The Significance of Women
For the past 3 years I have been doing something that represents everything my family always told me I would never do once I chose to have children.
I am following my dreams to work as a travel blogger. Yes, the work requires that I travel. A lot. Sometimes, not with my kids or husband in tow.
But I love what I do and I have my family’s full support and admiration.
Yet, every so often, I think back at the time before I had children and the many words I grew up listening to, even from my beloved mother herself:
“Once you have children, your life is no longer yours. You can no longer hold on to personal dreams and desires because your children will and should always come first.”
As I got “older” – which for Latinos is about 23 – the pressure was on to get married and have children.
Once a single mom, the pressure to marry and have even more children was ever present, at one point leading my father to question if I was gay because I showed no interest in the prospect of marriage and had no male partner in my life.
Now, happily married with three boys, the question remains when I plan on having the girl.
I never told anyone that for the longest time I lived not wanting to have any children at all – and my greatest romantic ambition was to have lovers that I might’ve met as I travelled the world (note: traveling was always on the list).
But not getting married, and worse yet, not having children would’ve put to question the very purpose of my existence. What then, if not to breed, was the point of my being?
I never struggled with this notion, though granted, I didn’t need to as I got pregnant relatively young in life.
But there are many more women out there who are fulfilling their life choice to not have children, or marry, or both. Not because they are selfish or cruel, unemotional or cold, unable to give love or exude warmth, disconnected with their sexuality or womanhood. But simply because they choose not to reproduce in the same way many of us choose to not reproduce in various stages of our lives.
It is sad that so very few in society help to compliment the beauty and strength in what is individual choice. One only needs to listen to Republicans as of late to know that society has very set rules and ideas of what a woman is and should be – what it defines as her significance.
But even I, as a married mother of three, reject the status quo set before me and I admire those women who stand firmly by their convictions to lead their lives not as others have told them to, but as they have chosen. It takes courage to go against the grain to be the happiest you can be.
So when people ask me, sometimes with a hint of judgment, how it is that I manage to travel so often, and question (my, oh my!) who stays with the kids, I hold my head up high and without a hint of self doubt, sadness, or lack of self confidence I answer them. I am living out my life’s dream and I apologize to no one for it.
With that, I am the representation of what a woman is and can be: beautiful and strong, confident and sure. I give life, not in having children, but through story telling. I am a passionate, sexual, humble, proud, sensitive, strong, complex being full of emotions, thoughts, and ideas in a way that no man can ever be or will ever fully understand. I don’t fit in a box, and there is no mold that helped shape me.
The significance of a woman is not the purpose of her uterus or in the will of her sexuality. It is not in the life partner she stands beside, if at all. The significance and value of a woman is whatever she – and no one else - chooses them to be.
My life is not my children’s just as much as their life is not mine. My worth wasn’t born with them nor does it define my entire self.
Ignore those who make you doubt your significance and value as a woman.
Every time I step on a plane and look out above the skies I am reminded of the many things I was told I could never be yet I live out every day with fulfillment and joy in my heart.
I said goodbye to the many years of searching for validation as a woman in the eyes of others because I have learned validation comes from within.
This is the case for every woman. Children and marriage need not apply.
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