My eyes bulged out of their sockets, ears had surely misheard. But it was true. I had heard right. My father had indeed spoken to my in-laws about his interpretation of my fertility and they had shared this with my husband. Now I shouldn’t be upset, I mean I had written a publicly published essay about it just last summer so it wasn’t new information and yet, I felt betrayed, robbed of my body, lesser than. I was, I am, not going to be a mother. This has been a hard ass sentence to say for the past year. Though I’ve said in incredibly eloquent ways and a few shitty ass ways.
I am not going to be a mother and this does not make me lesser than– not in my ability to listen to and understand a mother, not in my ability to be human, and not in my ability to think, work, feel, do, act. In the past three months, I’ve had to face my decision to not pursue alternate methods to pregnancy over and over again. Some days this decision punches me with grief, when I see a pregnant woman or a mother hold the hands of her child or a coworker declare she is having a girl. Other days, I linger in bed on a Saturday later than any of my mother friends or laugh out loud at my 6th grade student accidentally call me mom or my 7th grade student burst into dance when I hit play. It’s fantastic and painful, both equally. At times I thought I would never be seen as an equal to my close friends who are mothers, my advice would come off as flippant, or inconsiderate, or inexperienced.
I am not going to be a mother and this is okay. Not because “oh poor me, I am without child, how will I ever survive, will my uterus just shrivel up like a raisin in the sun?” But because I do not have to be a mother to be powerful and strong and smart and perfect. Yes. I value myself and my decisions more than the gossip or demands of the ancient, ancient, ancient beliefs that a childless woman is to be pitied and worthless.
This issue of Good Little Girls is about the important work of a woman: to fight this idea that a woman’s choices can be interpreted as pitiful or worthless. I am incredibly humbled by this issue’s honest and powerful stories. Stories that stem from the ancient beliefs about ourselves, beliefs that plague us and keep us from claiming our true identity. I can’t wait for you to read the writing from these amazing women, storytellers, warriors.
To the women of this world who demand a life, free of society’s ancient pressures; a life defined by, created by, and valued by themselves and themselves first!
I give you Work! Woman!
Sonia Chintha is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Good Little Girls Zine.