Sunday, November 20, 2005

Motherhood vs. a Career

Sometimes people have a hard time understanding why I would not finish my last year of my nursing degree. For example, I know someone who keeps bringing up my past nursing education almost every time we meet. I keep coming up with different comments and answers but obviously something is not sinking in because this person keeps bringing it up. I have been told I was crazy for not finishing my nursing career, not by this person in particular but they may as well have.
It can be tough for me at times to come up with the right words to respond to these people who question my decision. Most times, when I mention to someone that I only finished 3 of the 4 years of my nursing, I usually just say for a reason, that we wanted to start a family. Usually no response follows. I am pretty sure that I have made this same statement to this person in the past but they don't seem to understand. In a way I don't expect them to until they a child(ren).
I believe it is the people of little faith who have the most difficulties with the decision that I made, with the support of my husband, over two years ago. Without my faith I am not sure I would have been able to let go of the things I needed to in order for me to say, "Yes Lord, I will do your will".
You see, I needed a certain strength from the Lord to help me remove and let go of what my mind was saying versus what my heart was saying. That took discernment and prayer, and lots of it. This is one reason why I admire Our Lady so much. The bible doesn't say a lot of details about what happened in her mind per se about whether she should say yes or no to God when the request for her to bear the Son of God came. The immediate answer was, "Yes! Not my will Lord but Yours be done!" Being who she is and the nature that she has without original sin, I doubt that she had to go through the mind versus heart game. She just knew in her heart what she needed to do right away. No time was spent wondering what the neighbours or Joseph will think, being pregnant and unmarried. Or how will Joseph and I provide for this child, or will we be able to sustain a living with only Joseph working? These are some of the kind's questions that we ask ourselves today when it comes to starting to have children or even continue having children.
In a secular way, one of the best ways I can explain my decision to start having a child before finishing my year of nursing was like having a chocolate right next to me and the thought of having to wait another year or more to eat it. Talk about torture especially if you are a chocolate lover like me!
John and I have never had a lot of money. We just knew we had enough money to live with and to make the necessary sacrifices when things were tighter money wise. We knew starting a family would affect our current standard of living. We also knew that if I needed to work when my maternity leave ran out I could go find work fairly easily if we really needed. I prayed and prayed and let people around me know to pray because I really wanted to be a stay at home mom. So far we have always had the money we needed and then some at times to get by. Yes, it was stressful and difficult, especially for my self-employed husband at times, but it is always worth it because we can live with the fact that we are taking care of our child, and not the day care or family members.
The decision to wait also came from the concern of what if we can't conceive? I thought if we start trying now that means less waiting if we decided to adopt. Infertility is quite a common thing and if I or John were infertile I would really regret not finding out sooner because I wanted to finish nursing. Nowadays, do people ever ask why it is so easy to put off having children versus having a career? Then I can ask how many women deeply regret waiting to have a child versus having a career after the fact of having a child. I would be very interested to know if there are any stats on the latter.
I know how difficult it is to make the decision to let go of a career option. We all have different priorities depending on where we are in our lives. When I first started nursing I didn't know I would meet the man I was going to marry and spend the rest of my life with more than midway through my degree. In fact, if I would have met him a year earlier than I did, I would have likely decided to opt out of the nursing degree program and complete my nursing diploma instead and then begin working as a registered nurse.
I will never know for sure why things happened the way they did, but I do know that God's ways are not my ways and we have a beautiful darling little girl to show for it and a little one in the womb waiting anxiously to be born now because of the decision John and I made together. Who could ask for more? Love and joy in its purest form is among us twofold! If I die tomorrow at least I can say I had the opportunity to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a wife and mother and I took it when I had the chance! I didn't wait! For me, that is part of living life to the full.

Lucille E.

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