The Thinking 

Gazing at My Navel (and My Empty Womb)

May 7, 2012


ONLY a culture amusing itself to death would listen to the Mother’s Day ramblings of an intentionally infertile woman who wonders, at the advanced age of 44, whether to have a child without a husband. Eve Ledermain writes in her anti-motherhood Mother’s Day essay in The New York Times:

I’m afraid of undertaking motherhood alone, in a tiny apartment with a three-flight walk up and little savings. I’m equally scared of the drone of doing so with a husband and a good job in a nice home. And what I fear the most is missing the indescribably deep connection with a child that yields a lifetime of stories.

Paralyzed by uncertainty, I nearly want to flip a coin to end the wrenching lack of knowing. But as T.S. Elliot said, “Things don’t go away. They become you. There is no end, but addition.” So undecided and waiting for my soul to speak, I’ll wait on, for the choice to become me.

Okay, instead of a “wrenching lack of knowing,” Eve, try this. Admit that it’s way too late for you. You’ve wasted your youth. Given your self-centeredness, you’d have made a lousy mother anyway.

— Comments —

Mary writes:

“Amusing itself to death” – perfect! Navel-gazing as high art. The self-actualization nation.

From the article: “Even more mystifying than the question over whether to become a mother: ‘How could I not know?’ How could I lack an answer for such a fundamental choice?”

Since this poor addled modern American woman is overwhelmed with all the choosing she has to do I’ll try and narrow it down for her. Having a baby was never meant to be a choice; getting married was. Married, have babies. Unmarried, don’t. Simple.

But she has inadvertantly touched on something significant, the tyranny of “choice” (I don’t think I’m the first to call it that) in which we live; the chaos and confusion of a society severed from all objective moral truth and, in turn, the resulting healthy lack of choices that truth creates.

Catherine writes:

How ironic that her name is Eve–“the mother of all the living.”

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