Is there anything more irritating than hearing people say “you should have a baby,” “why haven’t you had a baby,” “you’ll make a great mother,” “have a baby already, sheesh,” and/or “have more babies!” Really, all of that is really saying to women, “you have a uterus, stupid, use it–what the hell is wrong with you?!..forget your career and aspirations.” Yep, I’m sure that’s the kind of thing hard working women in the professional world want to hear. Women who got there through hard work and remaining childfree thanks to the “miracle” of contraceptives. And what about college women? Should we keep telling them in a sense they should only enjoy having a career for what–two to five years and then start popping out those babies, because that’s what they’re “supposed” to do? Or at least expected of them because well, they do have an uterus and some ovaries. Of course there’s nothing wrong with women waiting to have children until they’re relatively financially stable and their careers are where they want them to be. A lot of women do that nowadays. And there’s nothing wrong with having children and women wanting to be mothers someday. I don’t want any children, but hell, if this woman over here or there wants children, then go for it. My only problem is this guilt-tripping and nagging crap we see in the media, the obsession over pregnant celebrities, and the relentless fussing over and even antagonizing of professional women (or women in general) who choose not to have children. Not to mention this ridiculous notion that women must be in constant worry over the state of their ovaries and center their whole lives around them. Now I’ll let this post from Ms. Musings continue with the gentle criticism over this obsession of women’s reproductive choices in relation to their careers.
Tina Fey, the Saturday Night Live writer and weekend news desk co-anchor, is reportedly due to give birth to her first child in September. While ms.musings usually doesn’t go ga-ga over celebrity pregnancies, we will this time, just to resurrect one of Fey’s funniest and most poignant SNL news commentaries — this bit from 2002, sparked by the abundance of must-have-baby media and Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s book, Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children.
To the article…
The cover story of New York Magazine this week is Baby Panic. This goes perfectly with the other magazines on my coffee table — Where Are The Babies? (US), Why Haven’t You Had A Baby? (People), and, For God’s Sake Have A Baby (Time). Thanks Time Magazine, this is just what I need — another article so depressing that I can actually hear my ovaries curling up.
I would be worried if my ovaries shriveled up for hormonal reasons. But if my uterus shriveled up I would be dancing around like an idiot for joy. That would finally get people to stop being so condescending and rude to me whenever I say I don’t want to have children. Sorry to gross you folks out and interrupt, moving on….
According to author Sylvia Hewlett, career women shouldn’t wait to have babies because our fertility takes a steep drop-off after age 27. And Sylvia’s right — I definitely should’ve had a baby when I was 27, living in Chicago, over a biker bar, pulling down a cool 12 grand a year. That woulda worked out great.
But Sylvia’s message is feminism can’t change nature, which is true. If feminism could change nature, Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be all oiled up on the cover of Maxim.
Ladies, there’s no reason to panic though: it’s out of your control anyway. Either your cooter works, or it doesn’t.
My mom had me when she was 40, and this was back in the 70s when the only “fertility aid” was Harvey’s Bristle Cream. So, waiting is just a risk that I’m going to have to take.
And, I don’t think I could do fertility drugs, because, to me, 6 half-pound translucent babies is not a miracle! I’d rather adopt a baby. I don’t need a kid that looks like me. I was not a cute kid. I looked like a cross between that chick from the Indigo Girls… and the other chick from the Indigo Girls! Not a cute kid.
So who cares if you made Partner at the law firm, you finally got some tenure at the university, you just earned your bachelors degree, you bought your own home out of the city–did you have that baby you were supposed to have, because you’re still a female and hey–there’s fertility drugs to help out! And the woman over there/here can have a child or more if she wants to. Nothing wrong with that. But give me the crappy studio apartment in NYC, with the always irate landlord/lady, ridiculously high rent, mean neighbors who hate my dog, and the 9 to 5 job any time over children. That’s my life choice so prego-obsessers can go bother someone else about their ovaries. Or just stop guilt-tripping and nagging women about maternity all together. Let women make their own decisions on entering motherhood or not, without the guilt-trip and nagging–please. We’re not stupid, we can make our own decisions without the constant nagging from ovary-obsessed, rude people. And many of us do anyway. I’m sure there would be a lot more happier mothers out there if some didn’t feel as if everyone around them–via gentle words and subtle nagging–pushed them out of their careers and into motherhood, without giving a damn about how she felt. Many of these women wanted to be mothers anyway, but when everyone else wanted them to and not when the women wanted to? Whose going to have to go through pregnancy, labor, usually have most of the caregiving burden (though that’s changing thankfully), and of course sacrifice their career for awhile? And there are the women who ignore it, have children on their terms and a ‘huzzah’ for them. How do you do it?
/end of rant. Oh and Happy Friday.