The words Womanhood and Motherhood are often thought of as synonymous. But to those of us who are childless-by-choice or by circumstance, these terms aren’t interchangeable.
There’s a societal shift taking place that is slowly separating and reshaping the perception of these two words. But to me, the shift often seems a bit too slow-moving.
Not A Complete Woman
For now, the expectation is for a woman to become a mother. A childless woman, specifically one who chooses to be childless, is an unfamiliar oddity.
And even though the Pill has been mainstream for half a century, the concept of being childfree by choice lags far behind in terms of acceptance.
Many of us are taught that motherhood is universally valued. In turn, a woman who is not a mother is not considered a complete woman. Therefore, a woman who would choose to forgo mothering is difficult to understand.
- Why wouldn’t she want to be complete?
- Why would she choose to live a useless life of no value?
These questions have been asked about so many of us passing through our child-bearing years without children, including Heather Heyer.
Today is the one-month anniversary of the death of Heather Heyer. Her life was lost on August 12 as she stood in opposition of a “Unite the Right” rally being held in Charlottesville, VA.
Grateful For Hateful Words
The Daily Stormer, a hate site now removed from the web, posted this the day after her death:
“Despite feigned outrage by the media, most people are glad [Heather] is dead, as she is the definition of useless. A 32-year-old woman without children is a burden on society and has no value…
“Had she not died yesterday, hundreds of thousands of dollars would have been spent on propping-up this gross creature who had failed to do her most basic duty – her only real duty, in fact – and reproduce…
“Having no children at that age, it can be assumed that she had multiple abortions, and was thus herself a child murderer.”
Useless? Failure? … Child murderer?! Well, that escalated quickly!
These hateful words sting my soul! But I, for one, am grateful for these wretched comments posted for the world to see.
Let me explain…
Offended And Outraged
Having these statements declared so boldly and brutishly offended lots of people!
YES! Please, be offended. Be outraged.
These comments, these beliefs, are offensive. But unfortunately, these beliefs are more widespread than many would want to believe.
The author’s unabashed ignorance highlighted the ludicrousness of his opinions. And I’m grateful for the conversation that is happening as a result.
The Daily Stormer post going viral gives the childless/childfree a great opportunity to speak up while the country is listening. To come together against the false and oppressive mindset:
A childless woman is a useless woman failing in her only real duty of reproducing.
Definition Of Useless
Let’s look at the actual definition of useless:
Useless – not fulfilling the intended purpose; having no value or worth, no ability or skill.
Heather was a 32-year old woman … without children. She was not useless. Her life did have value. Reproducing was, in fact, not her duty. And failing to reproduce did not make her a failure.
Childbirth is not an obligation for the female gender. There is purpose to be found in mothering. But motherhood is not the sole purpose of any woman’s life.
Having a baby is a possibility, an option. However, bearing or not bearing a child has no bearing on a woman’s inherent value as a person.
Maybe Heather Heyer desired to be a mom someday. Or maybe not. Either way, her value was not, and is not, dependent on her role as a mother, or lack thereof.
Burden On Society
Heather was not a burden on society. She actually worked two jobs: as a waitress and as a paralegal. The lawyer she worked with described her as a “people person” who wanted to help others. She was a valued employee dedicated to her work. The lawyer she assisted even adjusted his office hours to accommodate her schedule!
Those who knew Heather well described her as “compassionate since she was a young child” and a “passionate advocate for the disenfranchised.”
“She always had a very strong sense of right and wrong. She always, even as a child, was very caught up in what she believed to be fair. Somehow I almost feel that this is what she was born to be, is a focal point for change.”
-Susan Bro, Heather Heyer’s mother
At Heather’s memorial service, her mom announced, “This is just the beginning of Heather’s legacy.”
Yes! This is just the beginning of Heather’s legacy.
A legacy of love spurring on the continuation of the fight for justice. Generating a spark of conviction that results in action. Encouraging others to stand up for what is right.
“We’re going to preach love. We’re going to preach equality, and Heather’s death won’t be in vain.”
-Marissa Blair, friend of Heather Heyer
The person Heather was and the legacy she created was in no way deterred by her childless status. Heather’s early death only served to magnify the proof of her meaningful, useful life.
THIS is the liberating truth:
You will be recognized for the way you live your life.
And remembered far more for WHAT you produce, than for WHO you produce.
Why read when you can watch?! Click here to watch the Childless Defined As Useless Video.