A Letter to My Daughter: Don’t Make Motherhood an Afterthought

Astrid,

I get it, you’re too young to think too much about being grown-up, right now. I want you to focus on your reading, your math, your science, and your budding skills as an artist. I want you to enjoy the unfolding of the beautiful feminine nature God gave you. I see so much of it already in the way you care for your dolls and toy horses. I saw it the time you tucked your little brother’s monster trucks into bed. More importantly, I want you to learn to love what’s good, to keep to the old roads, and to believe in the faith once delivered to the saints,

But as you blossom from a little girl into a young woman, there are some things you’ll need to think about—things most of the big people in this country won’t mention, at least not until it’s very late.

This week, in a newspaper called The Independent, I read a story about how mommies are unhappy and tired because they’re working jobs outside the home like I do, but are still trying to do the kinds of jobs your mommy does when they get home—you know, shopping and meal-planning and making their homes beautiful places to live. These mommies have too many chores in too many places, and they’re very tired because of it. Some of them work this much because they need the money. Some of them do it because their children don’t have a daddy who lives with them. But these days, many mommies work a job like daddy does because that’s what they’ve been told to want from the time they were little girls.

This article from NPR says that women right now in our country become mommies later than their mommies did and their grandmas or great-grandmothers did—later than any other women before them, in fact. This article explains that mothers right now are having very few children compared with mothers in the past—in fact, there are more people dying every day than there are babies being born. And you know from your math work that this means the number of people is shrinking (except for the fact that some people are coming here from other countries).

Most mommies wish they were having more children. This article in the New York Times (a very important newspaper) explains that most women want families about the size of ours—three kids (I know you want ours to get bigger). But because they’re working so much outside the home and waiting so long to start having children, they usually don’t have as many as they’d like. That’s sad, isn’t it?

It actually gets sadder. Some parents find that they’ve waited so long to start having children, that their bodies have gotten older, and it’s become dangerous. Sometimes, this hurts the mommies. Other times, it hurts the babies. Scientists and doctors have found out that having kids when you’re older can increase their risk of being born with conditions like autism and Down syndrome. That may be part of the reason why these conditions are becoming more common.

Some couples who wait too long to start having children even find out that they can’t get pregnant at all! In years past, many people who got this bad news adopted babies someone else couldn’t keep. Your pops (my dad) was adopted, did you know that? Adoption is wonderful, because it gives little children (and sometimes big children) good homes, and it reminds us of what God does for us.

But now, people have come up with a new and not-so-wonderful way of getting children when they can’t have their own. They pay women to get pregnant and have a baby for them. This is called “surrogacy.” Instead of finding a loving home for a baby who is already waiting, these parents give a woman the job of growing a baby for them. They call this woman a “surrogate mother,” and they usually choose this way of doing things because they want a child who looks like them, instead of somebody else. Believe it or not, doctors nowadays can make this happen. Luckily, it’s still against the law in most places. But that may soon change.

Now, remember all we’ve talked about: Women are having babies later and later—sometimes so late that they can’t safely get pregnant, and need to pay someone else. Those who can’t pay for that usually just end up with smaller families than they would have liked. But even with fewer kids, they’re feeling very tired and even getting sick from all the work they have to do at their jobs and at home. They’re unhappy. And one of the biggest reasons is that they believed a lie.

The lie they believed was that being a mommy is the last thing they should think about when deciding what they want to do with their lives. They were taught to chase all kinds of other dreams and told that they had plenty of time to find a husband and have kids. Other grown-ups told these women they were too young to even think about building families. Believe it or not, if a little girl today says she wants to be a mommy when she grows up, there are people who will tell her that she needs to plan for something more important, like working in an office! Because of this, many, many girls have grown up to work in offices, and they’ve found out it’s not what they really wanted.

I don’t want this to happen to you. And if you don’t want it, either, then you’ll need to make better plans than these women did.

We make plans for nearly everything we do, whether it’s schoolwork, or art classes, or going on trips with grandparents, or even where we will buy a house. Why would having a family be any different? As you grow up, Astrid, I want you to be honest with yourself, and not to believe lies. Ignore people who say that there’s no need to think about becoming a mommy. Ignore people who say it’s not important, or that you’ve got plenty of time, or that it will happen all by itself. It won’t. And even though I would gladly keep you forever, I know there will probably come a time when that feminine nature will draw you elsewhere. When that day comes, I want you to pursue godly marriage and motherhood with all your heart, not as an afterthought. Until then, thank you for making sure your brother’s monster trucks are tucked in bed.


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