Last night my boyfriend and I went over to visit a friend, and I got stuck talking to his fiance, who is quite a bit younger than the rest of us and not exactly on my list of favorite people. After springing “do you want to be a bridesmaid?!” on me as soon as I stepped through the door, I got stuck talking to her for about an hour, in which my diagnosis and treatment options got brought up. I was informed by this 25-year-old mother of two that I will be “losing my womanhood by never knowing the mother I could have been.” When I pointed out I could always adopt, I was informed that it wouldn’t be the same and I wouldn’t love an adopted kid the same as she loves the children she birthed from her own uterus. (The fact that she is raising a stepson/her youngest child’s half-brother from my friend’s previous relationship really made that statement a shitty thing to say…oh yeah, and my boyfriend was adopted too, but she probably doesn’t know that.) If we hadn’t been in her home I might have had a few choice words for her, but instead I bit my tongue. (She also made a remark about how I might not be physically strong enough to survive surgery to remove my ovaries in another 10 years…because a decade from now I’m obviously going to be 80, not 43.)
I’ve been stewing over that conversation since last night. This girl is one of those very vocal pro-breastfeeding, mama-worshiping mothers (as in she acts like all mothers are goddesses and the rest of humanity should grovel at their feet), and I guess she defines womanhood by the ability to procreate. Am I less of a woman because I cannot have a biological child? Is that how other women — women who have already had children — will see me from now on? Like some sad, sexless waste of space that cannot serve humanity’s purpose to procreate?
This has made me reconsider who I reveal things to from now on. I only mentioned it to her because she knows I’ve been having health issues and she asked if they ever figured anything out. I guess I could have just lied and said “no,” but dumbass me, I told the truth.
Though truth be told, I’m disgusted by this woman’s reaction to the idea of adopting a child. I absolutely do not for one minute think that adoptive parents love their children any less than parents who have biological children. And I am pretty damn sure I’m capable of loving a non-biological kid just as much as I would a biological son or daughter. What’s sad is that this negative attitude towards adopted children is still out there. Should I choose to adopt in the future, I don’t want people like this woman judging my children as being less than theirs. I know it’s a negative reflection on her own character, but damn it makes me angry. Especially since my oldest stepdaughter has pretty much been adopted (though not legally) by her aunt and uncle, who have done more for her than her biological mother ever has. Sometimes your children are born to other people. And there’s no shame in that. Or there shouldn’t be.
This whole situation is hard enough to deal with without also having to put up with ignorant people’s insensitive comments. I don’t want some young millennial mother’s pity because I can’t birth biological babies. It’s bad enough already feeling like part of my womanhood will be stripped away without other women reinforcing that notion. Why should our status as women be reliant on our ability to procreate, anyway? There are plenty of women who choose to never have children, or who can’t have children. We are not less than those who are able to make babies. Lots of women have babies who really shouldn’t. Being a mother does not automatically elevate you to some higher status as a woman or make you God’s gift to humanity. But apparently some women beg to differ.