A Mother to Many

I can’t have children. With that simple statement comes images of an infant’s downy checks under soft hazel eyes wrapped up in a blanket, a toddler racing up to me wanting her mommy to see what she’s found. There are many different children I see with different combinations of my traits and those of my husband. In my mind I hold these mourned children and they smile at me and I feel our connection – that great mystery of blood and spirit shared between woman and child.

I am grieving for an opportunity lost. I know though it is the fantasy I mourn for. The fantasy of the perfect child and the idea that I could be the perfect parent. I’ve seen my sister struggle with her three children. She has warm moments of love with them but the reality is the kids fight with each other, break things, get food all over the house, get mad at her and things are just as messy as life. We’ve thought about adoption and even attended a couple of foster care classes. But as our mental disabilities increased we were sure in reality we wouldn’t be able to dedicate enough support to a child.

This story of me being barren also goes along with my religion. It has drawn me to Gaia, the earth mother, since she is the creatrix, she can do what I am unable to do – produce life. It’s also connected to my initiate name. My motherly qualities are more in the realm of nurturing my niece and nephews.

It was in the early ’00s when I suspected I wouldn’t have children. My menstrual cycle had always been irregular and I never felt well. Mike and I visited a Pagan couple in Feyetteville, Arkansas. They had designed an element board. It was meant to help people communicate with elemental spirits and their guides rather than the more random spirits that seem to be attracted to the ouija board. For my reading the elements of water and earth spoke telling me I would be a mother. I was thrilled since Mike and I were trying to have a baby but the message was clarified to mean more of a mother to all. The spirits also said my magic name was to be Masery. I said the name but the planchette kept going back to the “a” and we started to think it was stuck. It wasn’t until years later at a protest that someone pointed out the spelling of my name means it should be pronounced mAsery instead of m ah sery. But I was used to the wrong pronunciation so I haven’t changed it.

That same year an observant female OBGYN sent a blood sample to a geneticist in St. Louis. When I walked into the fancy doctors office for the results the two gentleman behind the desk looked at each other nervously. There was a box of tissues all ready placed where I was seated. I started to choke knowing there was bad news. I found out I had Turner’s Mosaic. They were sure that all of my eggs had been released prematurely which was why my periods were sporadic and light. Mike held me as I sobbed. He was stunned, holding me while we both shook with sadness.

I was in shock for months. Food didn’t taste good but I ate it, and ate it, and ate it until I was full then I stuffed myself some more. All I did was lay on the couch and watch soap operas. Though I still get depressed and cry over my lost children, I haven’t been back to such a gray numb place as I was then. At one point I told Mike I would understand if he wanted to divorce me so he could find a women who could give him children. He held me and with such a loving deep look told me I was his wife and he would love me forever no matter what. He couldn’t leave me. As much as the situation hurt it made our relationship that much stronger.

When people ask if I have children, I handle it better some days then others. Often I say no and immediately start a new topic. Or I say no I can’t and smile as if I’m not hurt so they will smile too and not give a nervous pitying glance. One day at work I had enough of a temp worker going on and on about how many children she wanted. Honestly she meant no harm and didn’t know my situation but I had become angry. So when she asked me if I had kids and I said no and she asked why not I said, “My ovaries are not up for discussion.” Another co-worker almost chocked on her food trying not to laugh. The other woman didn’t know what to say and changed the subject.

There are some benefits to not having children. Currently my sister is in her third trimester with her fourth child and my friend is in her first with her first child. In the moments when they tell me about the never ending nausea, hip pain, and constantly running to the bathroom I’m glad I can’t get pregnant. Plus my spouse and I don’t have to use protection and for us that feels so smooth. My husband and I also enjoy more spontaneity within the house *wink* and when we get the urge to take a drive or a walk we can just go without finding a babysitter or packing a diaper bag.

I’ve since become a mother type figure to many children. I am a substitute teacher, I volunteer for story time at the local library, and I watch my niece and nephews. Their smiles and voices make me smile. It’s those little moments that make life worth living.

About Tara "Masery" Miller

Tara "Masery" Miller is a Neo-Pagan panentheist Gaian mage living in the Ozarks with her husband and pets. She's also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church. She is the editor of Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul which you can find at Immanion press. www.immanion-press.com/info/books.asp She has a minor is religion from Southeast Missouri State Missouri State University with an emphasis in mysticism. Masery has lead various groups over the years and organized Pagan Pride Day events. Her magic and author page is at www.taramaserymiller.com

  • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

    I worry that I won’t be able to have children due to menstrual issues and a family history of fertility issues. On top of that I don’t want to be a single mother, and here I am, 30 and single with a ticking clock.

    My nieces and nephews have all moved away and none of my friends have kids. I find myself dreaming of adoption and forcing myself to look away from cute toddler outfits in discount stores. I go through periods of convincing myself I don’t want kids, but it doesn’t last long.

    So even though my situation is different, I sympathize.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paganswithdisabilities/ Tara “Masery” Miller

      Thanks for sharing Star. My sister’s baby shower is coming up so I bought cute little dresses which was bitter sweet.

  • ocean songs

    I never had children either so I relate to the pain that goes with it. That saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is very true. Thanks for reminding us all of that responsibility to care all together for the upbringing of the youngest amongst us.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paganswithdisabilities/ Tara “Masery” Miller

      Thank you for reading the post Ocean Songs.

  • Massagewolf

    Dear Masery…no woman is ‘barren’. We all are creative and nurture life…in many many different ways…not only in bearing children, but in other ways just as important. I honor your pain, and regrets for what you have lost…but I also feel that the Goddess has blessed you in other ways. I’m guessing that you are loved and appreciated by all of the children you spend time with…Blessed Be

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paganswithdisabilities/ Tara “Masery” Miller

      Massagewolf, thank you for the important reminder that women can be creative and nurture life. I like to think the children I’m with appreciate me. I know they do sometimes more than others such as when I send them to the principal. :)

  • Obsidia

    Hi, my dear Sister,
    I’m 62 and have never had children. Yes, we are all here for different reasons in life. I had to realize mine is that ALL children are mine. In my Path, there is a Goddess by the name of Yemaya. She is the Ocean. She is the Patroness of women who don’t have children…and yet she is also called “Mother of Witches.” I love Her.
    Know that you will bring many to the richness of life…of knowing how to LIVE, not merely exist. Much love to you and your dear mate. The Earth is stronger and hopefully, there will be many who CHOOSE not to have children, in order to give the Earth a blessing. Love is the answer, all ways. Blessed Be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tara.black.986 Tara Black

    Thank you for this post, Tara. My name is also Tara, and although I have two daughters, I have had three miscarriages in two years. Before going through this pain ( and losing a fallopian tube in the process), I took the conception/birth process for granted. I really thought that it was a cut and paste sort of procedure. Now I am fully aware that the people that are supposed to be on this earth are here, and there is nothing anyone can do to change that. There really is a ( at the risk of sounding religious) “plan” to the whole thing. I took my first two births for granted, and now when I look at my daughters I am in awe. I think ” wow, you really are supposed to be here, as am I , and everyone else that is here”.
    If you are to be a mother, there are so many ways that can happen without giving birth to a human child. Your free evenings, and clear mind are energetic fallow ground for nurturing animals, adults, creativity and so many other things that desperatly need a mother.
    I am in no way trying to downtalk or diminish your pain. Pain is pain and it sucks to have something biologically decided for you. But I really admire your candidness and courage in posting this. I has helped me too.