Trigger Warning: An open and frank discussion about what it means to be a real mom…
A childless mom is a real mom. What?! How can someone possibly be a childless mom? And if you can’t be a childless mom, then how can a childless mom be a real mom? Well, indulge me for a moment as I navigate the complex path of what it means to be a real mom…
Is a dog mom a real mom?
I began contemplating all of this when a fellow infertility warrior commented that her friends claimed that dog moms aren’t real moms. It isn’t the first time I’ve heard this opinion. And I’m quite certain it’s not the last time that someone will make this claim. And like my infertility sister, this glib statement has caused me much pain, doubting my place, doubting my feelings…
Then, I came across a quote which stated, “6 + 3 = 9, but so does 5 + 4…” And it got me to thinking… There are lots of ways to be a mom, LOTS of ways to love with a mom heart…
Does real mean traditional?
Because “real” doesn’t mean “traditional.” If we assert that only traditional moms are real moms, then there are an awful lot of people claiming to be moms who aren’t. Because a traditional mom (in the strictest sense of the word) would be a woman who was able to get pregnant without any medical assistance and gave birth to a living, biological child. And if that’s the only women who are “real moms,” then anyone who needs assisted reproductive technologies isn’t a real mom. Anyone who adopts isn’t a real mom. Anyone who deviates at all from this narrow definition isn’t a real mom.
But we all know that women who have babies via IVF are real moms. Women who adopt are real moms, too. Why? Because they have a two-legged kid?
Is a host mom a real mom?
Well, I hosted a foreign exchange student–a two-legged kid. I was a host mom, so that means I’m a real mom, right? Many would say “no.” Because this kid only lived with us for six months and has biological parents that she returned home to. So, being a host mom isn’t a real mom.
And if being a host mom to a two-legged kid isn’t real, then surely being a dog mom to a four-legged fur baby clearly places me outside the “real mom” box.
But it doesn’t.
Because my definition of a real mom is not nearly as strict and narrow and traditional. My definition of a real mom is a woman who loves and cares for another with her entire heart. It is a woman who thinks about the needs of her kids—whether those kids be two-legged exchange students or four-legged fur babies. It is a woman who realizes that being a real mom is so much more than biology…
Is a childless mom a real mom?
And why do I share all of this on a Good Things Monday? Because it is a fabulous thing that I have reached the point in my childless journey where I don’t just say these words, but I believe these words.
For so long, I felt like a fraud, like dog moms and host moms weren’t real moms. But now, I know that my love for Bruna and Maddie is beyond real. And I am so, so grateful that I have embraced my non-traditional, real mom roles. I am so, so grateful that (most of the time) I don’t allow others to tell me who I am or what roles are true, valid, real.
A childless mom.
How does that add up? 5.25 + 3.75?!
Well, no matter the equation, a childless mom is a real mom, too. Even if you aren’t a dog mom, cat mom, fur baby mom, or host mom, you are still a real mom. Because you love your little with your entire heart. And you do this despite the fact that you never got to meet this little…
Yes, a childless mom is a real mom.
Now that is something to think about… And that is most definitely a good thing.
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