Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. It is a very special day for everyone who has children and families. However, for some of us who may have lost our mother or possibly a child, it is a very difficult day. It is also difficult for those of us who do not have children, especially those who do not or cannot have children due to the fact we have a disability. In addition, we need to remember that some mothers are spending their special day at a hospital or other facility, tending to a child who is seriously sick or injured. This is what my mom experienced for many of her mother’s days after my accident in 1985.
I am grateful for my mom and happy for my friends and family who are moms. However, there is still a part of me that feels a void since I am not a mom and will never have my own child. I am reminded of this when someone asks, “do you have children?” At that moment, my heart drops and I say, “no, I do not.” The decision I made to not have children is just one example of how the damage from my rock climbing accident continues to be a daily challenge. If you met me for the first time, you’d never know that I live with several invisible disabilities. As a result, I have had to make many difficult choices, including not having children. I have wrestled with this for 27 years.
I know that there are many women who cannot or choose to not have children, due to health problems and disabilities. The solution is to find something else that fulfills the void to want to take care of someone or something. I’ve found different avenues to fulfill my desire to nurture and care for others. For example, I’ve been a volunteer at local colleges helping students transition into adulthood, worked with young adults who have special needs, have taken care of pets at a local pet store, and I keep in touch with my godchild and her mom.
Even though many women, including myself, do not have children, there are opportunities to get involved in other people’s lives and make a difference. It is not a substitute for my own kids, but it is very rewarding and takes the sting out of the wound. For those out there with severe disabilities, invisible or not, nurturing a child, friend, family member or pet can be just as rewarding. A simple phone call, email or sending a card, can make a big difference, not only to the person who receives the call or note, but to the one who sends it.