Thank you so much for this, Mona. Today is so difficult, as it’s a day of intense grief and mourning for me after losing my mom to cancer a few years ago. She was the eldest of 9 and rejected so much of what she was taught in Nigeria so that me and my younger sister could make every single choice we wanted for ourselves. The commodification of this day stings because it doesn’t recognize women like her, the mothers who sacrificed so much to provide their daughters with the freedom to ourselves choose not to be mothers. Anyhow, thank you very much. I’m 28 and have said to friends I do not think I will have children, for many of the reasons you wrote about in this essay. Some have been dismissive but I don’t care. I will be borrowing (with attribution!!) some of the language you used. Thank you, thank you.

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This piece has moved me greatly Mona. It feels as though you are expressing my truth as well as your own. I knew as a child that I would never marry and never have children – because I choose not to. I used to tell people I had too much living to do, but they couldn’t understand that, so eventually I’d just shrug and say ‘I’m too selfish’ – and of course people found that easier to accept. I know the pressures – and sadness – of older generations of family who find it hard to accept. Being Hungarian by parentage though not by upbringing, I’m also connected by blood and family I love to a deeply patriarchical culture, where a woman is only treated as an adult once she has children and where the current government pays handsomely for women to stay at home and ‘build the nation’.

What resonated deepest with me though is your naming of your foremothers. I have taken part in shamanic red tent ceremonies where we speak and write down the names of our foremothers as far back as we are able. We then journey to them: to meet them, honour them and their lives and struggles, to learn about and from them, to try to understand what we have inherited – good and bad – from their experiences and spirits. We seek to heal the wounds of our ancestors and so heal ourselves.

We also speak the names of our descendants – women and girls – and bless them and seek to pass on love and strength to their spirits. And yes, absolutely, our unmothered daughters are our descendants too.

Thank you for your beautiful writings and spirit. You constantly inspire me.

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