Monday, February 25, 2008

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.

JPR






12 Comments:

At 11:21 PM, Blogger gayle said...

Congratulations, Jordan!!!! Welcome to the club. :)

xo
gayle

 
At 3:35 AM, Blogger Maryanne Stahl said...

oh, yay! I'm so glad you are talking about it. it's one of (if not the) most important things you will ever do. and you WILL get wrapped up in it. not necessarily the buying, but the moment-to-moment nurturing of a life.

anyway, woohoo! xxx

 
At 5:08 AM, Blogger Jim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5:10 AM, Blogger Jim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5:12 AM, Blogger Jim said...

I'm thrilled for you and hubby, Jordan! You're a super writer, and now I'm sure you'll do "the mommy thing" in some unique and wonderful way all your own.

(Sorry about the deletes above. I should have coffee before trying to post.)

 
At 9:35 AM, Blogger SusanD said...

Congrats, Jordan!

 
At 9:46 AM, Blogger Becoming Mommy said...

Congrats on your growing little baby.
And I don't think you have to get absorbed into the purchasing of the "best of the best" for everything.
I am cheap. And we only really decided to do that when it came to the car (my 2 seater wasn't gonna work) and the bigger kid carseat. Even so, sanity had to reign.
I get more absorbed into the little leaps they make in discovery. And that doesn't take big money. Remember...a kids favorite toy is often just a box.

 
At 5:32 PM, Blogger Trushka said...

I wondered how you could resist so long!

Fears will be many, probably, but joyfull moments will multiply and multiply & some day in a near future, you will think: "hey, how was I able to live without my beloved child?"

Being a working mum is something to be taken seriously. If you meet someone who doesn't, s/he has a problem, not you!

Much love,
Patricia

 
At 4:15 AM, Blogger Ellen said...

Now that you've joined the club, I have to start sending you cute pictures of babies with funny sayings on them.

I'm kidding. Everyone knows moms love cute pictures of kitties with funny sayings on them.

Seriously, just the other day I heard Dee Dee Myers on the radio talking about the all the positive ways motherhood changes us, and how valuable those changes can be in the corporate arena. Interesting stuff.

Glad your belly's out of the closet!

xo

 
At 2:39 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Gayle: thanks. Yours is a club I'm happy to be part of. Same with you Maryanne.

Jim, no worries about the deletes. Thanks for the good wishes! I just hope I don't go to one extreme and end up an "alterna-mom."

Dear Becoming--no I don't have to get wrapped up in the consumer model. But help me find a group of women who are likewise not wrapped up in it!! That's what I want the most.

Trushka--You're right. I get to be proud of being a working mom.

Ellen--Oh yes, nothing like cute slogans to change my mood, particularly when plastered across cute furry (or bald) creatures :) No seriously, your words are very encouraging. Motherhood is a transformation. And some people have to pay gurus to get those :)

 
At 7:39 AM, Blogger gerry rosser said...

Terrific news!

Although I never had children, I have been lucky enough to have a granddaughter (obviously not genetically) and she is the light of my life--and my Honey would not mind me saying that.

Gerry Rosser at twoblueday.wordpress.com.

When fixing your blog, please modernize it so I don't have to show up as a non-existent blogger.

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Emily B said...

this is so exciting--as someone who's known for a while, but has been too wrapped up in her own Mommy World to reach out to say so. don't sweat the consumer thing. in my experience, it's one of the least-defining facets of contemporary motherhood. it may seem overwhelming now that it's all ahead of you, but once the baby is in the here and now, all of that consumer planning-ahead stuff seems to fall by the wayside. (i think the consumer thing is really just a way to keep your anxious mom-to-be brain occupied while pregnant. when the baby's here, you won't have the time or inclination to buy stuff!)

 

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