Think I Can't, I Think I Can't
by Jane Jimenez
From the Home Front
stopped me in my tracks. “So why can’t you have a baby and go to
I opened my mouth
to speak, “Because….” I stopped. “Well, it…."
proscription for a successful life in America is rigid. You graduate
from high school, you go to college and graduate, you get a master’s
degree, and you begin your career. Only then are you given permission
to settle down and consider having a family.
The promise of
“success” hangs in front of our nose, like the hare racing in front of
the greyhounds at the track. We have our life mapped out, no time to
waste, and no room for detours. But why?
It wasn’t always
this way. There was a day not so long ago when diversity was more
than a political slogan. It formed the very fabric of life, a
patchwork of possibilities, a life of beauty designed around the
varied circumstances of men and women.
Once upon a time,
we took life as it came. We planned. But we also made allowances for
the turns in the road, the detours and side trips that inevitably
occur. They were not evidence that life was over. They were moments
of creativity, unbidden opportunities to incorporate the unexpected
into life and call it success.
rejected until we had our college diploma framed behind the leather
chair. It came in joyful moments of surprise, and it was received as
a gift. Students in love got married. If children came along, life
wasn’t over. It was extended.
moved into married housing. And if they became pregnant, the children
were welcome. Life was big enough to have it all.
Not so today. For
all the pride we have in our ability to plan the perfect life, we have
created the ultimate rigid path that rejects life’s diversity. If
success is only possible as single men and women without children,
then our fate is sealed. Sex is recreation, relationships are void of
commitment, and babies are unwelcome.
Thus, it is quite
an easy matter for clinics on college campuses to sell young women the
solution to unplanned pregnancies. Abortion in college is just one
more part of the so-called prescription for success.
counselors don’t counsel. They simply latch onto our fears and
reinforce them. “Oh, my dear,” they tell young women, “you don’t want
to drop out of school. You’ll never be able to do it. Here let us
fix it for you.”
fate, reinforcing the promise of failure, we withdraw support from
pregnant women. If they want acceptance, love, careers, and a
future…they have only one path, one narrow path, just big enough for
one person to walk alone, no babies allowed.
As a nation we are
all caught in the fear of failure. Parents push their daughters to
abortion. Boyfriends expect abortions. And women have bought the
lie. They can’t be a woman, a mother, a wife, and a student…because
we tell them they can’t.
When did we decide
that the best life to be had is the life of a sterile woman? What
justification do we have for preaching the Mother Goddess in feminism
even as we demand that she sacrifice the joy of mothering in order to
Do you plan joy?
Or does it flow from your ability to accept the unexpected treasures
found along the way…love, commitment, marriage, and family? If humans
were created to be parents, what kind of happiness will we find by
denying our creation?
Babies are not the
enemy…but only if we are willing to believe in the value of life and
all that it brings. What joy have we lost today by pretending that
the best of life can be planned? When did we give up on ourselves?
Jane Jimenez spent eleven years teaching in public elementary
schools working with students from third through eighth grades. Today
Jane is a freelance writer dedicated to issues of importance to women
and the family. Her work has appeared in local and national
publications. A special focus of her writing has been the changing
sexual mores that began in the 60s and helped define her college years
at Arizona State University. Research on this issue has involved a
wide range of interviews, conferences, and coalitions. You can reach
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