A popular concept in Paganism is the idea of the Triple God and Goddess: the Maiden, Mother, and Crone and the Page, Father, and Sage. In addition to being a theological idea, it is also used in life rituals such as Wiccanings, Initiations, Cronings, etc. Typically Maiden/Page-hood corresponds to the period of time between birth to Mother/Father-hood and Crone/Saging from menopause (or the equivalent male) to death.
Motherhood and Fatherhood, in my opinion, is a little harder to calculate.
Some people say it’s during the year of the girl’s first period/male’s first growth spurt. Biologically this makes a lot of sense. However, that means some girls would be Mothers at 10, which modern Western society finds despicable and some boys never really grow until their late teens and early twenties. Other traditions dictate that a girl becomes a Mother the first time she is in the situation of baring children. There is a possibility of Motherhood or Fatherhood, so the person should have the maturity to handle the situation. Yet again this is a little too old school because that means my friend Kate, who jokes that because she likes girls will always be a virgin, will never be a Mother even though she is co-raising her partner’s kids. It also fails to take into account other specific situations such as sexual abuse. There are probably dozens of other ways of answering this question with their own faults and advantages.
I don’t really have an answer to this question because I am not sure where I lie on this spectrum. I am certainly old enough to be considered a Mother, yet I am still a virgin and really don’t see that changing anytime soon. Even if I were to get pregnant right now, I am not sure I would have the emotional maturity to handle it. But I no longer really feel like a Maid either.
I think I will know when I am a Mother, instinctually or otherwise. But until then I remain as I am, an inbetweener.
© Ariadne Woods