I wrote the letter because I was on campus for a Women and Leadership conference that was followed by a breakout session. This afforded current female undergraduates an opportunity to speak informally with alumnae. There were eight young women at my table and they were told that I am a human resources professional and an executive coach, so naturally we all chatted about career planning, resume writing, and interview techniques. Their eyes seemed to glaze over from yet again hearing still more advice about how to succeed in the working world.

Then I looked at each of them and asked, “Do any of you girls want to someday get married and have children?” Their jaws dropped. They were stunned by the very question. They looked cautiously at each other before sheepishly raising their hands. All eight aspired to marriage and motherhood—but not one of them wanted to admit it.

Now it was my turn to be stunned. These amazing young women were reluctant to share their heartfelt hopes, for fear of critical judgment. It was clear to me that someone had to talk with them honestly about finding husbands, getting married, and having babies.

That someone might as well be me.

from Susan Patton’s Marry Smart, here.

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