Traditionalist Meets Feminist: My Coming Out Story

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On May 6th, 2012, I discovered that I was pregnant.  To say I was surprised would be an understatement.  My husband and I had only been married for 10 months, and getting pregnant within the first year of marriage was not on our to-do list.  I wish I could tell you that I cried tears of joy when I saw those two pink lines on the pregnancy test, but that would be a lie.  I am not going to apologize for that either; in my mind, I wasn’t ready.

My attitude about the situation changed upon my husband’s reaction.  He was so calm, so accepting, and so ready to start our new journey together.  My husband has this incredible way of adjusting to the surprises in life.  He always tells me, “There is nothing you can do about what happens to you, but you can choose how you respond to it.”  I realized then that whether I thought I was ready or not, I was having a baby.  I could either spend the next 9-10 months pouting about how life didn’t go my way, or I could choose to accept the surprise blessing God had given me and enjoy this new journey in life.

On January 20th, 2013 my daughter, Selah, was born.  She is the best decision I’ve never made.  But even before Selah came into this world, she began forcing me to adjust my views and rethink my goals.  If you had asked my college-aged, pretentious self where I would be in five years, I don’t think wife and stay-at-home mom would have come out of my mouth. To be quite honest, that version of myself would actually hate who I’ve become.

During my entire college career, I was always speaking up for women’s equality.  I went to a small, private, Christian school, so you can only imagine some of the conservative and traditional views I came across regarding a woman’s role.  After voicing my total disgust of those views, my friends started branding me with the title: feminist.  I accepted the title and began identifying myself with feminism.

Fast forward a couple of years, and now I am entering motherhood with these preconceived notions of what a feminist looks like, while holding a very traditional role in my family.  So, here I am: wife, mother, and feminist?

My college-aged self makes me feel sub-woman, and tells me I cannot identify with feminism, because I am a stay-at-home mom.  The reality is though, I chose this.  I wasn’t forced into being a stay at home mom by cultural expectations or a traditionalist husband.  I made a calculated, informed, personal choice to be a stay-at-home mom.  If it was my decision, and an informed one at that, then why do I feel sub-woman?  I thought the whole push for feminism was to give women a voice and a choice in how they go about life.  As much as my college-aged self would hate who I’ve become, I hate her for the way she makes me feel.  It’s that kind of feminism that tries to put me in a box, saying that for me to be called a strong, independent, modern woman, I have to work outside of the home.

I am a wife, a mother, and yes, a feminist.  I don’t claim to be perfect in any of those roles , and I certainly am not right 100% of the time.  My desire is to simply share my perspective, and to show that there is a way in which these three roles can co-exist. Because, in twenty years, I want my daughter to discover for herself what it means to be a woman.  I don’t want the extreme traditionalists to tell her she must be pregnant, barefoot, and in the kitchen.  I also don’t want the extreme feminists to tell my daughter she has to have a career outside of the home.  I want Selah to have the freedom, and the grace, to discover what womanhood looks like for her.

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