“Women and Children First!” was what they used to yell when the boat was sinking and the lifeboats were being filled. As a woman and new mother, I’m becoming more and more aware of how poorly society cares for women and children. Whether it’s the assault on abortion, the lack of affordable childcare, the discrepency between maternity and paternity leave, I could go on and on…. women and children are not the first to be cared for, but often instead are the first to be ignored.
Personally, I’m not used to being ignored. My previous career, prior to “full-time mother,” was minister. I had a pulpit from which I had free reign to speak my mind (not always to everyone’s pleasure, but I had my fans!). I loved preaching. I loved feeling I had something to say and hearing from people that my words touched something deep inside them. However, I resigned my pulpit for reasons that can only be explained as a shift of major spiritual proportions. I converted to Judaism prior to marrying a Jewish man, both because I’ve always felt my spirituality was Jewish and because I wanted my child(ren) to have one faith. Though I was not asked to leave my pulpit (I was a Unitarian Universalist minister serving Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Pagan and all other sorts of UUs), I was so profoundly transformed by my decision to convert (after 20 years of moving towards Judaism) that I didn’t feel I could serve my present congregation any longer with integrity. Soon after resigning I found out I was pregnant and have chosen for the time being to give my child the best care I can afford — myself.