By Jeanne Sigler
Thursday Review Contributing Writer
After having lunch with my girlfriend Jo the other day, we strolled through the parking lot and she started telling me about her terrific son, Ryan. She informed me of all the advancements the 13-year-old had made in his short life, so far. She’s one proud mom, I thought, and rightly so. He is a great kid.
Then I felt the slightest twinge of jealousy. Being a non-mom, and not by choice, has its difficult moments especially when Mother’s Day rolls around. For the past 25 years or so I’ve struggled with that second Sunday in May, shedding more tears than I care to count.
More times than not, I’ve chosen to hide out and try to imagine the day did not exist. I always call my mother and wish her the best and thank her for being tops, but usually that’s where my holiday frivolity ceases.
Perhaps the hardest part of this whole situation is the way some people with kids who have never had to face this challenge don’t have a clue and often say very foolish things. "You can always adopt," is one response. Sure, as if adoption was as easy or inexpensive as going to Winn Dixie and buying a pot-roast. Or, how about, "Well, its okay, you’re ‘like a mother’ to many." What is that supposed to mean, anyway?
Forgive any sarcasm. It would be nice, though, if some of you ‘real moms’ out there paused and thought before speaking when it comes to this delicate issue. And please, when you ask if we have kids and we say no, don’t ask, "why not?" If we wanted you to know, we would have told you.
Jo and I reached our cars when the conversation suddenly turned to reminiscence of her pregnancy. "Since having Ryan, my body’s never been the same again," she exclaimed, while making arm gestures indicating a widening of her lower half. A slender gal like Jo? Whatever could she be saying? Her words intrigued me. "What do you mean?" I asked.
"My hips," she answered. "Fat-flaps." Every expectant woman is in danger of getting them. And they rarely go away. No matter how much I loose, they always remain."
I had to chuckle. I guess there is an upside to being childless. Maybe God knew I’d have super-flaps if I ever bore offspring. He kept me from doing so for my own bodily good. He’s so smart and knows what’s best for me.
Jo continued with her lament. "Then there’s the stretch marks. Railroad tracks. I’ll never wear a two-piece swimsuit again." I listened intently. "Anything else?" I asked, wanting to know exactly what I’d sacrificed by not having children. "Oh yes, my hair. You know I used to grow it long with no problem. Now it gets to a particular length and just breaks off!" "You don’t say?" I replied. The plot seemed to be thickening. So this is what I’ve missed.
We said our farewells and got into our vehicles. For the first time I took notice of Jo’s hips as she turned around. Well, what do you know? Yep, fat flaps, I thought. Hmm, I suppose being a non-mom is not so bad after all.
Still, hearing a little one utter the word ‘Mommy’ to me might have been worth the flaps, marks, and bad hair, but alas, I’ll never know.