Our expectations should be our own.
I recently heard an interview on ABC radio with Natalie Kon-Yu and Christie Nieman who were inspired with two other Melbourne writers to write a book called Mothers and Others. While the book explores (and I paraphrase) the good, the bad and the ugly sides of motherhood what struck me was the fact that these women said that the trigger for writing the book was the suffocating cultural pressure of being a woman.
They spoke about the assumption that if you were a woman then you want to children and the judgement of incompleteness if you did not choose to have kids. (!!)
Granted, carrying a child for 40 weeks in your body and then for many being the only source of nourishment for that child does have a major impact on your life. But, having a baby or a few babies does not define you or your capacity to be human, or a businesswoman, or a rock-climber, or a forensic profiler – get the gist?
So why is it in this lucky country of ours that we are still so fixed upon the fundamentals of life and reproduction? Why aren’t men talking about being ‘fathers and others’ and if they are why aren’t they on state-wide radio? Why are women still struggling with ‘suffocating cultural pressure’ to do it all and do it better than anyone else?
To be honest I don’t know but I do feel that we make it too hard for ourselves. Expectations can be terrible things when you don’t live up to them. I commend the work of people who are trying to get the right balance of diversity and equity – in fact it is one of my own passions here and in countries such as Nepal.
It’s time that we relax and stay true to life choices and know that those choices are right for you, in whatever form they take.