Thank you so much for your article, “I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry.” I may not particularly agree with the sentiment that it is acceptable to think less of others for choices that aren’t hurting anyone, except, arguably, themselves, but that is mostly because I feel guilty for doing the same thing myself.
I am married, in my early thirties and just beginning to try to conceive. My greatest fear about childbearing and rearing is that I will lose the self I have created over the years of becoming a professional writer and (non-practicing) attorney. I abhor the thought of becoming chained to my house and progeny because I made the choice to conceive. It is probably the greatest conflict I currently wrestle.
And what if I, like a dear friend, give birth to an autistic child? What then? Am I selfish because I would rather be successful and respected and well-traveled than spend every waking minute coaxing a child who shows me little or no affection to eat something other than peanut butter crackers? I am intelligent; I am artistic; these are not skills I imagine will be of use when listing all the names of the characters on Thomas the Train over and over and over.
And I don’t think that having a family is a better life simply because women love their children so much. We hear endlessly from mothers that the love they feel for their children makes up for the immense sacrifices they make to raise them. But I remember growing up with a mother who was not completely fulfilled by the role. It isn’t a happiness wand for everyone.
That being said, I believe that men are also to blame for this predicament that women face as mothers. However, women are probably more so. Because they accept it.
Weren’t we taught in the same classrooms that anyone, anyone, can become a doctor or lawyer or politician regardless of gender? What is the point of all that education and conditioning if decades later we think it is selfish of a woman to hire a nanny for her baby so she can sleep at night? Or put an infant in day care because she doesn’t want to stay at home? Or have dinner with friends on a week night without her children?
It’s as if women feel they have to ask permission from their partners to continue leading any semblance of an independent life after giving birth. And I, for two, look down on them for it. Pardon my language, but I oft want to shake such women and tell them to stop being such testicles (testicles being the more fragile of the genitalia). It is ridiculous.
Anyhoo, thanks again for your words. It’s about time one of us said them.