I’m sure you’ve seen those articles friends posted on facebook. Those articles about how settling down in your twenties is lame. And how the only way to live is to have careless adventures around the world in your twenties to discover yourself. Women who get married in their twenties are selling themselves short. And partnering with the wrong man more often than not ending in divorce. Settling down is for your thirties. Or so those articles say…
I often read those articles and laugh. And I want to scream at the top of my lungs that women can have both. If I’ve learned anything in my twenty six (almost twenty seven) years on this Earth, it’s that women can do it all. And then some.
I like to say I grew up as a modern day nomad. In other words, I’m the daughter of a Marine. I attended 10 different schools on three different continents all before my senior year of high school. In college, I had wanderlust… bad. So I studied abroad twice, once to Thailand and then a longer stint teaching abroad in Western Australia. All the while my husband (boyfriend at the time) supported me stateside and waited patiently for me to return home. I thought at the time that these were the defining moments on my young adult years. What an adventure!
A few years later after getting married, and deciding to start our family, we were faced with a miscarriage followed by years of infertility. As much as I’d like to say my time spent traveling the world living among different cultures defined my twenties, it didn’t. My journey through infertility has.
I don’t have to explain how infertility shakes a person to the core, because most women reading this know exactly what I mean. I am far from the woman I was three years ago. I’m a hell of a lot stronger. And more self assured. I know the strength of my mind and body. I have a tested but powerful relationship with my husband. I know true friendship and have felt the greatest love from people around us. I have felt the deepest heartache after our loss and hope to feel the greatest joy when I finally hold our child. After the past three years, I know I can endure anything. I know myself, through and through. And I have learned to love myself, exactly as I am.
So I guess what I want to write to those stupid articles I see plastered all over social media pandering to women in their twenties is: don’t judge. Some women may need adventures around the world or frivolous time periods to grow up and mature. Don’t think a married twenty something, or a women with a baby on her hip, is just living the status quo. There are so many women out there who have experienced extraordinary things. There’s a story and strength inside of every woman. Just ask.