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What Does Womanhood Mean?

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In the last year, I’ve followed seventeen pregnancies. Some were just acquaintances while others belonging to deep, heart-soldered friends. I’ve watched women become mothers, creating matter — a living being, a new person — out of love. I’ve seen lives transformed and bore witness to a fact that continues to amaze me: women are made with an incredible purpose.

A woman’s body brings forth life. She provides, protects, cherishes, and sacrifices. When we’re born, a woman is the first thing any of us needs. Yet, as we grow older this truth seems to fade.

Every woman has felt the scrutiny of high school, the whispers in gym class, or the pain of secrets shared. We all know what it’s like to taunt our reflection in the mirror, to participate in gossip, or use our words like a sword. Media makes it easy to pick out flaws and men can have a hand in it, but it’s often other women casting shadows on our souls. A woman has the power to physically bring forth life, and to emotionally take life away.

Do we realize the bond that women can share? Our eyes were meant to see joy in others and thus, find it in ourselves. Having and being a true friend is like finding the harmony in a song or making order out of the chaos. No matter how hard we try, we’ll never be self-sufficient – there’s something in our makeup that will always yearn to relate to others.

Building genuine friendships lets us discover our unique gifts, and though it often requires hard work, a friendship is never cultivated in vain. Instead of withdrawing, criticizing, and putting on masks, we need to step out in vulnerability and build a network of support. Some say fear is based on the unknown, but does that adage apply to women? If common sisterhood is a seed, it’s one from which even the sturdiest of oaks can grow.

Every woman carries within her the ability to create life, whether it’s another human being or just a supportive gesture that allows another gal to live freely and confidently. We all have the opportunity to bring forth sparks of hope in those around us, proclaiming greater potential as a collective than we ever could on our own. So let’s honor what it means to be a woman: a creator of life, a nurturer of hope.

By Nicole Ziza Bauer

Image by Stephanie Padilla