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Melanie Young Headshot

Not Being a Mother Doesn't Make Me Any Less of a Woman

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"Why didn't you have children?"

I am always amazed when someone asks me this abrupt question. But people do ask.

"You wouldn't understand. You are not a mother."

I take a deep breath and hold my thoughts when another woman says this to me.

My decision not to have children is personal. But, since you asked...

When I was younger, it was a practical choice. I was single, running a business, traveling non-stop and in debt. I was not comfortable raising a child alone and unable to provide the time and resources I felt a child deserves. I married late, settled into life as a couple after years of being single and then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Chemotherapy placed me into menopause. There you have it.

I am no less of a woman because I did not have children. Yet, I have experienced a glass wall come up when other women who are mothers say to me,

"Motherhood made me a complete and better person."

"My life is more fulfilling."

"I am less selfish and more caring."

Just because I am not a mother does not mean that I am selfish or my life is incomplete. I have a very happy, fulfilling life that I embrace with appreciation and enthusiasm. I am a proud daughter of a wonderful mother who is, thankfully, healthy and vibrant. I live with purpose and compassion and no regrets... and no excuses.

The Mommy Track was not the path my life took, but it does not mean I went in the wrong direction. There are no right or wrong directions if we all navigate them with grace, kindness and passion. I respect and appreciate all mothers -- and dads -- and only ask that those of us who remained childless receive equal respect.

People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness.
Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they are lost.

- Dalai Lama