Thursday, 1 October 2009

What Do We Give Up?

Honestly, I don't only want to write about stroller reviews and mucus plugs (yep, I said it). There are lots of things (besides my bladder) that keep me up at night thinking. Not because I'm scared, guilty, or worried, but simply because I can't wrap my head around it and come to any sort of satisfying conclusion. One thing I've been pondering as of late is how much we, as women choosing to have children, give up. Like most little girls raised in the 80's I am a product of "you can be anything you want to be," and revisited fairy tales in which Cinderella found her own damn shoe, decided she wasn't a big fan of dancing or princes, and moved to Berkeley where she shacks up with a shorn-headed Rapunzel.
I know the debate about whether or not it's possible to "have it all" has been argued to the point where it's beyond cliche, and I'm not trying to revive it here. I'm sure the journey is different for each woman, but I do think every woman is forced to make some pretty important choices on the road to motherhood, and do these choices speak to any sort of a larger picture? For my part, I've certainly put my career on hold- not simply to have this baby but also to move to the UK, and I'm ok with that. But part of me (probably the part of me that came of age watching a young Diane Keaton single handedly raise her adopted daughter, tough out a New England winter, and build an organic baby food company in Baby Boom) feels guilty for not feeling guilty.
It's not only physical aspects of having a child that cause other important life events to take a back seat. For many women, work doesn't fade into the background just because you have to take time off. It's psychological as well. This is something I never really understood before, but pregnancy really is all-consuming. I am always, always, always thinking of this baby- even when I'm talking about something else. Hell, I've devoted a whole blog to it. Emails to friends are basically just disjointed ramblings about baby and pregnancy (sorry guys), and it's something over which I have very, very little control. Other pregnant women I talk to report the same thing, even those who have devoted themselves for years to building a career, always making it the priority, find their minds wandering to Babies 'R Us during important meetings. It's nature, it's natural, so then why do I sometimes feel the Ghosts of Feminists Past breathing down my neck? Is it all those gender theory and history classes (curse you, Laura Lee Downs!!)? I'm not sure, although I suspect it's the deep, deep appreciation I have for the fact that I can make these choices, and a desire to honor the hard work of others that made having both a career and a baby (or just a baby, or just a career) a possibility.


  1. Meg, I loved this post! I have been blogging for about two years now and so glad to find another one out there. Your post is so true! Pregnancy is definitely all-consuming. I find an instant connection with all pregnant women and mothers all of a sudden. It's such a fabulous thing. Love to you and the baby!

  2. If you feel those Ghosts of Feminists Past breathing down you neck, it's because they fought so hard for you to have the very choices that you have. It was and still is all about women having the freedom to make their own choices! Pregnancy and motherhood are powerful - enjoy the obsession. You know I do! Love you.

  3. I agree with Jan! Having a baby and even being a stay-at-home mom can absolutely be feminist choices. I think you'll be a great mom in part because you're so thoughtful about this stuff. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. - Jackie

  4. yeah! your bump, your bump, your lovely baby bump! cant wait to see a big ol' belly ;o) can't lie! soooo fun! congrats! you two are so cute! love the pic with the horseshoes! ;o)