Sunday, May 13, 2018

Not that kind of fertile.

"You'll change your mind."

It's a refrain I think every childfree person has had to hear, many, many times -- like some kind of incredibly irritating Ludovico technique usually used by older people, all of them with children.

As if that weren't enough, it's common to come up against it in religious or spiritual pursuits, too. A lot of Mormon and ex-Mormon bloggers have given their opinions on their church's emphasis on motherhood, and the particular pressure they felt when receiving these messages. Emphasis on fertility isn't the sole province of patriarchal religions, though -- I wish I had a dime for every time I've rolled my eyes at the emphasis many forms of paganism place on reproductive sex. Half the books out there categorize herbs and stones as "masculine" and "feminine," relying on lazy heteronormative tropes rather than useful, accurate terminology.

So I was worried I would have to bite my tongue when I was studying Druidic virtues. Fertility ranks pretty highly... Fortunately, it's a definition of fertility I can live with. Part of what drew me to this path is the emphasis on creation. Not entirely -- or even mostly -- referring to reproduction, either. The creation of art, music, poetry, and prose all fall under fertility. A fertile mind is prized as, if not more, highly than a fertile womb.

Which is pretty good, because even if I wanted kids, I kind of balk at the idea of what my body would do in the process. I have accepted the fact that my innards are essentially a soggy sack of horrors, albeit not without a kind of subtle, creeping dread. I mean, how many more extra parts am I going to sprout?

(But maybe that's actually some kind of super power. I make too much cerebrospinal fluid, and my organs appear to be trying to bud like hydras. Maybe I'm secretly some kind of mutant with the dubiously useful power to literally be extra.)

I like children just fine. I enjoy having them in my life. But I don't want to have my own and never have, which is pretty fortunate because it seems biology has made that decision without requesting my input.

And still, I get haunted by a Greek chorus of, "You'll change your mind," and things holding up fertility as the ultimate virtue.

It makes me worry, to be honest. I know my mind pretty well at this point. Why does the world keep insisting I'll change it?

Am I inevitably going to end up with baby fever? Mourning the loss of the one would-absolutely-have-been-a-goddamned-catastrophe anembryonic gestation I did experience? Am I going to end up regretting it when it's too late, and even adoption is no longer an option?

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