Thursday, April 11, 2013

Can women have it all and more important, do they want it?

It has been a recurring theme I seem to keep bumping into, one way or another.  I have tried to stay out of it, or at least tried to keep my opinion to myself, but each time I read more or see more, I get more and more distressed. The issue is - can women really have it all? Or maybe, do we WANT it all?

My generation, and downwards, has certainly been told we can and should.  And its almost a travesty if we don't take it and run, after all, our mothers and grandmothers worked long and hard for our so called equality. A lot of it I am very grateful for, being able to work in any job/career I so choose, being financially independent and not reliant on a husband, the pill, having an opinion I can voice.  The list goes on.

But there is a growing concern, both by myself and others, that telling women they can have it all, and then expecting them to do so, is having a detrimental effect. On their health, mental and physical, their happiness, their future.

I worry for these young women, I really do.  I worry that the choices they have been expected to make are not fair.  They put aside the one thing they can't change, and that's their biological clock.  So many are going to uni, getting a great job, building a career, finding a husband (or not) and then, after this checklist is ticked off, they look to a family.  A child.  But by this time, they are well into their 30's and 40's and time is against them. It's not so easy to fall pregnant, or stay pregnant.  Their body is winding down its fertile phase. A lot miss the boat.  Will they, as old women, resent this?  Will they feel betrayed by women singing the virtues of having it all? 

Our bodies are designed to have children in our 20's.  That's biology. How can we argue with that? I have a lot more to say, and will need to corral these thoughts into a coherent argument. It will make a good essay subject, but for now, I thought it may be a good thought provoker for my bloggers.

What are your thoughts?

A story about a 38 yr old women wanting a child.

I watched Q&A this week - I normally have to walk away from the TV Monday nights as I yell at it (the TV, not Monday) too much.

But this was worth watching and very interesting - women talking about this very subject.

ABC IView - Q&A


  1. I know what you are saying Jodie there is so much going in in our world at the moment. Keeping pace with the rest of the universe, the pressure, will it ever end. xxx

    1. Yes Rae, that's true. This subject seems to keep popping up in conversation lately, it must mean its more than me thinking about it.

  2. I will probably throw a spanner into the works ....... I had/have it all. I had the perfect working life. It followed a perfect path and I made it to the top in my field. I got married. I got divorced. I then had the perfect child - I planned to fall pregnant on the at a certain time on a certain day to ensure a boy in January and I got just that - love the billings method. Did this at 35 and fell pregnant first try. I then got married and scored 3 step children a year later. When my son was at school I returned to Uni as I had always wanted a degree and became a teacher. Perfect hours to fit in with my child and doing something that I love. I did get it all and everyday I am grateful that women in this country have the right to have it all. Sure there were some hiccups along the way but that is life. My step daughter is now following in my footsteps and going along the same path to ensure she has it all as well. I just keep telling her women can have it all. Take every opportunity and run with it as it may not come your way again - this is a motto I followed.

    1. I don't think that's a spanner at all Jacana. I think you are a wise and grounded woman, you just had lady luck on your side a little too. I think it helps to really know what you want and go for it.

  3. Im probably one of those girls you are talking about as well - Im in my early 30s, unmarried (but living with my boyfriend of 5 yrs and my soul mate), have a career, property and financially stable. The reason Im not married and dont have kids is because the maternal instinct hasnt kicked in and I fear it never will. The pressure for every woman to get married and have kids is overwhelming, I get asked constantly when Im having kids and when I tell them I dont think I will they are shocked and look at me like Im some kind of alien. My sole purpose in life is not to be a Mum - its to be me. That is probably selfish but at the end of the day if Im happy then isnt that the most important thing? x

    1. Michelle, the funny thing (and maybe a myth?) about the maternal instinct, is that its not something we get one day out of the blue. It comes, normally after we find out we are pregnant, sometimes not until you have a child in your arms. If you wait to feel this, you may wait in vain :-)

      I do feel for you always being asked when you are having kids, that's a very personal thing to ask. I just want to help my younger sisters to not miss the boat and regret decisions made. Yes being happy is the most important thing, but having children does not take that away. Trust me xxx

  4. Looooooove reading your blogs!!

    Though this one caused me to break out in a cold sweat. These thoughts constantly plague me and the timing of your blog couldn’t have been better as I was discussing this very subject with a female colleague over breakfast this morning.

    On one hand I am so desperate to remain independent, corporate savvy, financially secure, hold a good job and have a sturdy roof over my head YET all I can hear echoing off my eardrums is the tick tick of a biological clock.

    Can we have our cake and eat it too (minus the calories it fuses onto our butt cheeks,) probably not. Something has to give a little, and the reigns I am holding onto so tightly, need to loosen just a little. I am going to be 36 this year which is already tipping the scale against favourable fertility statistics.

    I have been so focused on creating a secure bubble around my corporate dream but the secure bubble that was once encasing my youthful ovaries is weakening and about to pop.

    Will I have resentment in future years if I miss my fertility window, absolutely.
    Will I go home tonight and share this sentiment with my partner then shag him senseless, absolutely (right after we have griped about our working day, eaten dinner, paid the electricity bill, reconciled our diaries… oh forget it!)

    1. Thanks Panda! I replied to this comment via email, I wanted to be a bit more personal than a public blog is.

      How did the shagging go? :-)