With an unbutton and a pat, it was announced. This was a long-awaited announcement for many. Eagerly anticipated, rabid rumors swirled in the past, all to be debunked. This time, it’s true, though.
Beyonce is pregnant! (Not me, sillies! Sorry to say, that ship has sailed and sunk. )
I am not wrapped up in celebrity, and I don’t particularly care about Beyonce/Jay Z, but this situation has gotten me thinking……
Initial reaction was to be pleased that they are going to have a baby. Y’all know I’m about mothers and babies, and have very strong opinions about mothering. And that’s putting it mildly.
I see another side to this. While, yes, Beyonce has said she would have a baby at 30 (and I won’t even go into mapping out the minutiae in a your life), she has also made it well-known she was terrified to actually have a baby, after watching her sister.
I’m not going to rant about births being too medical and the damage unneccessary (and scheduled) C-sections cause, not just for the mother, but for the baby, too. (The keyword here being unnecessary- certainly, there are time when lives are saved- I’m not talking about those times) That’s a topic for another blog entirely.
Nope, I’m talking about the role women often find themselves forced into. I agree, people often have preconceived ideas about birth (and breastfeeding). Often, those ideas are not based on actual fact; certainly not experience (if it’s the first for a mother), and often, those preconceived ideas affect decisions mothers make on every single front.
The easy answer is to ensure that every woman gets fact- solid information based on science and *good* studies that aren’t backed by companies who have vested interest in the “outcome” (like artificial baby milk manufacturers, for example), and let those mothers make their own decisions. There is no replacement for critical thinking.
Since we all know that’s not going to happen any time soon because there’s just too much money tied up in it and I as a single person don’t actually have much sway in the big business arena and I have no designs on becoming politically active, the only real avenue for change available to me is what happens in my home.
Are you totally confused?
My rant today is about the social perception of women. I am not a bra-burning feminist in the traditional sense. Before you go throwing rocks at me, let me explain.
I love women. I think women are God’s gift to the world. Women are unique; we are not men. We have a distinct place in the world and that place is no less than a man’s place in the world. I believe in equal pay for equal work. I believe in equal opportunity. If a woman can do the same job as a man, she should be paid the same and get the same benefits that would be afforded to a male counterpart. Women and men, though, ARE different.
And from this fact, is where this issue stems. The problem, as I see it, is society in general. Roles are assigned to people based on gender- really, it’s true- and this is why women in the workplace often get the short end of the stick. Women who have children miss more days of work. More than that, women who have children are *expected* to miss more days of work than men with children.
Women are expected to want to have children. Certainly (and my husband can attest to this), if a woman has a ticking clock, it can be LOUD and can-and usually will- dominate her every waking thought.
But is that ticking real? Is it really a desire the actual woman has, or has it been so engrained in society that children are what women should want that it’s really the expectation of children that is ticking and not so much the woman’s desire?
When I was growing up, the expectation was that I would go to college, meet a man, get married, and stay home when the babies came. True to form, while my path may have veered and taken its own route, where am I now? I’m married, with 4 kids. Yep, I mostly stay home with them (although I’ve been active volunteering for a good many years and now have a very part-time job that deals with kids), and we homeschool.
Those are not choices and decisions I question. I whole heartedly believe that in the early years, the child has an intense need for his mother’s presence that is as basic as its need for food. After all, the child has no say in this deal, and if you are going to have them, there are basic things they *really* need, and are entitled to, for natural development.
My sticking point is this, though: What is wrong with a woman not wanting children? Why do we as a society ostracize them? Why do we think less of a woman who isn’t married and doesn’t want kids or who is married but doesn’t want children? Why has the “in club” in adult women become exclusive to only those who have children? It is just so we can sit around and tell our war stories about pregnancy and birth?
You probably know by now that out of my four kids, three of them are girls. You probably already know, too, that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. And my personal struggle is trying to be content. Yes, I’m grateful for my life; for my family and living situation. Yes, I’m grateful for the opportunities I get to experience because of the that situation. And yes, motherhood IS the most challenging job out there on the planet. It’s probably also one of the least societally acknowledged jobs. Dirty Jobs has got nothing on motherhood!
I want my girls to know- and to truly understand- that I don’t have any expectations (besides moving out of the house and being self-sustaining adults ). I want them to be happy. I want them to know themselves well enough to make their own choices, and follow their own interests. I can’t do it for them. I can’t live their lives for them; my feelings about their choices should never take precedence or replace their own.
I want them to follow their own paths; unencumbered and unpressured by me or society. I will help them achieve their dreams and goals in any way I can And, if somewhere along the way, they choose to have kids, I’ll be thrilled. If they don’t, though, they will never be “less than” or “missing out” because it’s not my life; it’s theirs.