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Thursday, October 15, 2009

What does it mean to be a woman?

My friend Liz at Eternal Lizdom asked me to answer that question as part of a blog chain that she was starting, where several bloggers would answer the same question. I haven't read any of the other posts because I wanted my answer here to be solely my own. But it will be interesting to see if any of the other bloggers have similar feelings.

The first thing that came to mind when I thought about the question, "What does it mean to be a woman?" was that Enjoli commercial. "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and never, never let you forget your a man..."

But that really doesn't have anything to do with how I view my own existence as a woman. Words that come to me when I think about the question include "responsibility" and "strength" and "connectedness."

I find it really hard to separate being a woman from being a mother. From the earliest days of my first pregnancy, I had a sense of the privilege it is to be a woman with child. To know that I was growing a baby deep within me. To feel the first flutters of movement. To see how my baby responded to music and noises on the outside. It was like a secret relationship, one that was mine to share with others or not. And I felt grateful that it was my experience to have.

Giving birth to Charlie put me in touch with the sense of power that was mine by virtue of my womanhood. All three of my children's births are special, but Annie and Robbie were born by c-section and I was a passive -- though quite interested -- onlooker. But Charlie's birth, a VBAC, was a physically, emotionally and spiritually powerful experience for me. An absolute gift.

Now that they are older, I am acutely aware of being responsible for the management and coordination of all the day to day activities of each of my kids. And I'm in touch with the frustration of trying to balance nurturing their souls and their personalities with making sure the homework gets done and they get to soccer practice on time.

But I know that being a woman is about more than being a mother. For me, it's about being connected. About wanting to know others' stories and wanting to share my own in return.

I never understood married women who insist that their husbands are their best friends. I love my husband, but there is something lifegiving in a different way about my relationships with my closest of girl friends. In a way, I feel sorry for men who don't seem to need or to want those kind of connections.

Being a woman brings with it, for me at least, a certain sense of spirituality. Not in an organized religion way, but in a more organic, cosmic sort of way.

It means having the choice to be strong and stoic or to break down and cry and not having anyone question me for doing either. It means being unsure that what I am doing is the right thing, but being courageous enough to go with my gut.

On a more practical level, being a woman means paying good money for a haircut and not feeling guilty about it (much), getting a pedicure as a treat for losing 10 pounds and thinking that there is nothing weird about ordering a Diet Coke with my fat-laden french fries. It's saying "I'm going to bed," but stopping to do the dishes or fold the laundry or make lunches for tomorrow before actually going upstairs.

To me, being a woman is chocolatey, curvy, freeing, heavy, joyful, mysterious. It is full of endless possibilities and limitless emotion.

It is who I am, in whatever way I choose to be.

How about you? What does being a woman mean to you? Leave a comment here or blog about it on your own blog. If you choose to post about it on your blog, leave your link in McLinky below. Be sure to visit Liz's post for her thoughts and for links to more ideas of what it means to be a woman.

11 comments:

Eternal Lizdom said...

I love this post, Amy! It looks like our answers are somewhat similar and you beautifully captured so many moments of womanhood.

Flartus said...

Good stuff--I especially liked the connectedness angle. That was something I was trying to express in mine, and I think you did a great job!

Beth said...

For me, being a woman means I have a built-in reminder device that it's time to treat the kitty with Frontline.

Lori D said...

You summed up precisely how I feel with

"To me, being a woman is chocolatey, curvy, freeing, heavy, joyful, mysterious. It is full of endless possibilities and limitless emotion.

It is who I am, in whatever way I choose to be."

Being transgender, even though the mirror was my deception, I've always been who I am. And that's why this post was so important to me. Thank you for sharing!

Lindy said...

This is a great post.

I never really fully understood the gift of womanhood until my daughter was born.

We're a pretty awesome breed! :)

Beth said...

What does it mean to be a woman? To me, it means loving, living, and sharing with family and friends. It means exercising my right to vote, to fight for what's right, but still having a compassionate side. I am descended from the first woman through a long line of strong women.

Simply put, what it means to be a woman is simply to be me.

tubal reversal said...

hmmmmmmmm you know i am a women so i like this so musc because it capture all the moments that a women desire to see so its a kool thing that you can see every thing that you desire.
the best thing in this blog is providing the information about the topics that are more relevant to the women problem....

Amy said...

@tubal reversal -- I clicked through to your site and see that you are from an OB/GYN center. I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't go to an OB/GYN who refers to "the women problem."

3d ultrasounds said...

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http://allaboutafricangrey.com said...

I want to thank you first for this post, I myself do not understand why people both men and woman need to be categorised.
If you want to do a certain job why do you need to be a certain sex to be able to do it. If a woman wants to fix cars, why is it butch?
To me being a woman implies different to a man, but we are not that different.

Untypically Jia said...

Hi, I just sent you an email about this post and I don't want it to get lost in a spam folder, so I'm letting you know here too! <3