March 30, 2014

I Am Childless, But I Am a Mother. ~ Katherine Smith

sound of music

I received a rather large shock today. I’m a mother.

At 21, I was told I had a condition which may mean I am infertile. At 25, I broke up with my long term boyfriend and have roamed this earth alone ever since.

I’ve been busy.

There has been much transition in recent years. Like a caterpillar evolving into a butterfly, I left behind my teenage dreams and life as a London-based producer, grew wings and took flight.

I charted a course in the direction of my two passion: yoga and exploring the world. I had no idea where it would lead.

I live a nomadic lifestyle, which means I haven’t lived in any one place longer than six months for about three years, or perhaps more (who’s counting). So, like many 30-something women, producing little people has eluded me.

Where are all the eligible men?

As my 20’s matured me, my single years stretched out behind me. I wondered if I was baby-fit. If I was made of the same material as my mother, and if I was cut out to be a mother myself.

I watched as friends got married and then got pregnant. Rarely did I attend their weddings or baby showers, usually because I was up a mountain or in a handstand in some far flung corner of the globe.

Without a baby-making partner, a lifestyle that would support a child, or so much as a hint of my body-clock kicking in, the question of kids is one I continued to sit on the fence about.

Traveling, yoga and the perpetual pursuit of happiness occupied me more. There has always been much I have wanted to do with myself to the point that I was never certain where I’d actually even fit in having a baby.

My life has been so consumed with moving on and moving around that the truth is I’m not sure I imagined meeting someone or finding somewhere that made me content enough to commit. I assumed it was something best left for folks who prefer to be grounded in one place and had a lot of patience (and ear plugs).

Then yesterday a colleague and friend commented that my job title should simply be “Mummy.”

I laughed, baulking at how I don’t have a maternal bone in my body. She looked rather taken aback and we proceeded to have a conversation that made me see myself in a new light.

You see, I now basically get paid to play house (and a fairy tale house at that). Tucked away in the whimsical wilderness of the Portuguese mountains there is a yoga retreat centre where I am part manager/part resident writer/part ayurvedic chef/part yoga teacher, and an occasional life-coach/dog walker/party-planner/nanny.

I am here to look after everyone else, make sure they are warm, fed, watered, entertained and intermittently inspired.

It gives me the most incredible satisfaction.

I am childless, but I am a mother. I am pregnant with possibility. I know that as much as adventure inspires me, indulging my nurturing nature makes me happy.

I love to love.

I still have no idea whether or not I will ever have babies.

And I’m comfortable not knowing. Popping out pigmies isn’t something I’m desperate to do tomorrow.

But, now I see how my maternal nature is manifesting itself in other ways. I am more open to the idea than I was before. Perhaps if and when the timing is right, my priorities will change, my perspective will shift, someone will appear and I will be happy to hang up my holdall because creating a carbon copy will make me happier.

Maybe not.

For now I’ll just trust that I will find whatever destiny awaits me. There are many possibilities.

I won’t pine for something I don’t have, won’t worry that getting pregnant could be a problem or wonder if kids are for me.

I’ll simply live each moment in the recognition that each is precious and utterly expectant with all eventualities.


Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

Apprentice Editor: Sarah Qureshi / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: The Sound of Music

Read 6 Comments and Reply

Read 6 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Katherine Smith