As my last semester as an undergrad comes to a close (student teaching not withstanding), I can’t help but wonder what my future will bring. I finally came to the conclusion that I will have to create my own path. There is no template in my family for what I am about to do. My mother, and my grandmothers and great-grandmothers before her, married by age 21 and became a mother by age 24. I do not know what single-parenthood looks like on a daily basis. Am I confident that I can handle being a single mother? Yes. Is that what I intended for my life? No.
Add in the process of becoming a foster parent and then adoption, and I am clearly in uncharted territory. Fortunately, I’ve been preparing for this most of my life, and I am fortunate to know several people who have adopted and served as foster parents over the years. I have resources. Add in the fact that most of my family lives nearby, and I know that I can do this. I also have a wonderful group of women with Turner Syndrome that I can lean on for support too.
In fact, a comment by a fellow woman with Turner Syndrome really made me think. Her statement summarizes what I’ve been feeling for much of my teenage years and then my adult life and nails it.
“What feels lacking is the status given to women for their fertility – and precious little else. I think we are in the *perfect* position to blow that ideology back to where it came from and help people learn of different ways to make a family and make a life.”
Unless you’ve lived through infertility, I don’t think people recognize the extent to which women are still valued for their fertility. That brings me to the article above. As a society, we celebrate marriages and births. Women are still largely defined through family and marriage. While privately our family and friends might celebrate our academic and career accomplishments, they are not celebrated in the same way in our society. Why not? Who says that one has to marry to create a family? That may be ideal, but it just might not work for everyone.
Why should I wait until I meet the right man before I pursue my dream of having a family of my own? I already spent ten years with someone who was not right for me in the hopes that we would get married and start a family. It turns out that he did want a family, just not with me. As difficult as those lessons were, I am much stronger for it. After letting go of that relationship, I was finally free to start pursuing my dreams again. It wasn’t that my ex prevented me for pursuing them. Instead I found myself holding back until the timing was “right” and focusing on “us” when there never truly was an “us,” at least not as how I perceived it should be.
Frankly, I would love to meet the right man, someone with whom I can share my life. If it doesn’t happen, it isn’t the end of the world. As I go through the process of becoming a foster parent and adopting, I am going to focus on myself and what I want out of life. I am in a position to create the life that I want. I might as well make the most of it.