There's Little Accuracy In Childless Musings About Legacy
Definitions of legacy pop up frequently here at The NotMom, and it was a generally unscheduled but recurring discussion topic at the 2017 NotMom Summit. That's where woman after woman hugged me and said some version of this:
"Thank you for what you're doing. One thing for sure, you know what your legacy will be: you created a place for us to find each other on the Net and in real life, too. The NotMom will be your legacy."
My reaction, every time, was to feel humbled, grateful, and shaking my head at the community growing from my five-year-old idea has that became my obsessive passion, rewarded by the thousands of women around the world who are just like me.
(Pictured above L to R: 2017 Summit Panelists sociologist and professor Amy Blackstone, Ph.D. from Maine, blogger Catherine-Emmanuelle Delisle from Montreal, Canada, Gateway Women founder Jody Day from London, England, and Kimya Dennis from North Carolina, also a sociologist and professor.)
Deeper insights came much later, because frankly, I haven't had much time lately to reflect on the Summit, or The NotMom, either.
When our 2017 conference ended, actually, the second it ended, because I hadn't left the stage after saying closing remarks, I was hit with the worst head pain I had ever experienced. Level 12 on a 1-to-10 pain meter. This pic caught one of my happier moments.on stage.
My first-ever major migraine was soon followed by my first ambulance ride (lights, no siren). At the hospital, tests found that I have a small aneurysm, and my days have been filled with doctors and clinical terminology ever since. Except for the times when those women's predictions replay in my head:
"The NotMom will be your legacy."
Their words feel like Truth ...until my evil twin starts her work.
"Yes", she whispers, 'you have changed women's thinking about their lives for the better, and you've helped them see that while the paths they follow are unique, they are not alone, and yada yada yada, if you die today, what really becomes of your beloved'NotMom?'
If you think that's some rude, wrong, and twisted thinking, she had more to say.
"If the doctors declare you to be 'terminal', with only weeks to live, how long will your so-called legacy survive you?"
She whispered on, "You've shown that women without children yearn to connect offline, and they will travel, and pay, to do it. Your first two events drew more than 200 childless and childfree women from seven different countries, and thousands more on social networks, yet you still can't seem to land a single major sponsor to join your cause. Exactly how much Time do you think you have?"
May I say that I hate my evil twin? Her favorite word is Fear, and I've learned that word only means, False Evidence Appearing Real.
I know from personal experience that not one of us knows all the lives we have touched and improved. Neither you nor I can say for certain who will be with us when we die. And unless you cure cancer or find another planet, you don't know who will remember you when you're gone, or why.
And so, The NotMom, and each of us, rocks on.
Meanwhile, The NotMom community is thriving, and growing, and administratively, we ain't dead yet. For our team , everything centers on CONNECTIONS.
We need strategic partnerships with brands and advertisers excited to change old paradigms and recognize childless and childfree women as a growing female consumer market in their own right. That's how we get to have another NotMom Summit, and women are letting us know they want it to happen. Behind the blog, we know that. sponsor pitches and business-focused brainstorming have top priority.
But, of course, we have two priorities. The other is to build online connections where voices of women without children are heard in forums and blog comments and social posts. And we will find other ways to spark the face-to-face magic we've seen that happens when NotMoms are away from their keyboards.
I believe I'm still creating my legacy. The NotMom and I are looking forward to 2018.