I have always gotten along and loved children. I have worked with them throughout my career starting at age 15 working at a summer camp. Today I went to Sonoma to enjoy my wine club and the momentary sun among the severe weather lately in Northern CA. Noir always serves as a great icebreaker who was raised to be a non-medical service dog which means he can take tugs, pulls, and loves children. Today a little boy took a special liking to me. He must have been 7-8, but had no hesitation starting a convo with me. His parents tried to pull him back but I re-assured them that it was ok that he wanted to spend time with myself and my dog. He was well manored and very interested in Noir. We had a conversation about Noir's food interests and his sociability. Also, the girls in the group spent time snuggling and petting Noir. The parents were intensly thankful for the time I spend with their children while I had an awesome respect for the fact that they brought their kids with them wine tasting.
So I took a step back. I have lived in a world where I was shown that I, as a woman, had to give everything I had worked for and believed in to have children. This is not the context in other countries who actually provide services and support mothers. I live in a country where I have to give up my livelihood to have children. My business, my passion, and everything that defines me no longer matters. I'm told I won't know love until I have a child. I will not have value as a woman until I have a child. There is so much more to me than that.
I am an amazing woman. I know that. Children will not complete me or make me feel like more of a woman. That being said I love children. While I have a serious fear about having little versions of me running around i'm willing to take the risk...with the perfect partner.
Research shows that if most people actually financially planned for children they would never do it. Because having children is not only a huge financial investment at face, there is an inevitable career sacrifice and unless you are in an ideal situation you will be hard pressed to accommodate a child.
And this bring me to my next point; bearing children with the ideal partner. It is clear that I am unwilling to sacrifice when searching for a partner. I fundamentally refuse to have children without a partner who can truly meet me half way. This does not mean financially taking care of me while I sacrifice my life, it means sharing 50/50 the child bearing experience. Obviously I understand that I have to make the physical commitment to bear children which is the most dangerous thing a woman can do, but I need someone who will show up for me during that process. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this is not the norm in the US and unfortunately we live in a nation that is very unfriendly to having children. There are many examples internationally where woman are actually supported in the child bearing process.
Outside of being wealthy, having children in the US is quite stressful. We have little to no support as women and current legislative decisions are only making this worse. If you are not a wealthy woman having children will literally make you lose your ass, and that is an understatement even for those not living with a dual income.I have to mention at this point that I AM STILL a huge advocate for adoption and still do not feel a huge push toward carrying children..
My conclusion actually ends the same as it did before. Having children will in no way define who I am as a woman. I would love to have them but only under ideal circumstances. If that never happens for me, I will be ok. I refuse to let society tell me where to find my value. I have ovaries, and they work, but that is not how I will be defined. I am powerful, impactful, and nothing will stop that.
All I can do is encourage people, women, to make your own decisions. You are no less of a woman if you don't get married or don't have children. We are powerful and amazing. Our biological or social inclinations do not define us.