The "war" between working moms and stay-at-home moms is a farce. It was manufactured by politicians and hyped by the media. Moms are moms. We are all challenged with the ominous responsibility of birthing and nurturing life. I never had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom; I was the breadwinner of the house when my daughter was born and a single mother by the time she was 6. I would have jumped at the chance to stay at home for a couple of years. The most difficult day of my life was the first day I had to pull myself away from my baby to return to work after my maternity leave. The second most difficult day was every day after that when I had to leave her, and it did not get easier until she started school. I believe this is how most mothers feel. The politicians' and the media's attempts to drive a wedge between stay-at-home moms and working moms is ignoble. The joy and the challenges of being a mother is sacred ground.
Every mother has a story full of joy and challenges. Let me share a little about my story. At the height of my career I discovered I had five fibroid tumors in my uterus that were growing at an alarming rate. I was advised by my doctor to have a hysterectomy. During the final exam before my surgery, my doctor told me something was wrong. He looked at me and said, "You are pregnant and will die if you try to have this baby." Without any discussion or even a pause, he picked up the phone and started dialing. He looked up at me and said, "I am scheduling you an abortion with a colleague of mine; I can't do it because I am Catholic." While he was talking on the phone, I got up and left.
On my drive home I went inside myself, envisioned bringing my baby home and listened to my heart. I experienced calmness and I knew all would be fine. I committed to this vision and searched until I found a doctor who would partner with me on my journey to transform my vision into reality. My daughter Nicole fought for her life and the tumors started shrinking -- all seemed to be right. Then, I developed toxemia and was hospitalized for the last month of my pregnancy.
When I went into labor, Nicole turned breach and I had an emergency c-section but something went horribly wrong and I began to slip away. The doctor and nurses piled hot towels on me in an attempt to bring me back. This memory is as clear to me today as it was 30 years ago -- I was dying. I remember feeling nothing but peace; it was wonderful. As I was drifting away, I remembered that I had a baby and that powerful thought pulled me back into the world. My daughter and I are extraordinarily close; I can't imagine life without her.
Motherhood is a beautiful, precious gift; most mothers know this. I believe we share a special connection and can relate to each other's journey, even if our journeys are different. Whether we stay-at-home or working, we share a very special bond. Is it too much to ask politicians and the media to respect motherhood, and refrain from fostering a false perception that stay-at-home moms and working moms are at war?