As of this writing, I am 41 years old and have never been pregnant—though I've longed for years to become a mother. I am not comfortable pursuing further fertility treatment, and our hopes to adopt become slimmer as the months trudge forward. In the next breath, however, I must tell you that I am in a season of great growth and newness, a season in which possibilities stretch before me. I do not view my current lot in life as a dead end. And if I do become a mother, I don't believe my calling in life will change; instead, my life and schedule will change as my role does.
I've been writing on what it's like to navigate childlessness in the church lately. I've been listening to heartrending stories from mothers, non-mothers, those whose children are flying the coop, and those who have finally realized their dream of parenthood after a long struggle. Frankly, the responses overflow, as women have begun to speak of what is often seen as unmentionable in the church: Can a Christian woman find her identity outside of motherhood?
From a childless single woman: "As a divorced woman with no kids, I don't always fit in at church. 'Are you married?' 'Do you have kids?' Both of these are difficult questions to answer, as all I have ever wanted in life was to be a wife and mom."
From a childless married woman: "We have always had a clear and strong sense of where God was moving us [without children] that we never second guessed what he wasn't calling us to."1