Skip to main content

Careers & Motherhood: Are They Totally Incompatible? (W&F V)

When I wrote about the possibility of infertility, many of you said I was courageous for sharing my story. I'm grateful, and, as always, encouraged by your responses and kind words.

But can I be honest? This topic is way more scary to me.

It's scary because my fertility is something I have no control over - there is no shame for me in that, no regrets or if-onlys.

But my choices about career-building are exactly that - choices. I have agency in these decisions, and that agency opens me up to errors, fear, judgment, and so much more.

And where I stand - not quite a year into marriage, with two terms left in my masters degree, it's all a tangled bundle of thoughts and feelings and desires and uncertainty, and internal pressure, and offhand comments, and impossibility.

It's impossible to do it perfectly.

It's impossible to have everything I want.

It's impossible to defend my decisions to the world.



This creates a great deal of inner turmoil for me. It isn't simply about what others expect of me, though that certainly weighs in, but about what I want, what I think will fulfill me, what I'm capable of. And I don't have answers to those things. Can I be a mother and work full-time? I don't know. I don't doubt it's possible for all, or even many, women. But I doubt it for myself.

For me, the choice to try to become a mother means setting aside the possibility of a traditional career. It might happen down the road, but it might not. I don't see how, at this point, I can confidently say, "I'll do both!"


There is a part of me that feels I owe it to my foremothers, my sisters around the world, and myself, to build a career before a family. It's a door that's open to me, and it's not one that is/has been open to all women.

And of course, there is my age-old fear of not living up to my potential. This is the root fear.


--

I read an article in The Atlantic this past week about a man who chose to be the "lead parent" in his quite academic family. I recommend it (it's a long one).


--

I don't think there's an easy answer to this. I think the hard part is that I have to navigate it, as we each do, without being able to guarantee anything, and with the knowledge that the world we live in is full of judgement, and I cannot let others' expectations make my decisions for me.

I'm so thankful that my partner is 100% supportive, that he believes in my capabilities in all areas of life, and that whatever we do, we do together.

I don't have much more to say on this - all my thoughts are other peoples' stories. The friends who are going for both, the friends who have chosen one over the other, the friends still deciding and re-deciding how they want to shape their lives. I'd rather let you tell your own stories (hint, hint)! And have a dialogue.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What About Travis!?

I just watched Hope Floats, the second movie in my I-really-need-to-vegetate night. Now that we have more than three channels, there are so many quality programs on TV! Like movies in the middle of the week. I enjoyed many of the lines in this movie, including:

"I went home and told my mama you had a seizure in my mouth."
(referring to her first french-kissing experience)

"Dancing's just a conversation between two people. Talk to me."
(the conversation in our living room then went,
Girl 1: Only Harry Connick Jr. could say that line without it being incredibly cheezy.
Boy: Without it being cheezy? That's all I heard. Cheez, cheez, cheez.
Girl 2: Yeah, but it was sexy, sexy cheez...sigh.)
"Better do what she says, Travis. Grandma stuffs little dogs."

Bernice: At home we had a pet skunk. Mama used to call it Justin Matisse. Do you think that's just a coincidence? All day long she would scream, "You stink Justin Matisse!" Then one day she just…

I Like to Keep My Issues Drawn

It's Sunday night and I am multi-tasking. Paid some bills, catching up on free musical downloads from the past month, thinking about the mix-tape I need to make and planning my last assignment for writing class.

Shortly, I will abandon the laptop to write my first draft by hand. But until then, I am thinking about music.

This song played for me earlier this afternoon, as I attempted to nap. I woke up somewhere between 5 and 5:30 this morning, then lay in bed until 8 o'clock flipping sides and thinking about every part of my life that exists. It wasn't stressful, but it wasn't quite restful either...This past month, I have spent a lot of time rebuffing lies and refusing to believe that the inside of my heart and mind can never change. I feel like Florence + The Machine's song "Shake it Out" captures many of these feelings & thoughts.

(addendum: is the line "I like to keep my issues strong or drawn?" Lyrics sites have it as "strong," …

Simone Weil: On "Forms of the Implicit Love of God"

Simone Weil time again! One of the essays in Waiting for God is entitled "Forms of the Implicit Love of God." Her main argument is that before a soul has "direct contact" with God, there are three types of love that are implicitly the love of God, though they seem to have a different explicit object. That is, in loving X, you are really loving Y. (in this case, Y = God). As for the X of the equation, she lists:

Love of neighbor Love of the beauty of the world Love of religious practices and a special sidebar to Friendship
“Each has the virtue of a sacrament,” she writes. Each of these loves is something to be respected, honoured, and understood both symbolically and concretely. On each page of this essay, I found myself underlining profound, challenging, and thought-provoking words. There's so much to consider that I've gone back several times, mulling it over and wondering how my life would look if I truly believed even half of these things...

Here are a few …