From the Backlist: Favorite Quotes by Women about Leadership

Nobody-cares-if-you-cant-dance-well.-Just-get-up-and-dance.-Great-dancers-are-not-great-because-of-their-technique-they-are-great-because-of-their-passion-Martha-Graham-quoteApril: My daughter’s PTA just sent an email saying they are decorating her school with quotes about leadership. The email listed 17 quotes and asked if anyone had any other quotes to suggest. All 17 quotes are by men. I think I need to make a lot of suggestions to balance it out. Anyone have any fave quotes by women about leadership? It looks like anything related to vision, hard work or integrity counts.

Deborah:  This is from a rotating list of quotes I used to have in up in my classroom:

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Guest Post: A Mother of One

lori davisby Lori Davis

When I introduce my family at church, the wheels start turning in people’s heads. “Only one child . . . and the daughter’s not a baby.”

Most people assume that I can’t have more children. I must be facing a barrage of fertility treatments. I must be very depressed. No doubt I would be thrilled to hear about the latest alternative medicine miracle fix.

Some people assume that I don’t want more children. I must find motherhood less rewarding than the Church assures me it is. My testimony of families must be on shaky ground.

Either way, I am obviously coping with a major trial. People don’t like to mention it. They might be probing an open wound.

Few have the temerity to ask, but when they do, I find myself tongue-tied. I flounder and bluster, trying to explain myself. The truth is I love motherhood. I expected more children. Those high school sex education videos certainly led me to believe more would come. Reality has been a bit different. And apparently, I’m supposed to feel terrible about this.

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Birth/Rebirth: From the Backlist: Motherhood Versus Womanhood

Wordle of the speech, "Are we not all mothers?" by Sheri Dew

Wordle of the speech, “Are we not all mothers?” by Sheri Dew

Our plans for a series with the theme of birth sparked an interesting discussion among Exponent bloggers.  Birth can be a difficult topic; not all women have the opportunity or desire to give birth and rhetoric equating womanhood with motherhood can have some damaging side effects.

Amelia: I spent too many years suffering—sometimes very literally so—because of my upbringing to think of myself primarily as a future mother, fighting with the equation of womanhood with motherhood, birth, and childrearing.

A lot of the rhetoric around reclaiming birth, natural parenting, breastfeeding advocacy, can really push my buttons.  It just feels like the other side of the coin the church has handed out to women for years—which I fully acknowledge is problematic on my part.  These things are part of what it can mean to be a woman for most women.  But too often even the feminist treatments of these topics feel reductive to me, finding something essential to womanhood in them.  I reject that entirely.  I do not believe that womanhood at its essence is about giving birth, carrying a child, breastfeeding, caring for children.

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Birth/Rebirth: How I Chose to be a Surrogate

Guest post by Jen Holt

Jen lives in Utah with her husband and 4 children

(note: with Gestational Surrogacy, the egg of the mother is donated by the IP’s, or an egg donor. Traditional surrogacy uses the surrogate mother’s egg. However, traditional surrogacy is exceptionally uncommon as a result of advancements in fertility treatment, plus, it is considered unduly problematic and controversial because of genetic attachment to the surrogate. For any kind of surrogacy, IVF is used to retrieved the egg, create an embryo, and also to prepare and transfer to the surrogate’s womb, i.e. both the egg donor and surrogate need to participate in the IVF process in gestational surrogacy, and both women are usually required to be on the same cycle, which means both women take birth control pills in order to prepare for IVF.)

Twelve years ago my aunt was struggling with infertility. It was heartbreaking for me to see her suffer a loss with an ectopic pregnancy then having many failed IVF attempts after that. I offered to donate my eggs or carry for her because I felt so strongly that she was a mother. That was the plan until she ended up getting pregnant on her fifth IVF attempt. She now has healthy quadruplets. Still, I began to dream of helping another family.

Photo of Jen Holt's belly by Erin Gadd, Pink Daffodil Photography

Photo of Jen Holt’s belly by Erin Gadd, Pink Daffodil Photography

I already had a son from a previous relationship when I started to date my husband. I met him at the time my aunt was going through her infertility treatments. On our second date I mentioned I would be a gestational surrogate one day. We hadnʼt even talked about our future at that point. I sometimes wonder why he asked me out again. But he did. After we married and I had three non-complicated pregnancies, our family felt complete. I no longer had the desire to have another baby of my own but the feeling of “pregnancy hunger” never went away. I knew that my ability to get pregnant and having easy pregnancies was not for me— it was for another family or families. I started to tell everyone I wanted to carry for someone else, but I had a powerful urge to move forward was when my baby girl turned a year old in 2010.

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Birth/Rebirth: Welcome baby, you are home.

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One of the first times someone asked me to recount my daughter’s birth, I started to speak, and then without meaning to, I started to weep. It was difficult to remember something that was so tender to live.

The contractions started on a Thursday afternoon, when the only thing I wanted was to take a nap. I lay in my bed with my eyes closed. One surge came, and then another, every ten minutes. Each lasted approximately 1 minute and 15 seconds. I could feel them grow. They became easier to manage if I stood or walked. At their end, I would climb back into my bed. I called my husband, Spencer, after about two hours of this. He was at work. I asked him to come home soon–though not necessarily immediately–and to please pick up grapes on the way. However, the next contraction was so forceful that it made me throw up. I called him back and said, “Actually I need you to come home right now.”

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