The confinement in our homes is forcing millions to stop abruptly, cancel all our plans, and take time to look in the mirror.
Many women regret having postponed childbearing. Our society still hasn’t given a viable solution to the challenge of balancing professional life and motherhood.
The incorporation of women in the labor market with equal rights to men is still one of the major warhorses of our times. Women acknowledge that the major obstacle they have to overcome is the adjustment between professional life and motherhood.
Political parties entered in this strive for equality (whether be it due to a question of personal conscience or electoral interest), and trade unions and companies are used to having the issue on the table as they look for measures to reduce precariousness.
According to the National Statistics Institute of Spain, in the last decade the age to have the first child in that country increased by around two more years, being 31 on average. The second baby doesn’t come until after 33. This figure is bigger in the case of women with higher education.
THE BEST AGE FOR MOTHERHOOD
According to the data given by the experts, the best age for motherhood, biologically speaking, is around 20 years old, but it can be extended without problem until 30. After that age, a slight downward curve begins which becomes five years later an abrupt cliff - until the total end of fertility around 45.
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine indicates that the fertility of women disappears in their mid-forties, including in-vitro fecundation. The cases of pregnant mothers in their sixties that appear in the media are mere anecdotes that have little to do with the real situation.
Human biology is hardly compatible with the system we have created, a system which pretends to masculinize women instead of incorporating them in equal conditions, snatching one of the greatest gifts God gave humanity, in which women play the major role – though not an exclusive one – during the time of childbearing and the first years.
The labor market asks women to “burn their best years” in order to reach a certain professional and economical position and inevitably delay motherhood. To have a child becomes something of a stigma for them. This is at least how many women see it, feel it - and therefore live their lives accordingly.
FREEZING OVULES, TOO EXPENSIVE AN EASY SOLUTION
Meanwhile, some have seen in all this as an opportunity to make a profit. Now women have been offered the possibility to pay to be mother when their body doesn’t allow them, and this business is presented as a great achievement for women’s rights. For those who can afford it, of course. A few days ago a TV documentary aired the lucrative business of freezing ovules in order to allow the having of children later on. One of the women who used this system explained how convenient and good this method was, while businessmen in white uniform standing in for feminist activists were there ready to receive a substantial payment in return for the service.
Freezing ovules is nothing more than the patching up of a structural problem. In fact, a lot of women who want to be mothers are obliged, or kindly pushed into having children later and later. The figures are devastating: nearly half of the women who are now forty regret not having had their first child before. How sooner? Five years, according to official INE statistics. In addition to that, one in four women declares to have had less children than she wanted.
It is possible to freeze ovules but it is impossible to freeze life, and the years don’t go by unnoticed. Our society cannot allow women to renounce to motherhood when biologically it is most suitable for them.
Children are God’s heritage and procreation is the first mandate given to mankind by the Creator. We Christians should raise our voices clearly and be a spearhead in the fight for a realignment of social conditions to make conditions more favorable for families and to protect motherhood in practical ways. We must have this attitude in our own marriages, securing a balance in efforts within the couple, and being also active on that issue in our workplace.
We must educate and believe in the blessing of motherhood and fatherhood, but also in the reality of the very limitations of the human body. We should allow women to have children at their best age, a policy that could be agreed across the political spectrum.
Two years ago, Carme Chacón, the late former Minister of Defense of Spain who inspected the troops being seven months pregnant said: “Don’t sacrifice motherhood because of professional activity, no one will thank you for this sacrifice”.