Family and Parenting: Choosing

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As a woman, I have chosen to make of my world a place where I can decide for myself. I don’t reject the nature of my being, but I want to live my womanhood without it necessarily implying motherhood.

I believe I can live alternate experiences of creating and nourishing life, and I believe other women of my generation feel the same way.

I invite you to join this conversation and share your thoughts and experiences on choosing to experience alternate motherhoods.

Originally published in the Imagining Ourselves exhibition.

Owen BV
Owen BV
Philippines, the

Alternate Motherhoods

  • babysitting
  • Godchildren
  • volunteering in an orphanage
  • younger siblings
  • "lost" souls who drop by your kitchen counter for coffee and a long chat
  • adopting a dog

The list can continue, but while it can capture the experience for a while what the list also gives is the ability to walk away when things get too tough.

I would be called "selfish" in my culture, but I agree with you.

Wangui Banks
Wangui Banks
United States

I have always believed that motherhood was not made for every woman.

It takes a very wise woman to accept that motherhood is "not her thing" and find fulfillment in the very many other roles a woman plays.

rahina adamu
rahina adamu

i kind of believe what Wangui says but how possible is it? especially in a society were the worth of the woman is known by the number of children she has!

where a woman is regarded in a society as worthless or not a woman just because she can't have a child or she decides not too.

it takes a lot of courage and support to be able to decide but then it all boils down to what you want but how many of us do have the choice? or the chance to choose?

Lalita Raman
Lalita Raman
Hong Kong

Choosing & Being a Woman

I believe each woman can if she chooses live her womanhood without necessarily being a mother. Each of us can resort to Alternate Motherhoods as suggested by Owen.

In addition to this, as a Woman, in our day to day life as a working woman or housewife make a difference to somebody's life by being empathetic, helping out somebody in need.

It is not necessary to be a mother to be a Woman. Each of us can use the same instincts of a Woman which God has given to make a difference to this World and to each of us.

United States

Degrees of correlation between Womenhood and Motherhood

Is womanhood universally and perfectly correlated with motherhood?

Instinctively, I would say "it depends". Womanhood is distinctively broader, expansive. Motherhood is at best a subset of it. Womanhood to me means being compassionate, creator, preserver of social fabric, instillar of authentic values in the society, be a spring of love and affection.

Its understanding that your biological self is strong and you are here to execute on your ordained task of making the planet earth a more sanguine place to dwell in. That's womanhood and that's mothering the new world.

All Mothers are women but not all women can be mothers

I choose to look at it from this perspective. While a good number of women can choose not to be mothers a few do not have the choice to be mothers due to infertility and other issues.

It does not make the person who chooses not to be a biological mother unnatural. However, I think for the continuity of the race, some of us must as of necessity, give birth. This points to why society celebrates motherhood.

I think what we need to develop is strong support for women who may need help in bringing up children and the same support for women who choose or are unable to have children to play roles as mothers and not feel inadequate for not having babies. A balance is the key.

Barsha Hamal
Barsha Hamal
United States

The right to choose

Motherhood is a serious responsibility and not all of us are prepared and/or willing to have children, period. A woman has every right to consider her physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being/readiness before deciding to take part in this overrated institution.

Mary Trunk
United States

Motherhood and Creativity

I have been working on a documentary film for the past seven years about four mothers who are artists and how they attempt to reconcile those identities. Two women I've followed since they were pregnant and two other women are older and have already raised their children. Their stories are all about choosing to experience alternate motherhoods. Please check out the trailer for the film at the link below or go to the website: Thanks.

Lost In Living (Trailer) (Mary Trunk)

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