Monday, April 26, 2010

Skipping to Motherhood

I could buy a Sheitel and a ring, and move to a place where no one knows me. I could say my husband is a Masmid, and learns in Kollel night and day, and thus explain away his absence. I could have a baby, and raise him on my own. I could stop waiting for the right man, and skip to the next stage. I could be a mother, before I'm a wife.

I won't, of course. But sometimes I want to.

I told my theory to the guy I was dating, when we sat on the grass one night.

"First you think marriage is about having a permanent boy friend, and it's not."

Teenagers also want to get married. They want a boy to give them red roses and heart shaped candies. They want a boy to tell them he loves them. They want the romance, and the relationship. But marriage should be about giving, not taking. They aren't there yet. If they do get married their relationship will have to mature, after the Chuppah, for it to last.

"Then you think marriage is about giving to each other, building a relationship. That's closer, but still not enough."

When I started dating, I was nineteen. I wanted to get married, but secretly also hoped I could push off having kids for a couple of years.

"When you actually want to have children, that's when you know for sure that you're ready for marriage, ready to build a home"

I can't put my finger on the exact moment when it all changed. It happened gradually, I suppose.

You may say that it's peer pressure, being surrounded on all sides by strollers and pacifiers.

You may say it's my biological clock beginning to tick louder.

I think that it's age, maturity. Reaching that stage where you want to love without limits, where you want to be a parent, and raise a child.

You're scared, it's a big responsibility, but you feel ready for it, ready to be a mother.

And now I'm past the stage of readiness, I've reached the stage of impatience, of longing.

I hold out my finger, and a baby grasps it and wraps his little hand around it. I read a story about a stuffed elephant to a chubby toddler, she smiles and repeats the words. "Kick" I tell the six year old, showing her how to swing all by herself.

The right guy hasn't showed up yet. But I want to be a mother. I wonder what would happen if I could buy a Shaitel and a ring, and move to a place where no one knows me...


  1. wow! that is exactly what i feel read y to skip the husband step...and adopt a kid but yea right so not happening

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  3. May I ask... Why?

    Why do you want to be a mother?

    I mean, is this your end-goal? Or is raising a child a step along the way to some higher goal?

  4. Nonsense and tragic in perspective.
    Many marriages have no children as a function of fate yet are marvelous. Many marriages have no children by design (particularly second marriages) yet are marvelous.
    Many marriages are destroyed by the traingulation created by children, and in particular (many) traditional Jewish womens inability to br both mother and lover concurrently. There are only two persons on a ketuba, not six or ten.

  5. Israel, that may be true, but the reality is in the frum world, a woman does need to get married first in order to have children.

    Now I do know of some frum single women who adopted/became quasi-foster parents but I think I've only heard of maybe two cases....

    And, yes, I also want to get married but probably want a child just as much as I want a husband.

    And poster #3, what do you mean by "end goal" and "step along the way to some higher goal"? Not everything so neatly fits into spiritual goals...most people (at least most women) have an inborn desire to have's something that Hashem has built into their personality, just like most normal people crave friendship and closeness even if there is no "higher goal" to that craving.
    Not to pick on you, it can just be frustrating when people try to play the devil's advocate to make you second guess "if you *really* want to get married" or are truly ready for motherhood or whatever.

  6. You're a lovely writer! Some of the stuff you've produced speaks to me so well that I begin to think you've been reading my mind.

    Keep writing, girl. Have you thought of seeking a publisher?

  7. No, I definitely disagree.

    I _know_ that I will never, ever really want a baby _right now_, but I think I was ready to marry when I married, and I think that my husband and I have a pretty decent marriage. Our relationship is built more around love, openness, and supporting each other than it is around reproduction.

    I've always known that I'd be sad when I got old if I hadn't had children, but what I really want is adult children with whom I have a good relationship, like what my parents have now, rather than the whole diapers/sibling rivalry/teenage rebellion portion of events. Then, of course, we discovered that we had fertility problems (no, I am not at all old, even in a fertility sense, and our issues are permanent medical conditions rather than because we waited too long) but that's a whole other cup of tea.

    I do wonder sometimes if I hadn't been frum, and thus came from a society where being childless by choice was more or less acceptable, whether I'd ever have wanted children at all. I like children, certainly, and am pretty good with them, but seem to lack that 'inborn desire...built by Hashem into [my] personality.' My guess is that I'm not alone within the frum community, but it's too taboo a topic for me to ever really know.

    On a separate note, a good friend who also badly wanted children would semi-seriously fantasize about moving to a small town in Middle America for a year for work reasons, and coming back with a child and a sheitel, telling everybody that she'd gotten married and quickly divorced. She eventually married someone whom I don't think she loves, but her joy in her child (and, be"h, future children) seems to make it all worth it for her.

  8. My wife and I got married before we wanted to have children. We found out later that we never will for medical reasons. We still have a very good marriage and are very much in love with each other twenty years later.

  9. Haven't you seen the blog Jewish Single Mom By Choice?

  10. Sure, I want to be a mom. But I want a spouse too. The spouse, for me, is not the end point of motherhood, but also a partner who completes me.

  11. For me, marriage wasn't about having children, it was about finding my soul mate - as corny as that sounds. B''H our marriage is wonderful, and we were on birth control for almost two years before we were ready to have kids. In fact, just the thought of getting pregnant back then freaked me out. Then again, I got married when I was 20. Now I'm 23, we've been married for almost three years, and I am having some fertility issues. Hopefully everything will work out in the end, but it's hard....

    Like you said, at some point, I went from not wanting kids at ALL, to flirting with the idea, to really wanting to be a mother. Now I'm at that point, and it's hard when I see most of my friends with 2 kids. Sometimes I wish I would have gone down this road sooner, but then again, I really really didn't want to get pregnant when we first got married.

    Basically, after this very long drawn-out ramble, what I'm trying to say is that marriage is NOT only about wanting children. For me, it wasn't at all. For some, that's the main goal. For others, it's a mix of both. But from personal experience, it was much more about my husband. Children for me, even now, would be just icing on the cake.

  12. P.S. I'm childfree, thankfully.

  13. Of course you want children, you see everyone else with theirs and feel left out. You see the Nachas when young Mommy's bring their adorable children to shul on yom tov and you have nothing.
    But just because you now want them (because all the other kids have one) does not mean you are ready for one. Child rearing is difficult and time consuming. No one is ever really ready, you just do it.
    Your pangs for children are just the next logical step in your desire to be like those that surround you.

  14. So, just because someone isn't married, she isn't ready to have children? I find that assumption kind of insulting, really. Do you think that all the single women responding on this blog are just post-seminary?

    I'm in my thirties, I think I have a realistic idea of what raising children entails, believe me, I don't want kids just because I want to be like everybody else.

  15. I'm coming to this really late, but I need to disagree with you here. I got married when I met the right guy, five years ago. I was ready for marriage. I was ready to build a relationship with my husband, to give to each other, to grow together.

    I was not ready for children.


    Five years later, I am a different person. I've learned how to put another person's needs first--not just because it's good middos, but instinctively, naturally. My husband and I have also learned each other's rhythms and patterns.

    When we first got married, we were best friends. Now, five years later, we're an unshakeable team. I have confidence that whatever we go through, we can handle it, because we have each other's backs--not just because we love each other, but because we KNOW each other, in a way that you really can't after a few months of dating, or even nine months of marriage. We respond to each other's cues. We work as a pair.

    And now, five years later, we are expecting our first child. Five years ago, I would have been terrified. Today, I am scared, but also excited and eager, because I know that I'm up for the challenge of parenthood. I know I have a partner who will be my copilot on this adventure.

    The foundation of our marriage has solidified so strongly over the last five years that I am finally ready to have a child.

    And if I had waited to get married until I was ready to have children, I don't know if I would be ready to get married today. It was getting married to my husband, growing with him, and together into a team, that has made me ready, in a way that all the time in the world never would have.