How to Mind Your Business and Not my Womb

Recently, I watched a video clip of Golden Globe winner and Black-ish actress, Tracee Ellis Ross, speaking at the Glamour Magazine’s 2017 Women of the Year Summit. Her speech revealed that many didn’t support how she lives her life as a single, unmarried and child-free professional woman. She said “It's really interesting to be a woman, and to get to 45, and to not be married, and to not have kids. Especially when you’ve pushed out five kids on TV…My life is mine.”

Her words struck me and my uterus applauded her. Now I need you to please bare with me on this. At the age of 17, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Unfortunately, a few months later, my son was killed at the hands of his father. When my son died, people started asking me if I planned to have children again, and that I shouldn’t let this tragedy hinder me from having children again. Umm excuse me…come again? After many years of therapy and piecing my life back together, I have to be honest, I wasn’t ready to have children. Actually, I didn’t want to have any children. Yes part of it was due to my son’s tragic death, but I also wanted to accomplish a dream of finishing college and going to medical school. My priority was to become an established Emergency Physician and Media Personality. After I completed medical school and my Emergency Medicine Residency training, and have been in a long-term relationship, everyone from friends and family have asked if we will get married and have children soon. We could be at a funeral, wedding, baby shower, or even a cookout and there is always someone that inquiring about the filling of my womb. Or when will he put a ring on it. Like Tracee Ellis Ross, I was told that “I was selfish”, “having children is the best thing that could ever happen to women”, “having children will give meaning to your life and motivate you to work harder.” PLEASE STOPPPPP!

I am a very happy successful woman living a great life. I do not live my life according to everyone else’s expectations. I don’t tell these same folks how to live their lives…so why are they trying to rule my womb? My womb certainly didn’t ask for people’s opinions. Also, I do not believe that having a husband and children completes me; let alone my womanhood. Being unmarried and child-free doesn’t take away from my womanhood. My man and I are not obligated to explain our #lifegoals to the world. We are happy living together and traveling freely with or without each other. Don't get me wrong. We want to have children. Yes, we talked about getting married and having some babies. But we live our lives on our terms and it is our decision to move forward in the way we desire. Tracee said it best during her speech: “So, if my life is actually mine…then I have to really live it for myself. I have to put myself first and not be looking for permission to do so.” I screamed at my phone screen, damn near threw it, cried and was praising after that sermon. Tracee took it to chuuurrrch!

We have to stop pressuring our young girls and women and mind our own wombs. We don’t do this to men because society lets "boys be boys.” How about let the girls be girls and encourage them to fulfill their personal goals without the added pressure? If she wants to have children and become a wife, it should be HER personal decision…not yours, not mine and certainly not the world’s. There are plenty of women that have no desire to have children and get married. And that is fine. There are plenty of women that are unable to have children and choose to adopt. That is fine. There are plenty of women that are happily married with children, just as many that are unhappily married with children. There are plenty of women that are single mothers raising their child(ren) on their own. Guess what? They didn’t ask for our opinions.

Can we just celebrate womanhood and encourage one another to our lives to the fullest? Can we stop making young girls and women feel terrible about not being able [or having a desire] to have children? Can we accept each other at our different phases of lives and respect each other’s decisions? I certainly hope and pray that folks will leave Tracee alone (and others alike) and stop questioning her about her womBanhood. She is doing just fine and a true inspiration to many of us. I end this with the words of our Black-ish TV mother, Tracee: “The Brave You gives you the courage to hold your own agency, your own choice, your own desire, your own longings, your own fear, your own grief, your own future. She’s just one aspect of your soul that helps you become your fully embodied and completely integrated real, true self. She’s in you right now...”

Folks - please mind your business. And not our Wombs.

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