Episode 25: Nobody’s Entitled to Become a Grandparent with Rosalba Fontanez

Episode 25 cover art featuring podcast guest Rosalba Fontanez

Rosalba Fontanez has something she wants all parents of childfree people to hear: this is NOT about you, so stop putting a burden on your children to bear babies!

Let’s back up because Rosalba herself is a mother. She’s my mother, the maker of The Maker Muse herself. And she’s just as tired as all us childfree folk are of having to defend the choice (or natural progression) to being childfree. So she has a lot to say on the subject, especially for people who expected their children to make them grandparents.

More about Rosalba:

As a hypnotherapist and shamanic healer for over 20 years, Rosalba helps people heal their own trauma (both new and generational) to lead healthier lives.

Find Rosalba online at:

DM me on Instagram if you have questions about this week’s episode. And if you would like to apply to be on the podcast, fill out this form.

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In this episode:

  • 2:20 – The list of questions included:
    1. What’s it like to have a child who is childfree?
    2. What were your expectations as a mother about becoming a grandmother?
    3. How do you navigate loving your children the same when one has children and the other doesn’t? From attention to how you leave things to them in your will.
    4. Does she have any advice for people with unsupportive parents, if there’s anything we can say to help them understand?
    5. How would she manage a situation with a parent who is upset because they had a vision of retiring and looking after the grandchildren and now it’s not going to happen?  
    6. What her non-grandparent life looks like 
    7. Her response to bingos

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Transcript

[00:00] Paulette: Buen día y welcome to The Maker Muse Podcast, the place where childfree Spanglish speaking, mujeres fuertes are inspired to find their confidence, su confianza, through creativity. I’m Paulette Erato, the Maker Muse.

[00:18] Well mis amigues, this is the end of the childfree Latina series for now. Season two gave you the voices of creative childfree mujeres fuertes from around the world as they told the stories of their unique and fulfilling lives.

[00:32] To bring it all to a fine point, today I’m chatting with the maker of the Maker Muse. My own mother, Rosalba Fontanez. I’m really excited for you to hear this because if you’ve got parents or relatives who make you feel bad about being childfree, you’ve got an ally in this woman. She has some strong words for parents who burden their own children with demands for kids. If you find yourself in that situation, you might wanna send them this episode to listen to.

[00:59] Let me also give you some background on my family situation, because my mom talks about her two kids, but then she also says she has three of us. So here’s the scoop. I have two brothers, but technically my older brother is my mom’s stepson, so she herself only birthed two people.

[01:13] When she talks about her kids, she says she has three because we never made any divisions between half and whole siblings. We grew up in the same house. My older brother taught me to drive. He moved me into my college dorm. And all three of us are super tight as adults.

[01:28] In preparation for this episode, I crowdsourced some questions from childfree groups and previous guests and sent them to her ahead of time. You’ll find these questions in the show notes. My favorite is her response to bingos. Here’s what she had to say.

[01:43] And welcome back to the Maker Muse Podcast. I’m Paulette Erato, the Maker Muse. And today I have the creator of the actual Maker Muse, my mom. Hi mom!

[01:55] Rosalba: Hello, my daughter!

[01:56] Paulette: So my mom, Rosalba Fontanez, is a Mexican immigrant to the United States. She has lived here for how long now mom?

[02:05] Rosalba: 45 years, 46 almost.

[02:08] Paulette: And you came as a child basically, you were still a minor, you were only 17, right?

[02:12] Rosalba: Yes.

[02:13] Paulette: Do you wanna tell your your story?

[02:16] Rosalba: Well, I came here at 17 looking for the American Dream. In my 17 year old mindset, the American dream was to pack tomatoes, make money and send it to Mexico for my siblings, because I was the oldest of four siblings, we were orphans.

[02:35] Instead, I met my husband the day after I arrived here, the guy that was going to be my husband and Paulette’s father. So I, I’ve been with him ever since from the day after I arrived to the US. So end of story.

[02:51] Paulette: There’s a lot of nuance in that story, but we don’t have to get into it. So from 1976 to 2022, you’ve, you’ve lived a lot of different lives. You’ve had a lot of different careers, and I remember my mom, who was very strict as a teenager, she’s not the same person anymore.

[03:09] Rosalba: I grew up.

[03:11] Paulette: You know what, Mom, I, I credit you with recognizing that you’ve made mistakes. You’re human. And I don’t know how many adult children have the conversation with their parents and, and their parents are like, I didn’t get it right necessarily.

[03:23] Rosalba: Right. Yes. We’re, we’re human and we’re learning as we’re going. You know, we look back at our, whatever we didn’t do right, and we always have a chance to redo it or do it better next time around.

[03:37] Paulette: That’s what your work center’s around, right?

[03:40] Rosalba: That’s right.

[03:40] Paulette: Dealing with generational trauma and no longer repeating patterns that have been passed down in the womb. Can you tell us about that?

[03:47] Rosalba: Exactly!

[03:48] Well, yes, my work as a hypnotherapist slash shamanic practitioner slash reiki teacher, it’s been about healing the past so that people can have a better life. All that embraces generational healing. We carry a lot of the past wounds from our ancestors, from, you know, probably seven generations, if not more.

[04:12] Uh, so whatever happened in the past, a person has been carrying it. Well that’s when I come in. When the person is ready. And I help them heal with all the tools and and practices that I have at my disposal. I help them heal from their past so that they can have a better life and therefore offer a better life to those around them.

[04:34] Paulette: So this is where there’s an interesting intersection, because what you’re helping people do will also carry forward, correct?

[04:42] Rosalba: Absolutely. And that’s the whole idea.

[04:45] Paulette: Right, to future generations. So I have never asked you this question. We have never had this conversation. What is it like to have a child who does not themselves want to have children?

[04:57] Rosalba: That’s perfectly okay with me.

[04:59] Paulette: Okay.

[05:00] Rosalba: What is it like from a mother’s point of view? Well, I’ll tell you, let me retrace back. One of the questions was what were your expectations as a mother about becoming a grandmother? And uh, I was reflecting on that and going back and really examining my motherhood years, I never really expected to become a grandmother.

[05:21] I never had that expectation. I never saw my children having children. Now, I wanted my children to have a fulfilling life, to, to explore and enjoy life to its max and explore their everything. I didn’t know how to put it in worse when I was younger, but this is what it was about. The fact that, uh, later on in life, two of the boys made me a grandma, that is wonderful and I love the grandkids. But I also, I am very, very serious and with much intent from a place of love to respect, revere, and honor those who are not here to have children.

[06:03] Paulette: How much of your work as a hypnotherapist, a shamanic practitioner, do you think has informed your view of that?

[06:09] Or was this something that you’ve had from the beginning?

[06:12] Rosalba: I probably had it from the beginning. But I it became clear, very clear after I went through my own inner healing to ma to discover who I was and why was I here on planet Earth and what was my service to humanity. After all of that was when I became aware that that’s right.

[06:36] Not everybody is here to bear children, and we have to respect and honor those people who aren’t. Because you have a reproductive system, uh, in that center of creation in your body. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s to be used to create other lives. But to have creativity, to expand your, your creations, you become a maker and you, uh, are fulfilling a lot of your, your aspects of your life from exploring your, your creativity.

[07:09] Paulette: One of the, uh, women I interviewed this season, Talia, whose episode I’ll link down below in the show notes, she also makes the reference in our conversation that she does other types of mothering. It wasn’t that what was born of her womb. She guides and mentors and mothers a community that, that she created.

[07:32] And it’s like motherhood to the next degree. So, you know, I feel like there’s also a lot of division in groups of mothers where like, you know, one woman is, is more of a mother if she gave birth naturally versus C-section and all of these other weird boundaries and bullshit.

[07:53] I hope you never subscribed to that.

[07:55] Rosalba: Oh, oh, oh, but I was the subject of that was when you were, uh, a toddler. I had an acquaintance whose, uh, baby girl was just a few months younger than you. She referred to something very similar. “I gave birth naturally. I’m better. I’m a, I’m a better woman, or a better mother,” or something to that effect.

[08:16] Paulette: So my mom had a lot more to say there, but I had to cut her off for the sake of my own sanity and the sanity of her other kids and her grandkids. Because let me tell you what she said would make you blush if it was your mother. And probably would make you blush just hearing it this time. Let’s just suffice to say my mom’s got a mouth on her.

[08:34] So if you were wondering where I got mine from, question answered.

[08:38] My overarching goal with especially this season of the podcast, but the podcast in general, is to just normalize that childfree people exist and we are not what we are portrayed in the media. We are not bitter, we are not sullen, we are not unfulfilled, and we are not weird because all of those things can apply to people, whether or not they have children.

[08:59] That is not the box that we fit in. Childfree people exist. We live completely fulfilled lives. And it doesn’t have to be an us versus them situation with us on one side and parents on the other.

[09:13] Rosalba: You are quite right there. Not everybody is born to have children. And from the the spiritual perspective, we all have a purpose and mission.

[09:23] And for childfree people, that’s the norm. Let’s normalize that because they have some endeavors that they have to fulfill that are connected and in alignment to what they are meant to do in this lifetime. And it doesn’t mean that they have to have children in order to to create.

[09:42] Paulette: So here’s an interesting question that came from the community.

[09:45] How do you navigate loving your children the same when one has children and the other doesn’t. They wanted to look at it from, from attention, like the attention that you give each individual child, and how you leave things in your will.

[09:59] Rosalba: The answer to that is my children are individual people. They both have very different life missions and they each follow a path of their own.

[10:11] This includes being a parent or not, and I love, respect, and honor that in each one of them. Not everybody was born to bear children. Let’s keep that in our mind. Let it settle in the middle of your brain. From the attention to how I leave things to them in my will, uh, you’ll be happy to know that my will will state that there’s a collection of China cups, photographs of your childhood, and a collection of miniature unicorns.

[10:44] When I’m gone, there’s no money, but there are those three things in abundance. So you can take that in what whatever you want, and what you don’t want, you can take to the Goodwill.

[10:56] Paulette: That’s hilarious. For this person individually, what we see play out sometimes is that an estate is divided instead of equally among the first generation of heirs, so like me and my two brothers, I would get a smaller portion based on the fact that they have two additional heirs so to speak. So it would be divvied out based on the number of children. Now, I’m not here to give tax advice, and I think that sometimes that is understood as favoring the people with children versus the people without children.

[11:32] Rosalba: Personally, personally, I find that kind of harsh, so it, I don’t subscribe to that. And I don’t know much about the tax and all of that. But I’ll say this, the three of you are my children, and whether or not you have children, the grandchildren are not my responsibility. But I will leave, if I had a lot of money. I will leave one third for each.

[11:56] For each of my children. You can give your children or your nieces or your nephews or whatever, whatever they want, but I will do this for my children. One third equally.

[12:09] Paulette: The question leads to, can you put a value on my love for you?

[12:14] Rosalba: There is no value to whether you have children or not.

[12:18] There is value in my love for you. That’s period, that’s that’s the end of it. There is no, “Oh, you didn’t make me a grandma. No. You don’t get enough.” No, there’s none of that. I don’t subscribe to any of that mindset.

[12:32] Paulette: Let’s talk about people who do then, because the next set of questions came from people who have encountered, or in their reality, have unsupportive parents. And it’s heartbreaking when one feels like they have disappointed their parents. I can speak from experience to that. Not in this situation. I don’t feel like I disappointed you by not having kids, but I know that, you know, there were expectations placed on me and I didn’t go to the school I was expected to, and things of that nature.

[13:01] And you know, were past it. But I know what that feels like. So for the person asking this question, they feel like they’re disappointing their parent. What would you say to a parent, if you had the opportunity to talk to them about this?

[13:16] Rosalba: Let me tell you. Yes, I do understand. And yes, I do have friendly advice from the bottom of my heart:

[13:24] Parents out there, this is not about you. You did not have children to make you a grandparent. Stop putting a burden on your children to bear babies, and I’m very serious about that. Now, mind you, I was raised by my grandmother and I’m a grandmother. And I, I love it, but more than anything is my respect for those people who are not here to bear children, and who the heck are we to make them feel less than who they are?

[13:57] Now, I’m talking this way because I know that everybody has a purpose and a mission. But if there are people out there who are putting pressure on their children because they decided that they’re going to go childfree, there’s no reason for you to make them feel less of what they are, of who they are. That is horrible.

[14:20] Paulette: I had to cut out a lot of the next part because her statement here literally made me cry. I was a little too emotional for a moment, and you don’t need to hear my sniffles coupled with the covid I had at the time. But since we had never talked about it, I didn’t realize how deep her feelings went on this topic.

[14:37] So for all of you childfree people out there without supportive parents, you can borrow mine if you need them. But also maybe send them this specific part of the episode. And you’re probably still gonna hear me sniffle a little here now and then.

[14:50] Like I said, I don’t think that my experience has been the norm. I mean, I’m not the only one in our family who doesn’t have kids, and I’m not the only one in this generation or the generation before me.

[15:00] And I thank the people who came before me for that. And I hope that for the people who come after me, for nieces, nephews, their friends and whatever, that if they feel they don’t want kids, that they can point to us, their aunt and uncle and and the cousins before us to say, “Well, they were happy. I can do that too.”

[15:18] But I also did not know that you felt so strongly about this. Like I said, we’ve never talked about it,

[15:23] Rosalba: Right. Because again, uh, like I said in the beginning, I never had the, I never really thought about seeing my children as parents. So I wanted my children to have an education and to have life experiences, to feel great and to live a joyful life and plentiful life.

[15:41] So I, perhaps earlier on, I didn’t know how to verbalize that. But taking these questions into considerations, it was a journey through the past to check the markers at my life of what my perception was as a mother or, uh, as, um, future grandmother perhaps. And the thoughts were never there. I just wanted my children to be happy and fulfilled.

[16:10] And so when I became a grandmother, of course, you know, I was gaga all, all over our sweetheart granddaughter, but, and then every child has been quite different and, and there’s a connection I just like with my children and all of that. But more than anything else is I am aware of what everyone of you has brought to life, to our lives and how much I have learned by your decisions to become who I am today. So, uh, when you guys decided you didn’t wanna have children, it’s like, yeah, it’s okay.

[16:47] Paulette: So the next question, to follow up to that is, for people who had it in their heads that they were going to be grandparents, that they envisioned this spectacle in their minds where they’re retired and they have grandkids to play with and things of that nature, and that that’s not going to be the reality because of their children’s choices or circumstances.

[17:07] How do you help them through that? What can you say to them to help them let go of that idea?

[17:14] Rosalba: Right. Well, maybe there is a, a reason why they feel like that, that is embedded from the past in them. So we will do some therapy to clear all of that because really you can become a grandmother to anybody. You don’t have to have biological grandchildren, blood grandchildren.

[17:33] My oldest son is my stepson and he was the first one who made me a grandmother. And I love those grandchildren as if they were my blood, but they’re not. But there is no, no separation. There is no, you know, nothing defines that they’re different because they’re not blood. I love those grandchildren as my own blood as the other two, but that is my situation and I honor it and I’m very grateful.

[18:00] But if I didn’t have any grandchildren, so what? And this is what I would tell person that feels bad about not becoming a grandmother. That this is the time of their lives. This is the time that they can dedicate to themselves so that they can achieve and fulfill the things that perhaps they couldn’t do while they were raising their own children.

[18:23] Look at themselves, take care of themselves. Do everything that needs to be done that you couldn’t do before. And do the crazy adventures, take trips if you can. Do everything that fulfills you. So this is a time for you. This is the me time. You have done all your work. You were a young bride, you were a mother, and now that you are in your approaching your elder years, it’s time for you.

[18:54] Uh, men and women go through the threshold to become the elders. Gray hairs are, uh, the crowns of your wisdom. So this is a time for you to dedicate, to polish you, to fulfill you. There’s no reason that you should be thinking that you need grandchildren to feel fulfilled. That’s what, uh, history has told us, and for some of us, uh, that is wonderful.

[19:23] For some of us, if we don’t have grandchildren by any of our own children, that’s okay. It is okay. And if I didn’t have any children, guess what? I will do all the things that I wanted to do when I was younger. Right? And that would be probably travel the world, uh, but also be of service to all those children that may need a grandparent figure out there in the world.

[19:49] You can embrace and they can embrace you back, and you can receive that love. Again to receive that fulfillment of becoming or playing the grandparent, it doesn’t have to be blood related. If you are coming from authenticity, from authentic love. Most of my teachers and mentors don’t have children because all of us students were their children.

[20:15] I have many, many children in community because I help in communities. I’m of service to communities. I, I share my work to better people’s lives. And I’m talking about youngsters too. You know, those little people, young people that need a grandparent figure. So, there’s no end as how you can fulfill your own life.

[20:39] But if you are going through life, feeling victimized by your children not giving you grandchildren, that is not cool. And uh, it’s going to set you to go down a very adverse pathway where you feel unfulfilled, where you feel that your kids betrayed you. And this is all victim hood mentality. So it, it’s coming from some wounds that occured to you in the past.

[21:09] And so I would say, you know, look at those. Heal those and you will see that your perspective will change. And you’ll stop harassing your kids about giving your grandchildren. And, on the contrary, you’ll learn to appreciate and be grateful for who they are and how they’re moving in their lives. Again, not everybody was born to be a parent.

[21:31] That is the absolute truth.

[21:33] Paulette: So let’s talk about what your non grandparenting life looks like.

[21:37] Rosalba: I love reading, nature walks, museum visits, and learning about other cultures. I get fascinated by other cultures, by looking at people. I realized a couple of years ago that all my life I was a people watcher because I wanted to see how people, uh, about people’s behaviors and look what I do for a living, right?

[22:03] So I also love to teach indigenous traditions to people, to keep those traditions alive because they do help us have a better chance at life. That’s what I love doing, and of course, you know, hanging, hanging out with my family.

[22:20] Paulette: There is something that childfree people are forced to play called Childfree Bingo. And you know how bingo is? You know I 22, G 14.

[22:30] Rosalba: Right.

[22:31] Paulette: And you mark a place on your card. When it comes to Childfree Bingo, these are the things that we are told so consistently that it’s like filling out a bingo card. We can predict that people will say these things to us if they disagree with our not having children. As if it’s anybody else’s business, first of all.

[22:50] Rosalba: Right, right.

[22:51] Paulette: But the common ones are, it’s different when it’s your own. Or how would you know if that you won’t be a good parent if you don’t have kids? Why are you getting married if you don’t wanna have children? Who’s gonna take care of you when you’re older? You, you don’t know true love until you have the love of a child.

[23:08] You know? All these are all bingos because they’re all so pervasive. Oh, oh, the one I’ve been getting of late, and it only happens a few times because I think people know better than to question me on this is, well, plenty of older women have children nowadays too. If I wanted to have children, I wouldn’t have waited till I was 44 to have kids.

[23:29] Rosalba: Right, right.

[23:30] Paulette: So in the face of that, for people who have to deal with that on a consistent basis, especially from relatives, what do you say to people who have to deal with that? How would you arm people on both sides of that argument? How would you arm childfree people to better respond and how, what would you say to the nosy relatives and people who think they have a place to say anything about it?

[23:53] Rosalba: For the nosy people, I would say this, people mind your own business! Stop expecting your children to make you a grandparent. Have you thought about that they came to this world with a purpose and mission, that it doesn’t involve having children? Respect their situation and decisions. And then I would give them my card to come and see me for healing those outdated, horrible, patriarchal mindset belief systems. Because you can know love by not having children too, and I can teach you how to do that!

[24:30] Paulette: I, I will have a link to work with you in the show notes for anyone who needs to either suggest this to their parents or who themselves is finding themselves in a situation where their own kids are disappointing them by not making them grandparents or anything in between.

[24:46] Rosalba: And for the young people that decided to go childfree in this lifetime: honey, set your boundaries. First of all, there’s nothing wrong with how you decided to be, to embody and to do in life. Remember, you have a greater mission than a nosy relative saying dumb things. And so for a grandparent, uh, stop expecting your children to give you children because after all, the cost of living is really, really high.

[25:19] And, uh, there are too many children in the world that need our love. So go and get yourself a dog. You know, pets, uh, elicit unconditional love. So if you want to be in that situation, you don’t necessarily need a grandchild. But if you want to make another human being, uh, feel special, go to a, a place where you can lend your arms, your time, your caring to those children that need a grandparent.

[25:48] There are many ways to give your love, your grandparenting love.

[25:55] Paulette: Can we talk about your favorite grandchild?

[25:57] Rosalba: I don’t have favorite grandchildren for the thousandth time!

[26:03] Paulette: His name is Chewy and he is a three year old dog.

[26:06] Rosalba: Oh yeah, Chewy. Cause my daughter is a photographer and I know better than to post children’s pictures on social media, well, I can get away with Chewy. Other grandmas are posting pictures of their grandchildren. Well, I post pictures of the dog. And Chewy gets me a lot of likes! At this stage in my life, this little four-legged furry guy just opened up another dimension in my heart that I, it was unknown to me. That’s what I’m saying.

[26:37] You don’t need to have grandchildren to know unconditional love and the joy that comes from it. Because you, you give freely is completely unconditional, completely authentic, and it comes from from the center of your heart. And how do you do that? Well, I have many practices to teach you that.

[26:58] Paulette: In a follow up discussion with my mom, I mentioned another bingo we get about how we’re wasting functioning uteruses. Her take on that stupid bingo was enlightening.

[27:09] Rosalba: But the womb is to create. It’s a creative center where you create, and those are your children. You don’t necessarily have to have babies.

[27:17] Paulette: That’s perfect because, uh, the last two interviews before yours, both women talked about their creative power centers. And one of the really, uh, frustrating bingos is you have a perfectly functioning uterus that you should use. But the answer is, we are all creative people. So we are using our creative centers.

[27:42] Rosalba: Absolutely.

[27:43] Paulette: Just not to birth babies.

[27:46] Rosalba: Right. From the holistic perspective, guess what? Your uterus is not healthy and set for children. Now we know that the womb carries all the memories of years and years and years that came from your ancestors. For thousands of years carrying the wounded emotions that every ancestor went through. So before you even, anybody even thinks about having children, get therapy and clean your womb of the ancestral wounding.

[28:18] Paulette: The generational trauma.

[28:20] Rosalba: Generational trauma.

[28:21] Paulette: Which men carry as well, right about not having a physical womb?

[28:26] Rosalba: Absolutely! And, and for those people who don’t believe in past lives, I honor you, but let me tell you: a man could have been a woman in a past life and still carries the luminous field of the uterus of that lifetime.

[28:38] Okay? Also, we all come from the womb, so we all, men and women, carry all those that ancestral or generational trauma, yes.

[28:50] Paulette: Well, mom, thank you so much for your time today. Thank you for sharing all of this, and on behalf of all of my friends and my childfree community, a lot of them expressed gratitude for you having this conversation and for helping them work through these difficult conversations with their own parents. Parents who aren’t as supportive as you are. So thank you for that.

[29:10] Rosalba: You’re very welcome. And these were all very, uh, wonderful questions. So I hope I did, uh, leave you with a different mindset now. But remember, boundaries. Boundaries. Nobody, nobody, not even your sweet old grandmother is supposed to affect you by making you feel less than who you are. You are here with a mission and a purpose, and it doesn’t involve children, and that is okay. Let’s normalize that.

[29:39] Paulette: Thanks mom. So you know how we end each of these episodes?

[29:43] Rosalba: That’s a burrito.

[29:45] Paulette: Wanna talk about this week’s episode?

[29:47] Feel free to DM me on Instagram. My info is always in the show notes. And if you’re looking to be a guest in the future for The Maker Muse Podcast, check out the guest form on my website at themakermuse.co. Yes, themakermuse.co. It’s also linked in the show notes.

[30:03] And hey, muchisimas gracias for listening to another episode of The Maker Muse Podcast! Are you subscribed? If not, now would be a great time to do that. New episodes come out every Tuesday. I’m on Apple, on Spotify, wherever you listen. And then can I ask you a favor? Could you please tell all of your friends and family about it? ¿Sus amigues, su familia? Because if you love it, they probably will too.

[30:27] And I’d really appreciate it if you could rate and review it wherever you’re listening right now. ¡Hasta la proxima!

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