March 3, 2011 by Stacy McDonald

“Why I Walked Away from Being a Mom”

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Author, Reiko Rizzuto, left her family, her husband and two small children, to study in Japan. While she was away, she decided she didn’t want to be married any longer, and began to also question her desire to be a mother.

Watch this heartbreaking testimony – the epitome of a self absorbed life…


Notice how Argie Allen, Director of Clinical Training from Drexel University, sat and affirmed Ms. Rizzuto’s decision, while the wayward mother nodded in thankful agreement.

I did agree with psychiatrist Gail Saltz when she said that “both parents” should be present and emotionally involved with their children. However, the way Ms. Rizzuto wants to redefine motherhood (and parenting in general) would destroy the security, love, and confidence that every child needs to thrive – it unravels the very fiber of family and leaves children (and parents) emotionally sick and vulnerable.

The following quote from Ms. Rizzuto represents the primary problem with her life (Galatians 2:20). However, we should all examine her words and ask God to show us areas where this attitude may be harming our own effectiveness as wives and mothers.

When asked if things would have been different had she stayed with her family, Ms. Rizzuto said:

I think I was very caught up in the life I was in, and I might not have looked up and it might have taken me many years to say, ‘Whoa – I did that thing that I didn’t want to do , which was give up my life…for someone else.’ – Reiko Rizzuto (emphasis mine)

The Outworking of Love

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:16–18)


One thing we all need to remember is that we are EACH capable of exactly what this woman did. It is only by God’s Grace that he has inclined our hearts to home.

This woman has been deceived by her own sin and by a culture (and a weakened Church) that fails to call selfishness sin. We should take it as a warning, not as an opportunity to say, “Thank you that I am not like…” I must remember my own propensity to live selfishly, and to put myself before others.

9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.

12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’

13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9–14)

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35 Responses to ““Why I Walked Away from Being a Mom””

  1. Stacy, I want to be angry at this woman but all I can feel is sorrow, for her and her “family”. Abandoning your family is sinful and then to justify it on national television and have other women affirm it is shameful. Our wonderful Lord “gave up his life for someone else” and the arrogance of her statement amazes me. The national media and feminists, I am sure, are applauding her. We as women must understand our God given roles and grow in them . Thank you for taking the time to ask us to seek the Lord and see His will in our roles of wife and mother.

    Blessings, Tracylea

  2. Renee says:

    Mixed emotions over that video, I don’t know if I should be sad or mad. Both ways, this video didn’t bring any positive emotions!!!

    Now, I wonder how many discontent mothers and wives will read her book and say, “Well, I lost who I was to be there for them, it’s time for me-time!!!” Scary thought!!!

  3. Dawn says:

    Oh my. Yes, praise the Lord that He wasn’t too selfish to lay down His life for another. I also found it interesting how many times the word “judge” was used. Isn’t it ironic that we use that word the most when we know we are sinning or approving of sin? It doesn’t matter who judges her, the fact is that she will stand before a Holy God, who said there IS one way to raise a child…His way. I see this type of thing on mothering forums all the time. I just thank the Lord for my little guy and pray that He helps me to not have a selfish heart too, because I often do.

  4. Anna says:

    This video is shocking… to a young mom who is really giving the best years of my life right now, to my little children… and finding such joy and contentment in it… And knowing how precious my babies are, that God has entrusted to my care, I just shake my head and wonder HOW a mother could walk away from it all, if she has any heart.

    Yet, thank you for the warning, to not become self-righteous over this. Because it’s a battle, especially on days where I’m weary, and discouraged, to start thinking thoughts of “what my life *could* be like, if I wasn’t married and had these children to care for”. Dreams of travel, adventure, money, even just a quiet clean house can easily captivate my mind. God has graciously given me the strength to fight these temptations with all my might, and they are nothing more than passing thoughts. But, as you cautioned, there, but for the grace of God, go I, as this woman has gone.

    Thanks for all you do for us wives and mothers.

  5. Mary says:

    It is a very sad story. She did a wicked thing. I’m not surprised though. We live in a sinful world. We’re all sinners. Christians are sinners, saved by grace. Where would I be without grace? I shudder to think of it. If God didn’t snatch me up, what kind of sin would I have gotten into? Now the Holy Spirit keeps me in check but I still sin.
    This woman needs a wise Christian friend who will love her, befriend her.
    “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10
    It’s easy to pile on. Easy to judge. We feel so much better about ourselves and our righteousness. The Pharisees were good at judging.
    Are we ready, with Jesus’ help, to reach out to ones who are sick in sin? I’ve been hearing too many stories from non-Christians about how self-righteous and judgmental Christians are. Shouldn’t they notice the love first? as we pray that God convicts them? or by our loving lives toward them that they are convicted. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God does the convicting. We should be praying for her.

  6. Mary says:

    I missed the “Warning”. It was a good one.

  7. Dan says:

    Please realize that during her GREAT AWAKENING in Japan, there was a man in New York who was growing in ways few could ever understand.

  8. Gabe says:

    I wanted to cry watching the video, not only for her and her family, but because this happens so often to varying degrees. I was so sad to see those other women agreeing with or supporting her choice, and to think of all of the women that were watching, and listening to the lies.

    Thank you for the warning! Yes, any one of us could so easily be deceived just as she was.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Just unbelievable. And people praise this? Woman, you have two children issued from your body; they should have the first claim on your heart.

  10. Darcy M. says:

    Oh, so sad. My heart was broken as I watched this. Thank you Lord for your grace and forgiveness. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see. Without the Lord, how easily could each one of us walk the same path as this woman? Let us pray for her and the rest of the world that God’s truth will be revealed.

  11. Danielle O. says:

    I had a similar response to this as when my aunt (unbeliever and feminist) took me to see Eat, Pray, Love. While she was raving about it, I was silent. When she finally asked me about it, all I could express was sadness that the woman gave up everything that was meaningful and still didn’t find the truth

  12. Sara says:

    I actually caught the tail end of this interview this morning and I heard the woman comment that she spent her time with her children without being distracted and checking emails. I thought “what a great reminder to me” to give my time to my son and resist the urge to spend hours reading or searching the internet.

    Little did I know that the woman who spoke this reminder had just been interviewed for essentially abandoning her family. I had no idea… but I feel that through this woman, God gave me the message I needed this morning, reminding me to focus on my family and keep computer time short.

    It’s beautiful the way He works.

  13. Stacy McDonald says:

    Yes, it is, Sara! And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

  14. Jennifer says:

    Danielle, the woman in that film is remarried and I think she does believe in God now. The film made it clear that her divorce was a mistake, and so were her constant relationships; this is what she wanted to leave behind.

  15. Julie says:

    The “redefining motherhood” is part of the attack on marriage and the family. Marriage is meant to be a picture of Christ and the church. When we redefine God given roles to suit what we think is best it can only leave a wake of destruction.
    How sad for her children to have their mother on TV and in her book saying she never wanted children and would rather do her own thing than be there to take care of them. Lots of women give the same message through their actions.
    It is a warning. It’s also a reminder of what a blessing each day of being a wife and mother is. What will we do with what He has given us?

  16. Colleen G. says:

    Being a wife and mother isn’t always awesome, wonderful or even tolerable sometimes. I too have felt that I lost something by choosing to walk this path. I regret what I lost but I do know this is what I was called to do. My health would have probably ended up lousy anyway. I can still be wife & mom in a less than optimal body but I could not have been a career driven woman on top of her game with my health being what it is. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

  17. RF says:

    I love you blog and appreciate the truth you are passing on. As sad as this video is I do see this at a lesser scale in the Christian community. It’s a constant tug of war…motherhood vs. “other callings.” Too often I hear Christian mothers saying “I know God has called me to (fill in the blank) for His glory and His purposes, it makes me sad that I can’t be home with my children full time.”

    I know this for sure!…If God has blessed you with Children, that is your full time calling! For some reason it seem mothers are confused on that? The bible paints a pretty clear picture of being a wife and mother.

    Love too what Sara said about keeping the computer time short. True and convicting!

    thanks again…passing the video on.

  18. Joy A. says:

    I find it interesting that the media and culture praise a woman who leaves her husband and her children and state that if that kind of motherhood is working for her that what she is doing is good. The world then looks down and attacks the mothers who want to home educate their children, want to teach their children Christian values, who want to be at home full-time to take care of their husbands and children.
    I feel sorrow for this woman’s husband and children. It is interesting that they did not interview the boy’s, I bet they would have an entirely different story from them.

  19. That really is so sad. I cannot imagine being so selfish to actually leave my family behind. Yes, Motherhood consumes you. It can be healthy though if you have a relationship with Christ.

  20. Emily says:

    Oh stuff like this makes me crazy! I think especially because it is so easy to be selfish. The last thing we need is for people say it is okay to do things like this. Where has the honor in our roles gone? What would happen to society if this becomes the norm???

  21. Adrienne says:

    I saw this also on the internet and it broke my heart as well. But the worst part of it all was the tone of the article, perhaps not applauding her decision but certainly not condemning it. I swear, the fabric of society is falling apart! I wanted to ask the author, if this was your mother, how many years of therapy do you think you would need??

  22. Amy P. says:

    Wow, that is so sad what that woman did. And a good wake up call and reminder that we need to fight against sin and selfishness in our own lives so we don’t fall into the same trap she did.

  23. Holly says:

    I actually read her book to get the whole story- to see what would drive a woman from her children. And I came to the same conclusion- she is motivated my selfishness.

    It should be said, though, that she didn’t just up and decide to leave. She and her husband got a divorce, and decided that the father would be the primary caregiver. The author moved down the street from her family and saw her boys every day.

    It does bring up an interesting argument: we are up in arms that this mother could “abandon” her children, but when our fathers leave- and often cease contact with their children- where is the outcry? (At least she is an emotional and financial support to her children, if only on a part-time basis.)

    As a mom of three boys, I now the bond between a mother and her young children is of utmost importance. As my boys get older, I see them clinging to their father more. While I am here for the day to day necessitires- helping with homework, making snacks and dinner, giving baths- dad is the one they go to for playtime, for confessional talks, for stories and lessons.

    There are so many more fathers abandoning their children than there are mothers.

    Where is our outcry?

  24. Alexia says:

    I grew up with just my dad (my mom died when I was only 1 1/2 yrs old); and while I’m sure its a little different for me being a girl…

    Well, I KNOW the deep pain and longing a little child faces knowing that your mom isn’t there.

    this just broke my heart… so sad.

  25. Shelly says:

    This story saddens me beyond what I can explain. My husband was similarly abandoned by his mother. He was raised by his father and step-mother from age two on. It is quite different than having a parent pass away… it is knowing that your mom (or dad) CHOSE to leave.

    He visited with his real mother throughout his childhood, but my wonderful, loving husband still feels like his own mother abandoned him. This author can continue to kid herself and say that the “quality” time spent with her boys is better than what she could have given otherwise, but I beg to differ… her actions have consequences that she has yet to realize. When those boys have children of their own it will open up a whole new set of issues.

    It sure doesn’t help to have a so-called “expert” sitting next to the author saying it’s all okay.

  26. The Mrs. says:

    This happened to my husband. His mother was a staunch feminist back in the 60’s and left her husband and two boys to pursue her life. She would see them once a month and give them the illusion that she was the Betty Crocker mom who “loved” them. Now that he is a grown man she has revealed her true colors by helping his ex-wife get custody of his children, breath man-hating feminism into his daughters and also help to cause “gender identity crisis” in his son after years of emasculating my husband.

    This woman has no idea (hopefully) just how far these implications will reach. She has no clue the amount of hurt it brings and the path of destruction that few see as wrong. As horrible as it sounds, most of us have at least one woman like this in our family tree that started those destructive seeds. It is up to us to make the decision not to partake of the generational track record.

  27. Jenny says:

    Well when you decide to have children, you have already made a decision to live for someone else. The children comes first, not yourself and your well-being.

    I have to disagree with your presumptions though. I can find just as many selfish people among the so-called Christians as the non-called Christians. Selfishness is a trait, not a culture.

  28. Crissy says:

    Wow, this breaks my heart. I hope to be a mom & have not been able to have children yet & when I see mom’s abandon their children it saddens me. I praise God I had a mom (& dad) that cared enough to raise me & my siblings together. They took their responsibility as parents seriously. I pray that God touches this woman’s heart.

  29. Jennifer says:

    Just to add some things to my thoughts on “Eat Pray Love”: the movie is good and you can learn a lot from it if you apply God’s wisdom. Sadly, the book shows that the author and main character did not learn; the book is full of many self-fulfilling, new age guru stuff and shows a very weak character in the author. She decided to leave marriage behind and planned to live with her last lover unmarried; they only married so they could return to America. Her thoughts about God are very messed up. The movie includes incredibly little new age stuff and never mentions her resolve to avoid marriage, so it is a good watch, but avoid the book and this woman’s deepest beliefs like the plague. I was very disappointed.

  30. Jeff Cummings says:

    This rebellion began by Eve being tricked through her emotions and Adam capitulating way back in the garden and has now consumed what calls itself the church and American society. The devil’s tactics stay the same. It worked on her in the garden and now works on “hers” throughout America, what calls itself the church and the world.

    1 Timothy 2: 8-15

  31. Julie says:

    What this woman has done will adversely affect her poor children for the rest of their lives. Women – and couples – need to seriously, seriously consider marriage and parenthood because once you marry or have children, your life is no longer your own. I’m thankful that I always knew motherhood was not for me. It’s nothing to take lightly.

  32. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Julie,

    You said:

    Once you marry or have children, your life is no longer your own

    Whether or not I have children, and whether or not I choose marriage, if I claim Christ, I must admit that my life is not my own. The answer is not to avoid marriage or the blessing of children; the answer is to surrender our lives to Christ and to stop living for ourselves.

    “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

  33. Julie says:

    I’m an atheist, so we’re not going to agree on that point. I found your site while searching for information on Ms. Rizzuto’s story. I personally don’t know what it feels like to want children, but I’m sure we can agree that that is something one must consider carefully before embarking on that path. I think any reasonable person would find Ms. Rizzuto’s selfishness abominable.

  34. Marie says:

    Although it is an incredibly sad situation and it will have numerous effects, a desire to protect your self or being “selfish” is not sinful. The sin is not trusting in God in everything.

    I can relate to this lady. I do not have children. I am infertile. I am working on it correcting it. I want children now. I am 35. I could not have had children before now b/c I had way too much internal baggage to deal with. Even though I have been a Christian most of my life, more so as an adult, God did not flip a switch in me when I gave my life to Him. It’s a process. I think there is enormous pressure in our society that says women have to be everything; wife, mother, career woman, impossibly beautiful, etc, and they/we are criticized for anything less. Yes, being self absorbed is sinful. Not being able to give all of oneself is not. Is this woman a Christian? If not, she cannot be expected to act in a Christian manner. None of us know her entire life and what led to her decisions, even if some people have read her book. It’s a book and the reader will interpret it through their own experiences.

    Instead of picking other people’s lives to display as being a wrong way to live, why don’t you give examples of the deficiencies in your own life as examples of sin. I’m sure all of us have plenty.

  35. Phoenix Reign says:

    As a husband of a Walk away Wife..let me tell you it is painful to explain this to your wife of 22 years walk away twice once for 6 months and now its been a year and 6 months missing Christmas Birthdays Graduations and etc..she had the audacity to say that she was denied her life because of marriage and children who are now 15 17 20 and they are like here we go again mom cheating smh..I met her and raised her son and we had 4 other children she just said that she is done and doesn’t want to be married any more..and she says that she is at peace..she has no remorse at all..the first time she left it was for many men 4 differ ant men intimate 2-3 times with each ..second time cheated with a woman that blew up in her face after knowing the woman 1 am announces in front of my kids that she loves this woman more than she loves me of 22 years…they both left in 1 month it didn’t work out ..she left her and has been gone over a year..and we all are amazed at the lack of remorse regret and pride..I’ve been embarrassed to my core as a man.. she only text the kids never calls and acts as though all is okay…very selfish…how do you just up and quite a marriage because you feel like you missed out on life the enemy is very busy I hate it but I’m filing for divorce as a Christian I don’t believe in Divorce but this is not healthy oftentimes I ask God do you want me to hang in there or what..I feel like Hosea married Gomer..

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