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A Blessed Life but a Heavy Burden

I am sad because I never knew my father, my half sisters, or my half brothers. I never knew half my culture, language, or country. So people see only half of who I am.

And, honestly, I never knew my other half either, as my mom was mentally ill and couldn’t tell me who she was or what I came from on her side.

Now here I am, lost, myself the mother of three daughters who look to me for direction—but I can’t give them any perspective. I can tell them only that they are American girls, like the title of the Tom Petty song.

They are a mix of me and him, with a way better life than I ever imagined possible. I hope for so much more for them. I look back and kiss the earth, for where I am now once seemed impossible. For my girls, I hope for freedom of choice, freedom of path, freedom of independence, and freedom of reproduction.

Says me, a woman who appreciates the right to reproductive freedom, who grants it to others, and who feels like an imposter in so many ways but who also feels thankful that I am here to fight for those who have trod similar paths, now and as long as I live.

I feel blessed to be able to share this reflection as one of my daughters, who shares my mom’s birthday, turns 12; as I look back on the nearly 20 years that have passed since my mom was reclaimed by the earth; as I look forward to the rest of my career as a family physician and provider of reproductive and maternal health care in New Mexico.

Jessica Taylor Goldstein
Albuquerque, New Mexico


2 thoughts on “A Blessed Life but a Heavy Burden”

  1. maureen longeway

    You inspire on the regular Jessi. You show your daughters how to truly live and work for what you believe in, daily, and that’s some spectacular direction and perspective. Much love from WI.

    1. Hey Mo. . I know you also inspire as well and share burdens and loss and triumphs and vulnerabilities. Inspired by our work, our babies, our role models. I’ll always remember sitting across from you and breastfeeding on our lunch break then back to our patients and teaching residents. Thanks for the support always.

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