Monday, September 19, 2005

Yarrr~! Instead of Having Babies, Women Could be Pirates!

Oh, look! Another hysterical "OMG, I FORGOT TO HAVE CHILDREN!!!" peice! Yarrr!

Women who wait until their late 30s to have children are defying nature and risking heartbreak, leading obstetricians have warned.

This assumes:

1) all women want to have children

2) not having children is heartbreaking

2) women don't want to become pirates


5 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Actually, these assumptions:

1) all women want to have children
2) not having children is heartbreaking
3) women don't want to become pirates

were not made.

1) Nothing is mentioned or implied that all women want to have children, just that many (not all) are choosing (and some choose not to become pregnant) to wait until later in life to try to become pregnant.

2) It can be heartbreaking if you do want to have children and find, that because of your age, your chances of being able to have greatly diminished or else much more of your energy, time and finances end up being devoted to becoming pregnant and having a child to the point that all else is shunted aside.

3) The article is agnostic on the subject of pirates. 

Posted by One-eyed Chuck

Anonymous said...

1) Unfortunately, statements like, "Women want to 'have it all' but biology is unchanged; deferring defies nature and risks heartbreak," aren't specific about which women want to have it all, "all" including children.

2) Yes, but not having children is not heartbreaking to all people, particularly those who refer to potential pregnancies aptly as "pregnancy scares." In this instance, not being pregnant would not be heartbreaking. For those who wait to have children and find they cannot, it's all OK! This is what adoption is for! Thing of all the kids we could raise in a piractical way! Think of the Halloween costumes! Unless, of course, it's not really about raising children but about passing on one's immortal seed. In that case, yes, you should have gotten around to that earlier...

3) "Where we can, we should be helping women to have children earlier." This may prevent women from becoming pirates, as everyone knows that you must build up your Dread Pirate Mary reputation early on, so others shiver at the mere mention of your name by the time you're forty! It's all about the name. 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Anonymous said...

Funny to read this today. I am 41, having waited until I got married (at 38) to try to have children. What can I say: I wanted my child to have a two-parent home, if I could swing it. I had a miscarriage last year that was devastating, and am going in to the doc tomorrow to be told (I already can tell) that this one hasn't taken, either, and it's miscarriage #2. That is heartbreaking. It's not "all OK" just because I can adopt.

Your comment - perhaps for the sake of a glib phrase, and not meant to be unkind - that women like me "should have gotten around to [it] earlier" if we wanted our "own" children is breathtakingly insensitive. I raised myself, and tried my best to raise three younger siblings in a wildly dyfunctional home, buried both my parents, put myself through grad school and survived some pretty appalling abuse before being ready to be a decent adult and wife, much less a mother. And I should have had kids earlier? Only if I wanted to add to the crime problem in this country by having kids I was not able to properly raise.

I almost have it all (based on my version of "all"). I am heartbroken that I am walking around, again, carrying a baby with no heartbeat. And I have always wanted to be a pirate, still want to, and never more so than right now, so that I could slam you upside the head with the greatest respect and with flat of my cutlass, to ensure you remember that there are things to be glib about - but women who want to have kids and can't is not one of them.

With much love (because cutlass notwithstanding, I remain a giant fan of you, your blog, and women exercising their freedom of speech at the top of their lungs, even when I hate what they are saying), I remain,

Your Devoted Reader


Posted by Jennifer Warwick

Anonymous said...

Hey Jennifer,

I respect and admire you as well, and this certainly isn’t the first time I’ve gotten my ass handed to me when I talk about pregnancy and child rearing. I do realize I came off as wildly insensitive, as I was keeping with the day’s pirate theme, but I’ve gotten in trouble with such glib remarks in “real” life as well. When one of my friends, who passionately wanted to get married and have children, told me she had a miscarriage, I responded, “Well, it’s probably just not the right time. When your body’s ready, you’ll get there.” I then nattered off about the day’s happenings.

This was not the appropriate response.

I come from a family of overly fertile women, which colors my view of pregnancy and childbirth and is probably the reason I’m so glib about the whole thing. All we have to do is roll off the bed, and 9 months later, look at that, a whole new person. My brother was conceived despite the use of both spermicide and a diaphragm. I was conceived a mere 30 days after mom went off the pill. I have a cousin who was told she wouldn’t be able to have children, and one broken condom later she had a baby girl followed soon after by a baby boy. I had an aunt who’d been told for years and years that it was going to be impossible for her to have children, and woke up one morning to find she was pregnant – she delivered a baby girl at the age of 43 (don’t give up!).

My mother had no trouble getting and carrying three pregnancies, but she watched her brother’s wife suffer through miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage. My mother hadn’t been too keen on having children, it just sort of happened that way, but her brother’s wife wanted nothing else. It was certainly heartbreaking to see her in such pain over it, though I could never understand, if she wanted to raise children that badly, why she didn’t opt to raise someone else’s. But for many women, I learned, it wasn’t about raising children so much as it was about the experience of pregnancy and birth, of baby showers and nights in bed feeling the baby kick.

“Missing” those moments, those experiences, were a big part of the heartache.

It’s been a difficult thing for me to wrap my head around because it’s something I’ve never actively wanted. I’m clear that I’ve got a birthing window of 30-35, and after that I’m pretty much done. I’m lucky in that I really don’t have an interest in having a child, and if I did try for one in 8 or 9 years and nothing took, I’d be OK with that. Raising a child is a difficult, amazing endeavor, but if I don’t do it, that’s OK. I can help others raise their own children.

I have a great belief in bodies. I believe our bodies know when things are right and when things aren’t. If my body rejects a pregnancy, I’d like to believe I’d understand that – it wasn’t the right time, my body wasn’t ready. It’s a part of life, it *is* life, it’s birth and death.

Right now the idea of being pregnant is just about the most terrifying thing I can think of to happen to me. I’ve endeavored for nearly a decade to avoid having children; and I know when I’ve got my best window. If I choose to give it a go after that, well, that’ll be a choice I’ve made, and I’m aware that I’ll have to live with the consequences.

Will it be heartbreaking to miss out on birthing a baby because I aspired to be a pirate? Perhaps it will. Or perhaps I’ll be OK with it. After all, when one aspires to be a pirate, there’s going to be some give and take about other aspects of one’s life. That’s how it goes.

This is still probably coming off as heartless, but I don’t mean it that way. What I mean is that life is give and take, and having babies is just one part of that. It’s not everything. And we all bring our own experiences to the table, we all weigh things differently, and we all accept the choices we’ve made to get where we are. Yes, it’s difficult, as are many of the choices we make, but we make them.

Is it more difficult to have children after 40? Sure it is. But it still happens, it's just a lot tougher. That's the road. It's a tough road. But it's a road freely taken.

And that's the best sort of road, no matter how tough it is to tread.

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your note back. I do hope that someday soon freedom of choice for women includes more compassion for women who chose NOT to have kids, because one choice is not "better" than other. My sister doesn't want them either, and I have no doubt she will be the super-cool aunt that we always wanted for ourselves, having grown up the only girls in a giant extended Irish Catholic, testosterone heavy family.

My husband and I knew that, being older, our odds were long. We decided before getting married no IVF, no drugs, no surrogate moms, any of that. It was the traditional way or adopt one of the many wonderfl kids out there who need moms that that Angelina Jolie and Mia Farrow haven't snatched up yet. :-)

I've grieved bigger things than this, I know things happen for a reason, and I trust my body to take care of me...and I believe what you told your girlfriend was absolutely correct...there are just days you can't hear it, you know?

I'd write more but the vicodin is kicking in - I'll just say thanks again for your note back and I hope you get it all :-)

PS My face pirate Grace O'Malley had a son or two. If memory serves they were a big disappoinment... 

Posted by Jennifer Warwick