Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Opposite of "Opposite World"

For the last day or so I kept seeing this post about having babies {In Opposite World} pop up on my newsfeed. Everyone was captioning it with things like "This is so encouraging," "Wow, you must read this!" etc. Recognizing that it was a blog about having babies, I knew I didn't have to read it like other women out there, BUT I do always try to read things that will prepare me for the day that I, Lord willing (please!), get to have kids of my own. Not to mention that I've recently started to really pray about how God might be leading me into some form of pre-natal counseling in my social work career (but I'll save that post for later).Basically, if it says babies, I read it.

I can see how this viral blog post could be ever-so-encouraging to women who have lots of kids, or women who have kids young, but personally, well, it sent me into kind of an emotional tailspin. For all of her arguing about how it's such a great thing to have kids young and have as many as possible, she leaves out the fact that not everyone who doesn't have kids early chose for it to be that way.

I have already written about how desperately I want to be a mom, so I will let you refer back to that post if you really want to see why this made me so crazy, but I have a little bit to add after reading this woman's thoughts on it.

First of all, the blog discusses how society sends that message that you should "live your life first" and THEN have kids, that kids are an inconvenience, and that you shouldn't have that many. The truth is, this isn't universal, at least not in my experience. Where I grew up, the NORM was to have kids young. I thought people who didn't start until after they were 30 were, well, flawed - and selfish. ESPECIALLY if they were Christians - that was something the non-Christians did. People in Christian circles have kids early, duh. I had every intention of having a kid young and then having three or four to follow. I had their names all picked out, the whole deal. I was obsessed with shows like "A Baby Story," and "Adoption Stories." I wanted one or two kids that I'd birth myself, and about two more I'd adopt. This was the plan.

Then I moved to NYC, and I realized that not all people who wait until they are older to have kids are selfish and flawed. I know a whole lot of amazing people who are well-past the age I grew up thinking was the "norm" for having kids, and they are doing amazing things with their lives that would be impossible with kids of their own.  Many are teachers at exceptionally demanding schools. Some volunteer their afternoons and evenings helping the marginalized, or kids, or whomever.

"We live in a selfish culture where having children is a huge inconvenience.  I mean – how am I supposed to fit in aerobics, spa days, girls shopping trips and “me time” when I have children that need me 24/7" (Quote from the article)

I won't even write my response to that, because I already did

"And we look at these women in movies, magazines and on television – they are unbelievably gorgeous at 43 and birthing their first.They look like they have it all.  They gave their “best years” — their young years, to their career…and we secretly wonder – maybe they do have it all." (also, a quote from the article)

You see a woman who gave her "best years" to her career, I see a woman like me who probably really wanted to start earlier, but since it wasn't happening, poured into her career instead, and am encouraged that it's still possible to bring back the original dream later than planned.

God puts us in different seasons of our lives for a purpose. These purposes are different for EVERYONE.  Obviously, I don't have kids because I'm single. That is the only reason. If I were married, I can pretty much guarantee I'd have a kid or two by now, BUT I have faith that God has me single for a reason. That my graduate school classes are for the purpose of expanding his kingdom, and I wouldn't be in them if I was a mom right now. That my time with Graffiti youth is crucial to their development in some way - and I wouldn't have time for them if I had my own kids.

Or it could be that he's building up my story to encourage some younger girl who is struggling through the same things I went through and am going through now. I definitely feel a burden to make the best of this time so I can be of encouragement to others.

In the comments section of this article, she refers to the fact that she couldn't have kids after twenty-nine as the "death of a dream" in response to someone who had asked her about it. It's interesting that she used that term, because I've used the exact same term to describe  the loss of my dream: that I would be a young mother with four(ish) kids.I can completely sympathize with her on that matter. I do agree with much of what her post said, but I think it could have been approached differently.

We must be careful not to rank one lifestyle over the other, particularly when we don't know what the other's circumstances are.  God has a unique plan for all of us, and so long as our intentions are never selfish in our endeavors, I think we can end up in a variety of places as a result. I know that's what she meant, but the tone does not come across that way, and I would caution anyone that reads it to be careful how they relay it to their friends who don't have kids.

1 comment:

ThistleAshD said...

I have to go back and read that article. But the last paragraph you wrote is basically something that should be applied to a whole lot of areas. Well said :)