Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
An Olympic gold medalist who told the press that she was “born to have babies and play volleyball” has sparked the ire of a few old-school feminists who don’t believe in the beauty of motherhood.
Kerri Walsh Jennings is an Olympic volleyball player who is competing in the Rio games with the hopes of adding a fourth gold medal to her collection. The talented young mother of three has caused quite a stir among feminist extremists who aren’t happy with her outspoken love and respect for motherhood.
“I feel like I was born to have babies and play volleyball,” Walsh-Jennings told the press.
“Before I had more kids, I was like, this feels trivial. I’d been playing for so long, and I was like I need balance. All my eggs are in this one basket and it’s very self-centered and self-focused. They [her children] gave me that perspective and balance I thought I was missing. It took my game and my desire and my passion for life to the next level. I am hugely indebted to my children.”
She boldly proclaimed her desire to win a fourth gold medal – and have a fourth child.
One would think the diehard feminists among us would be proud of how well she has been managing the stress of family and career, but her positive statements about motherhood appear to have ruffled the feathers of extreme feminists who took to Twitter to bash her along with the press who gave her the spotlight.
For example, one woman tweeted: “Did you just see the piece about Kerri Walsh Jennings? ‘I was born to have babies…’ What is @nbc doing to us?!”
She followed this tweet with another disparaging message for the network: “And now a package about Kerri Walsh Jennings: ‘I was born to have babies.’ Is Donald Trump running the network now? Get it together.”
Walsh-Jennings appears to have a lot more together than this throwback to the 1970s. After all, she’s got three Olympic Gold Medals to show for herself – as well as a loving family and a terrific attitude about her two great passions in life – her family and her sport.
Compare this to the sad story of another professional volleyball player, Penelope Trunk, who opted for the feminist “choice” of having an abortion rather than do anything that might sideline her career.
Acting on the advice of her mother and friends, who believed Trunk had too much going for herself to “ruin it” with a baby, she went to Planned Parenthood for an abortion. But things didn’t go so well.
“ . . . I had a panic attack. I was on the table, in a hospital gown, screaming,” she writes on her blog. “The nurse asked me if I was a religious Christian. The boyfriend asked me if I was aware that my abortion would be basically illegal in seven more days. I couldn’t stop screaming. I was too scared. I felt absolutely sick that I was going to kill a baby. And, now that I know more about being a mother, I understand that hormones had already kicked in to make me want to keep the baby. We left. No abortion.”
A few days later, she went back and this time, she went through with it. “I knew that if I did not go through with it this time, no one would do the abortion. I was too far along. So I did it. I went to sleep with a baby and woke up without one. Groggy. Unsure about everything. Everything in the whole world.”
She would get pregnant a second time and, after overcoming feelings of wanting to kill herself, once again had an abortion.
“I completely checked out emotionally. I scheduled the abortion like I was on autopilot,” she wrote.
Years later, after becoming the mother of two, she now realizes that “You don’t need to get an abortion to have a big career.”
Commenting on the tale of the two volleyball players, Nancy French writes for Patheos: “I’m not sure how high Penelope’s volleyball career went before she retired, but even one medal wouldn’t have been worth the lives of two people. Years later, she has children and realizes what Kerri Walsh Jennings already knew. You don’t have to sacrifice your children for a career.”
But for Trunk, it’s too late. The horror of what she went through will remain forever inscribed in her mind and heart because the “autopilot” only works for so long.
Contrast her dark experience with the radiant joy of Walsh-Jennings who beams with pride over her beautiful young family.
When you compare the lives of these two women, it’s pretty obvious who made the better choice.
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