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Women receive toxic messages, both explicit and inferred, regarding their choices and circumstances relating to parenthood. While there is increased awareness of the unbalanced societal expectation that a woman must have children to reach her full potential, and increased acceptance of the completeness of individuals and families of all configurations, I have never heard a song on the subject. I have, however, heard that having a child is the greatest thing a women can do, a phrase which undermines the inherent worth of a "childless woman," along with her skills and abilities. I wrote this song to name aspects of this view still lodged in my subconscious belief system, to bring them into the light where they lose their sting.
This arrangement takes shape with the exquisite musicianship of Jean-Christophe Lizotte and Ben Reimer; the intro and outro are covered in their fingerprints. Elements of the arrangement, including the use of Motherless Child, the original spark for this song, happened in collaboration with Winnipeg's Touching for a show earlier this year.
Recording and mixing was done by Omar Raafat at Mechanicland Studios in Montreal this September.
* * *
-music and words by Jennifer Thiessen
Childless woman, listen to what they said:
You're not a child, but you're not a man.
Who will carry the burden of your silver head?
Childless woman never did the greatest thing a woman can.
Childless woman, look at what you've done:
You made some money and you had some fun.
All your big ideas kept you warm and fed,
But, childless woman, will your brainchild ever hold your hand?
Childless woman, do you have regrets?
You were so selfish, just to live some things you now forget.
While all your sisters mothered new life,
Childless woman never had to make the sacrifice.
* * *
Sometimes I feel like motherless child,
A long way from home.
Sometimes I wish that I could fly, like a bird up in the sky,
Up to that heavenly land.
* * *
released October 31, 2016
Jennifer Thiessen: voice, viola
Jean-Christophe Lizotte: cello
Ben Reimer: drums
Recorded and mixed by Omar Raafat at Mechanicland Studio (Montreal)
Photo by Fannie-Laurence Dubé-Dupuis