Recent debate in the comments fields over at A Little Bit Pregnant has me doing some serious pondering. The conversation there centers on the idea that women that put their careers and establishment of self before starting their family later pay the price of such a delay with their fertility. Many a wise woman through that comment thread have put in their two cents.
What is eating at me is not the debate itself per se, although I certainly have my very own healthy opinions on it. No, what I see in some of the responses is something that quite often baffles me many times over in numerous places. There are those that approach a topic with blinders on. They become so convinced in their own points of view that they can become judgmental and sometimes even offensive. Its not that these folks always mean to become this way in their presentation, but others, equally convinced of their own positions may read what was meant to be innocent commentary with such disdain and hurt feelings that the whole thing tumbles wildly out of control.
It always stings me to see it. Woman in particular are often thrust into a no-win situation. If we choose, for example, to stay at home with our children some applaud us while others scoff at the way we're throwing away our degrees and wasting our intelligence. If we choose to work, there are those that applaud our feminist ideals to have it all, while others look down on us for being "selfish."
It happens time and time again, issue after issue. Even those that pride themselves on being supportive and open minded can fall prey so very easily. Something we feel passionate about is easy to view with those rose colored glasses - its just a given that someone would want to x. I can't understand how anyone could not see that! What we don't realize is that in saying something - even in close confidence with someone we feel believes as we do - we're slipping down a dangerous path of judgment. Or even more treacherous I think is when we qualify our support. Statements like "Well I'm supportive of any choice, but I get so burned when someone chooses to do y because of z." The very need to qualify your support removes its truth.
Its hard enough being a parent without being beaten over the head by others for our decisions. Actual abuse aside, why can't we just let others choose their own way and give them a grand old pat on the back for trying their darndest to do the best they can for their children. The beauty of life is found in its unique tapestry. Each of us a very different thread from every other. The gift we all offer is our own unique history and varied paths to our distinct futures. Trying to quantify what makes a good, acceptable series of twists and turns along the way does nothing but mar our own thread.