Millennial women are more likely than members of previous generations to delay childbearing, and much ink has been spilled as to why. Certainly, finances play a role. There also seems to be a loose-running theme among young women surrounding the fear of losing oneself by having children before one really knows who she is. Some millennial women, though, are speaking up about experiencing the exact opposite. Becoming mothers has taught them much about themselves and what they are capable of. They’ve found that children aren’t miniature balls and chains, largely responsible for the death of their mothers’ dreams. Instead, children make those dreams brighter and more precious.
A recent Verily article featured a woman who in her 20s had no concrete plans of childbearing…ever. To Mara Measor’s thinking, “I wasn’t excited about children because I had plans for my own life, things I wanted to accomplish. In my mind, children would get in the way of that. I thought of motherhood as a role of endless self-sacrifice — something I was not particularly excited about. With that conversation, I felt the clock began to tick on my ambitions.” When she did conceive at age 29, “my heart sank slowly for ten uncomfortable months. That’s it, I feared. It’s about to be over for me.” Measor dreaded entering “a bland world of food prep, playground trips, and apartment cleaning.”
On the contrary, though, Measor found that “before saying her first word, my child had led me on a beautiful path of self-discovery…” Gradually, her newborn daughter “began to infect me with her unabashed zeal for life. I couldn’t help but marvel daily at how she had no shame in being fully who she was. She was not obsessed with proving herself to me. She was not afraid of asking for what she wanted. She was not afraid of being told, ‘no.’ Whatever obstacle she faced, she found a way to continue forward.” Inspired by her daughter, Measor’s former passion for singing and songwriting was revived, leading her to release a new album.
Elizabeth Bruenig is another millennial mom who found that childbearing isn’t “a chore but a pleasure, not the end of freedom as you know it but the beginning of a kind of liberty you can’t imagine.” Through motherhood, Bruenig came to realize that “[w]ith the exception of — perhaps — a few immutable characteristics, you are not something you discover one day through trial and error and interior spelunking; you are something that is constantly in the process of becoming, the invention of endless revolutions. You never know who you are, because who you are is always changing.”
The normalization of birth control and abortion was achieved by telling women that they can’t both earn a degree or succeed in a career without either not having children at all or delaying having children until their career goals are achieved. The abortion industry has long misled women into believing they need abortion in order to be successful.
However, many women are learning just what they’re capable of through the experience of childbearing and rearing. Motherhood crystallizes many women’s dreams, motivating them to manage their time even more efficiently and to prioritize effectively in order to contribute maximally at home and in the world. Far from sucking the life out of them, many women have found that their children make their dreams even brighter, that indeed babies and dreams do go together.
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