I came across this quote today, and it really just stuck with me…
“Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”
It got me thinking about all the strong women that surround me; women who shaped me into who I am today. I can not but be grateful to every single one of them.
I can still hear the principle at the school I used to attend telling us “you are young ladies. You have the potential to be great and to change the world. It all starts and ends with you.”
Mind you, it was an all girls school, in a very patriarchal country at the time.
What our principle meant was that we were our own masters; we make our own choices.. and we have the power to influence those of generations to come, given that someday we might become mothers. It is up to us to plant the seeds of female strength and independence in the minds of our future little ones, be it boys or girls.
To many of you this is pointless, since we are living in a world were women have got their independence, but places, in many corners of the earth, where women are not truly free still exist.
I won’t go far with my example… I will talk about myself.
I come from a country where females are supposedly independent and free in a lot of life’s aspects, but they can never escape the patriarchal mark that is engraved in the society.
I can not explain the pride and support my parents radiated when I told them I wanted to become a doctor, but the phrases and comments I got from the surrounding was quite different.
There was one comment I got that tagged along with me all those years: “you will never finish medical school. You will get married, get pregnant, and have to stay home to raise your kids”.
Do not get me wrong, I think the most challenging, beautiful and for that matter, the hardest ‘job’ to ever do is to be a stay at home mom.
I salute every woman, including my mom, who has chosen this life for themselves. You are strong in so many ways that I can never be.
What I did though, during the following years, is I ventured to prove this person wrong, and when I graduated I went up to him and told him “I guess you were mistaken about me.. I graduated”.
Yes, I did get married along the way, to the most awesome man alive. A man who understands me, and my stubborn ‘feminist’ side who wants to prove herself, and who actually is crazy enough to support me through it all.
After medical school came the choice for my residency. What kind or type of doctor do I want to become?
It was not difficult for me to know that I wanted to become a surgeon. I simply find myself inside an OR.
Do not get me started on all the negative remarks I got from my surrounding, excluding my close family. Remarks on the lines of “when will you have time for your family? How will you raise your kids?” and so on…
The fact that my husband was a neurosurgeon in training did not help.. it just gave everyone more reason to believe they can give me their ‘unasked for’ opinions about 2 surgeons in one household, and the bad influence it has on any future family to be.
Ironically though, it is turning out to be great!
I started my residency program in paediatric surgery, and I have decided to specialise in paediatric orthopaedic surgery.
All the negative comments and opinions that were given to me simply fuelled me up to prove everyone wrong.
Life is simply beautiful.
I know that many challenges still lie ahead.. but I am confident that I will be able to overcome them all with the support I have from my close family members and my husband, who believe in me, and push me harder to believe in myself.
All I can only hope for is that one day, if I was blessed enough to have a daughter, I will be able to raise her to be a strong, fierce, independent woman with the most tender, caring, and empathic heart. To make her understand that she has the power to choose her paths in life, and that no one can change that. Just the way my mother raised me… Independent and free.