16 May 2017

I am a woman. This means it is highly likely I have ovaries, a uterus and a vagina. Together these enable my body to create a cellular change that is able to grow into a baby. This ability to create, support and give life does not make me stupid. It makes me powerful.

If I choose not to have a child or children it is my choice. If I decide to focus on my career you will know because chances are I will excel and you won’t be able to not notice my success.

If I choose to have a child or children and a demanding career you can be certain there is at least one person if not more in my life doing support work. Without them I could not succeed. After all children do not raise themselves.

If I choose to have a child or children and to make my family my focus and not the public sphere, this too is my choice. This makes me neither selfish nor selfless. I’ve simply decided the most important contribution I can make to the world is to raise its next generation.

Just like some of us prefer chocolate ice cream over vanilla but will settle for vanilla if chocolate is not available, some of us will focus on our careers if family is not an option and some of us will focus on our families if careers are not an option. Sometimes the choice is made for us and we will have to focus on our careers to take care of our families. And sometimes we will have to let go of our careers to take care of our families.

When we accept these truths we acknowledge the complexity of women’s lives. When we respect one another’s choices we build a more comprehensive and accurate definition of what it means to be a woman. From this place of mutual support we can build pretty much anything.

For my mom who taught me well (1.17.1926-2.16.2017).

Comments (0)

  1. Susan Meertens

    There is no right or wrong choice, but oh the angst so many women sludge through to find their right path. It will benefit both genders when we all realize the joint responsibilites, joys and challenges of both child and childless life. Good to be reminded how tough, but lovely, choice is.
    And thanks to your mom for a lesson well taught.

    1. Tim Melanson

      Well put. Perhaps our struggle to find the right path is also part of our life story. Growth and new beginnings are work and they frequently require struggle. I think that makes those moments when we feel good in our lives all the more special. i agree choice can be tough but there is little doubt in my mind that being able to choose is in itself a gift.

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