered that, especially given that in one poll, now slightly out of date (1997, I believe) one in three Canadians said they desired three kids–a far cry from the 1.5 we currently have. But there’s something awfully strange about lying that you have children, when in fact, you don’t. I believe there is a greater pressure to deny wanting to be a mother. That’s personal experience of course, and unscientific. But our birth rates go a little ways to proving it.
Tanya adds: This is quite a bit of presumption on my part, but as we make plans for our lives, we envision things going a certain way. Perhaps this women had a vision for her childless life that never came to fruition: travel, successful career, building a dream home… In the end, many women sacrifice children for the sake of another ideal. But hopes for the future are like vapour, and we can do little to grasp them.
Sometimes I’m so grateful I had my daughter by “accident.” Otherwise, perhaps my own purposeful intentions would have kept me from the joy she now brings to my life.
Patricia adds: I agree with Andrea that there is pressure on women to deny wanting to be a mother. At least, on young women. In pursuing a society in which “girls can be anything”, we seem to have arrived at a society where a girl “had better be something” and motherhood isn’t enough of a “something” to count. That’s how you end up with the horrible scenario of mothers pressuring their own daughters to abort an unexpected and unwanted child. It’s better to be “something” first and then you can be a mother. Or not. And all of this is complicated by the fact that the erosion of marriage makes it risky for a woman to aspire to motherhood. The result is that motherhood is no longer a legitimate aspiration of a young woman, except if it’s fitted in after the fulfilment of meaningful personal goals. And I think that is hard on a lot of women.