I grew up with one older brother and three younger ones. There’s quite a difference in age between us. There are fifteen, nine and eight year’s age difference between myself and my three younger brothers.
No one asked me, nor was it expected of me, that I take on the role as ‘a second mother’ to my younger brothers, but that’s exactly what I did. I would take responsibility for them and how they felt. I used a lot of mental energy worrying about them, and also being there for them and doing things with them. At times I would even yell at them and put them into place and really acted out the ‘mothering-role’ as a teenager.
Back then I thought I was doing the right thing through being ‘good’. In retrospect I see that I did it to ease my own pain from not being met by my own parents. I did everything I could at the time to try to prevent my brothers from feeling the way I felt – not met, seen or loved.
I was always praised for being such a wonderful sister, and people would comment on how I one day would be an equally wonderful mother. I connected beautifully to other kids, my friends’ kids as well as with kids I didn’t know. And the same comments kept coming – what a wonderful mother I would one day become.
I was never posed the question whether I wanted to become a mother or not; the comments were laced with predetermination, like a fact. Like I had no choice in the matter, but rather – “You are placed on this Earth to become a mother, Nathalie. Deal with it.”
As much as I love and adore kids, I really didn’t question ‘the pressure’ I felt from myself and others and smiled at all the comments and politely said ‘thank you’. Through many years I bought various garments, books, toys and little things that I would have for my future children. I even knew in my mind what I would name them. It didn’t cross my mind, not in a million years, that I would not have my own children one day.
Boyfriends came and went, but starting a family never seemed right – it wasn’t the right time, nor the right financial or living situation, and not the right boyfriend.
The years quickly went by and my friends around me started to get established with houses, children and pets. They had their first, second and some had a third child. Through the years I went in and out of being desperate to get established and have my own children, but I never took the last, necessary step – stop and commit. I was too busy studying and travelling and being with the wrong guys. Ironically it was when I met someone who I could see as the father of my children, that I made the big decision – to not have any of my own!
I was totally confused. I thought “Who will I be if I am not a mother? Who will I be and what will I do with myself? Isn’t that a ‘mission’ all women have? Everyone is expecting me to become a mother. What will I say? What will people think? Am I a failure as a woman?” The thoughts went on and on…
I was caught in much doubt, confusion, self-loathing, shame and embarrassment – all at the same time.
That was until a new awareness awakened within me, in 2011, at the age of 36.
For the first time in my life, EVER, did I realize that I had a choice. I actually had a choice to become a mother or not. It was a true revelation happening inside of me, as I had never ever seen it as a choice before.
I had held onto the belief that becoming a mother was as ‘natural’ as the fact that I had a left arm. It was such a strong, profound and cemented belief in me, which I had never questioned. When I realized that I had a choice, it was a huge relief for me and a lot of tears were shed.
When I actually made the decision to not have any children of my own it was like a weight of a hundred kilos dropped off from my shoulders. Only then did I realize what process I had been through.
It’s quite ridiculous to now look at how oblivious I was in regards to my own body and my own life, and to what extent I had taken on a belief from outside of myself. I was blind to it, but the choice belonged to me all along.
I came to realize that I am a woman first and foremost, and to become a mother is a choice for each and every one to make on their own.
I feel complete and whole as a woman and not the least less amazing for not having children. I share the whole of me with all the children I meet on my path.
I was once asked what makes me joyful – my immediate answer was and still is children, of all ages, but that doesn’t mean I need my own.
I am beyond thrilled to have a 2 year old, adorable lovely nephew, from my oldest brother and I cherish spending time with him, every second and with the wonderful children of my many lovely friends.
I am forever grateful to Miranda and Serge Benhayon who supported me during the time I felt most confused and lost. They put things in perspective for me and it allowed me a deeper understanding of the way that I needed. I am forever inspired by their work through Universal Medicine, and it’s many students and practitioners.
I have never looked back. Living my life as the woman I am, choosing not to be a mother, feels joyful and complete.
By Nathalie Sterk, Oslo, Norway
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