I am going to throw a question out there that has plagued me lately, and I am pretty sure most of you will think I am overreacting. Well, here it is anyway..
Was I wrong to wait to have a child? I did not wait to get married at all. I met my husband in high school, married him at age 19, and committed to finish college and “get going” in my life before I “started a family” by having a baby. Those seemed like reasonable goals to our families who supported us getting married so young. And I guess it probably was ok.
However, I was also afraid of failure as a parent by being too stupid and too poor. My parents were perfect in my eyes, and I believed that I alone had to make sure I was ready and prepared to be like them. I did not trust that the Lord would help us do this at all. Not really.
When we found out we were going to have a baby, it was a total surprise, and to many I was not too young because I was 26 years old. It isn’t that long compared to many others who wait until much later to start a family. All of the details of my infertility are irrelevant for this article.
My focus is not on the physical issue here as much as the consequences to believing that a woman has to “protect” herself from a worst case scenario by establishing herself as an educated career person before becoming a wife and mother, if she does that at all. Although I was raised by conservative, family oriented, Christian parents, I was influenced by this feminist thought. As a servant of God, I was unwilling to do what He had declared in His Word until I had done what I believed to be best for my life.
I do believe I was disobedient because I felt I had control of my reproductive choices. We live in circumstances that give us absolute control over NOT having a child. Even when contraception fails, legalized abortion gives a woman the option to avoid the birth of her child. We do not, however, have any control over WHEN we have a child. That is what makes our sense of control false and misplaced. Every human life is a gift from God and He alone decides when to gift us with children despite our efforts to subvert His authority and impose our will in the circumstances.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute has written with articulate clarity on this very issue:
“The various forms of feminism have tried to teach us that our "real self" exists somehow independently of our gender. According to some feminists, gender differentiation is a cosmic injustice, that demands correction or compensation. More modest forms of feminism hold that gender differentiation is insignificant, or irrelevant to anything important. And the social changes that feminism has inspired have attempted to minimize anything distinctively feminine. The proper goal for a woman, especially an intelligent, promising woman, is to behave exactly as a man her age would. She should get an education, pursue a career, and work long hours to establish her financial independence.
She should remain oblivious to the fact that child-bearing will have a very different impact on her than on men her age. Her opportunity for child-bearing is limited in a way that a man's fertility is not. Giving birth will affect her body: every cell in her body responds to the fact of her pregnancy. Motherhood affects her differently than fatherhood affects a man. She should follow the same life-plan as men, and she should demand that her husband share identically in all the chores necessary to maintain a household. She is entitled to demand equality as her right, even though behaving identically will be unnatural for both her and her husband.”