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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 30, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Pregnancy and careers: Bearing children is a woman’s job

Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

I’ve been on both sides of this story [“The fears of balancing pregnancy and a career,” Opinion, Oct. 25]. I delayed marriage and childbearing for my career (I’m a surgeon). I was blessed beyond belief with marriage to a good man in my late thirties and three healthy children soon thereafter.

My maternity leaves were a real burden on my associate. The work of a surgeon doesn’t just go away because a mother is at home bonding with her baby. Someone has to pick up the slack. And in this case it was my already hardworking male partner who also had family obligations.

And then going back to work and leaving a 3-month-old baby in the care of someone other than me was brutal. My partner was glad to have me back. I was glad to be back because I love my work. But I felt guilty.

Fast forward a few years and several of our key employees have started families and I have had a chance to see the other side. While they are home bonding, we are scrambling to get temps up to speed. Then they come back to work and need a break every few hours to pump, even if they are scrubbed in surgery. And they call in sick because their baby is sick or their babysitter is sick. And they feel guilty. And I grumble, but I understand.

Bearing children is a big job and only women can do it. I don’t care how much modern society wants fathers to share in the work. Bearing children is women’s work. It just is. It’s not political. It’s biological. If you think you can “have it all,” sister, it’s going to have all of you.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, Seattle

Comments | More in Health | Topics: child care, Lisa Lynn Sowder, maternity leave

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