Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Real World Wednesday

In Defense of Motherhood

Women can do and be anything.

We can be astronauts or not.

We can be doctors or lawyers or not.

We can teach, sing, dance, run for president, run a major corporation, run a marathon.

Women can also do one major thing that men cannot (and will not ever) do.

Women can be mothers.

I've heard the complaints about how it's Hollywood causing the "mom" craze. It's words like "MILF" and it's products like Prada knock-off diaper bags that let some women take up motherhood like a new hobby with all the accessories. The fact remains, though, that it is natural for a woman to want to have children (though if you don't want children, that doesn't make you somehow unnatural!). There is nothing Hollywood can say that will take away me wanting children.

I have wanted to be a mother since I realized it was something I could do.

Yes, my parents handed me dolls. But they didn't tell me to sit five of them down and discipline them.

Countless times over the years, I have heard that I am too young. Well, folks. I'm 27. I've graduated college. I've gotten a graduate degree. I've paid off my student loans. I am capable of holding down a job. I have medical benefits.

What else do I need to do to make other people stop saying I'm too young (not that it matters, as motherhood, for me, involves marriage, and that's a ways down the road).

No one says to my medical school friend, "Oh, J, you really should quit school and see the world before you become a doctor. You're much too young to be tied down."

Hollywood isn't telling me to be a mother. If anything, Hollywood is telling people not to commit to anything and to run around for ten years before "settling down" at 30 or 40 or 57. We've become a very selfish society. How dare you become a mother at 22! Or 25! Or, lately, gasp, 30! or at all!

What I want is for people to see their dreams come true. If your dreams include seeing your children graduate high school before you turn 60, well, what's wrong with that?

If a woman tells me she doesn't want to have children, I applaud her for making that statement out loud and for holding true to it. I have several friends who will not have children. Good. If you don't want children, don't have them. I don't run around trying to convince those who don't want children that they'd better hurry up and get pregnant, so why do those who don't want children keep trying to get me to jump on their boat?

"Why do you want children? Oh, they're so much trouble."

"What are you going to do with children?!"

"Oh, you're so young. Wait a few years before you start worrying about having children."

I beg of all of you, women and men alike, respect the decisions women make, whether it be to become a mother or to simply enjoy life as an "auntie."

Why do I want children?

Because I do. Because I do believe that my finest career will be as a mother. Because I believe that I will make an excellent mother. Because I want to have children while I am young and energetic.

Because I know that I am meant to be a mother. What's wrong with that?


Bre said...

There is nothing wrong with that at all! This post is so incredibly powerful - I found myself nodding my head along with reading it! I recognize that I've still got a ways to go as far as getting myself stable enough career-wise to have a child, but I really would prefer to be a young mom, too!

Don't listen to the haters - do what's right for you!

Mrs. said...

"Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you.
Before you were here an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of life." Maureen Hawkins

Parchemina said...

That's funny that you find lots of people telling you not to have children. I find everyone (almost) assuming that I will have children when I don't want to! Thanks for understanding that :) I guess if we give everyone the benefit of the doubt, maybe those people you know are just suggesting that you should enjoy your life as a couple for a bit longer before you have children? And if they have children, I guess they are speaking from the experience that children do take a lot of time and love and energy (all of which you seem to have).

nancy said...

I didn't want children. I never thought I would have children. But, I always said that "I might feel differently later."

When I got pregnant (we were kind of "trying") I thought my life was over. I was so unhappy.

And then she came. And my life changed forever. And I could almost start crying right now because I love her so much. She is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

Your post is dead on that we need to respect each others choices, but I like your choice. Have kids. Have them early and often. Nothing is better. Nothing.

Sarah said...

Bre - thank you! It's always a struggle to stop caring what other people think or say.

Mama - thank you for you.

Parchemina - Maybe people are just contrary and judgmental...I suppose we all need to learn to live and love our own lives.

Nancy - Thank you for this. Actually, your comment brought tears to my eyes, and not many do that.