Every once in a while, I speak at women’s networking sessions.
Some participants keep in touch and earlier this week, I met one of them for coffee.
I noted the difference in how we were dressed. There was me in jeans, flat shoes with no make up on; straight out of a spin class, while she wore a lovely dress, paired with a smart jacket and heels to match. Not a good or bad thing, just that there was pronounced difference.
As we got chatting, speaking of careers, lives and everything else, she opened up to me and said, ‘I have a problem. I feel too old.’ Turned out that she was a few years elder to her peers/colleagues.
She brought back memories from several years ago when I was just 24 and pregnant. I told my doctor I wasn’t ready and that, ‘I feel too young to be a mother.’ While others my age were clubbing and ‘hanging out’ regularly, I already sensed isolation and felt that I had aged beyond my years. I feared that motherhood would distance me even more.
He wrote me a referral for abortion but as he did so, he looked into my eyes and said,’morally, socially, ethically and financially, you have no reason to abort. I will give you this slip but I really hope that you decide not to use it. A few years from now, your friends may wish to be in your place. Do what you believe is right.’
I decided not to use the slip. My daughter is 13 now. When I look at her and think of what she is worth to me, all the sacrificed clubbing fades into nothingness.
I shared this with her explaining that we all have vulnerabilities and that’s perfectly okay. Just by being here and having this chat, she had shown tremendous maturity in one, being able to spot a problem and two, having the courage to share it with someone. Very few of us are able to do that.
We came away agreeing that she will operate from a position of strength and not one of weakness. She was going to stop saying ‘sorry’ for her age.
That was one of my most rewarding meetings this week. Perhaps she felt the same because as I woke up this morning, I had a message saying, ‘you filled this grey day with sunlight and rainbows…’
In the words of Woody Harrelson, ‘a grownup is a child with layers on’. There is tremendous beauty celebrating diversity knowing that at the crux of it, we are all one. You are as you were meant to be.