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The Love I Feel is Enough

By Victoria Fryer 

There is a thing that some parents say about love, and it is that the love for your child is the deepest, most profound and most unconditional love that you will ever feel. That this love is unfathomable to the childless and/or childfree. That this love is the most important and most powerful part of the human experience.

But a recent essay by Aubrey Hirsch addresses this parental claim to love, and in it, she—a parent herself—assures us childless and childfree that we are fully capable of as strong and as deep a love as what she feels for her child.

I’m not going to lie: this essay actually made me feel better. On the days during which I am wracked with self-doubt and ambivalence, I wonder if it’s possible to live a full life without having experienced this kind of love. Particularly as a writer, whose literal job it is to understand a wide range of human experiences, I think that maybe I’m closing myself off to an essential part of life.

Hirsch’s essay reinforces the point that, just because you don’t have a child of your own, doesn’t mean you’re missing out on some kind of higher plane of love that’s inaccessible to those of us without children.

And in many ways, this makes me feel so relieved. There are days when I think how awful it would be to love any harder or deeper than I already do. The love I have for my dogs, my husband, my close family—there are days when it literally hurts. Sure, there are the great parts of love, but there is also the knowing of losing. Someday, my mother will die. My husband will die. My dogs will die. The pain of just thinking about it is palpable. Could I even bear to love anyone more?

I sometimes joke that the love we feel for the people and pets around us whom we know will precede us in death is the kind of love that deserves the special recognition. How brave it is to give your full heart in spite of knowing it will break.

But truly, there is no one kind of love that is greater than another—they’re all just different, just varying aspects of the human experience. As Hirsch drives home, these experiences are all relevant and powerful and deep. There is not some piece of your heart that is locked away inside you and rotting because you don’t have children. We all feel love, and that love is enough.

Victoria Fryer is a 31-year-old writer and content strategist. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two pit bulls. You can find her on Twitter @extoria.

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Comments

  1. Hi Victoria,
    I totally get the part where you talk about how the love you have for some of the people around you is so strong and deep that it hurts sometimes. I feel exactly the same about my husband most of the time, and realise how blessed I am to experience this type of love.

    Having said that, my break from wanting children has been so profound that I don’t have those moments where one wonders how it would feel like to love a child or be loved by a child. I realise how blessed I am already for being in a happy marriage and that to me is enough. Yes love is love and no love is superior than others.

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