Coming Out...make that Bulging Out
For more than six months now I have resisted writing about the single most momentous event of my life for a number of reasons ranging from the superstitious to the absolutely practical. But I find that by not writing about it, I have less and less to say because it's like not writing about your amputation, or your Pulitzer prize, or finding your birth parents. By not talking about the fact that I am pregnant, I am not talking about what is most on my mind and what is most changing me. Frankly it's been terrifically hard to do.
Some people believe that you shouldn't talk about your child-to-be before birth because of all the things that could go wrong. I wish that I had such a noble reason. For me, the single driving force has been something I'm a little bit shocked to find myself admitting: I am afraid of not being taken seriously anymore. (And in the freelance world, of becoming disposable). Before you scoff, or talk about my suppressed gender issues, hear me out.
I come laden with my own prejudices to parenthood. I am gunshy of "mommy culture" as I think of it--a vortex of shopping and anxiety that seems all too easy to be sucked into. I'm irritated by the consumer message that crows into our ears that good mommies (and daddies, of course, but women are the target 99% of the time) should never be afraid to use the credit card on shiny plastic things that will make your children safer, smarter and more productive. I don't like talking about products for very long beyond getting practical advice before I spend a huge amount of money on something like a car seat or a stroller. In fact, this whole paragraph is starting to bore me already.
But the fact is--I am now a member of a club, whether I like it or not. Even though we put a lot of thought into the choice to become parents, and we are one of the last of our gang of friends to do so, it is unavoidable--Mommy culture is calling and, like any good representation of the Devil, it always comes in a pretty package or makes you feel guilty for not buying in, or creeps into your unconscious at night and gets into your skin. Must. Resist.
But the thing is, in joining up this new club I don't want to revoke my membership to the other club I've been a part of for a very long time. That of person who is taken seriously for what she thinks and says, not just because of her procreative abilities. I think this is the dilemma that "career women" have faced for as long as women have had careers. How to have both? Initially, you put the career on hold--even I believe in that. Babies need undivided attention and a strong, loving container for their very health. I have every intention of providing that. And I also know that the life of the mind, of the word, will have an equally powerful pull on me. I am curious and slightly afraid of how I will balance both.
But at least I'm talking about it now. No secret anymore.
I believe in the end that all works out exactly right.