Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:

My path as a woman has been far from cookie-cutter. Years as an active alcoholic barfly left wounds that, decades later, I’m still working through. A marriage ended in divorce and annulment. I am childless and unmarried.

And I celebrate, exult in, embrace, and increasingly marvel at my womanhood.

Though I’m way past childbearing age, in Christ my life bears ever richer fruit.

The culture, by contrast, has now succeeded in almost completely pathologizing womanhood. Puberty, menstruation, our attractiveness to men, our capacity to bear children, our longing and fitness for marriage and motherhood, menopause: every facet of our lives, we are told, consists of unremitting pain, shame, and oppression.


8 Replies to “WHAT IT IS TO BE A WOMAN”

  1. Heather E. Crotty says: Reply

    Hoping Ireland has brought a little more child likeness to your life! I was just wondering, if you don’t mind sharing, where did you stay in San Miguel de Allende. Thinking of taking a break down in the area sometime.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      HI Heather, I stayed at a place called Casa Mision de San Miguel–a kind of once-in-a-lifetime splurge. Just lovely with a rooftop garden and they make you breakfast each morning. No room service, ice or fridge in room so you have to go out for everything which for me was not a hardship…gorgeous walking up and down the hills, winding around the streets…Cathedral 10 or 15 minute walk and many other churches all around…I would go for longer next time and try to get a housesit or long-term airbnb. But Casa Mision was dreamy.

  2. Loved this column! My niece recently expressed bewilderment at her daughter, only 11 years old, who is wondering what her sexual identity should be. I suggested that my niece talk about the joys and blessings, and, yes, the challenges, of being a woman, the identity that her daughter’s body was born to be.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Ha ha, don’t get me going, Mary! It bewilders me that AS WOMEN, we have made womanhood so deeply unattractive, such a hideous, lifelong burden that young girls are now horrified at the thought of growing into women…why on God’s green earth are we not encouraging ourselves to grow into what we ARE, into the glory–with as you say the attendant challenges and struggles–of how we were made? This is our birthright…and trying to be someone or something else can’t possibly fulfill the deepest longings of our hearts…

  3. Susan Manus says: Reply

    Beautifully written. I too am unmarried and childness, definitely not by choice. But I am grateful that I am the gender that was capable of bearing children, even if I didn’t have any myself. There is suffering in being a woman, but there is such joy and honor too.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Yes, Susan!! We bear the cross and crown of our vulnerability, heartaches, and joys HUMBLY and gratefully…and as you say, therefore with honor…

  4. Monique Rivett-Carnac says: Reply

    What a beautifully written ” Song of Song ” I would say

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thanks so much, Monique–there’s a reason Mary was crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth!