Something has been on my heart recently. It’s about those missed windows of opportunity that occur in a woman’s life. I grew up in a feminist household so until maybe the last 10 years or so, I believed a lot of the propaganda. Now, I believe some of it and some I dismiss as damaging. Let me explain.
I believe that women should earn as much as a man for equal work, no question about that. I believe that women should get an education and should pursue their passions, buying property and handling money. I am in no way a woman who believes a woman should be at home or a subservient.
That being said, I know so many women who have pursued their dream career only to find themselves in their mid to late thirties and just meeting that man of her dreams. Marrying him, she is approaching 40 when her baby hunger arrives. Frustrated, heart-broken and thousands of dollars later, she is desperate to have a child. Only what has happened is, that she has traded her child bearing days for the corporate ladder and now time has run out. Medicine has tried to keep up but it’s not as successful as we’d like to believe.
There are windows of opportunity in a woman’s life. There is time in a young woman’s life where she is finishing college and heading into her career. She is becoming who is supposed to be and hopefully finding her lifelong spouse. This is a window of opportunity.
There is time in her late-20’s and her 30’s to grab hold of that baby hunger and raise her children. There is nothing wrong or sad about a woman who takes a time-out to do this for herself and her family. I think we demean a woman who chooses to do this and I believe that it is her right to choose for herself what she’d like to do in this season of her life.
Then there is the time in her early 40’s where she once again pursues her passions for herself. This is where the burden comes in for me. I’ve met many women who are in this season of their life and they are only getting started on marriage and family. Unfortunately, for many, their window of opportunity for a child or four has come and gone. We can’t fight nature. I’ve hugged them as they cried because tests have shown that they no longer are in the stage of their life where a baby is possible naturally. I’ve seen their eyes as they explain that they were always told that they could get fertility treatments and have a child. Only fertility treatments are expensive and not always as successful as we’d like to think. There are seasons in a woman’ life and sometimes opportunities are missed.
I think we’ve been told that a woman can do anything a man can do. Sometimes that’s true and sometimes it’s not. A man can have children in old age, a woman can’t. Instead of thinking that her body has betrayed her, we must teach our daughters that we have moments that must be grabbed in life. We must teach that career is not the only enrichment in life and that one day, we’ll look up from our work, to discover that we’ve missed out on some things that we’d like to have. Let’s begin to talk about this.