I sorta feel for Kate Middleton right now. It’s only been a few months since she married Prince William, and already the tabloids are demanding a baby bump.
Why is it that the moment a woman gets married she is seen as an empty womb just waiting to be filled?
I’ve been dealing with this for eight years now, and it’s hard not to notice the disappointment in people’s eyes when I tell them that Dan and I are not planning to start a family tomorrow. To be honest, I secretly hoped that a successful career and a couple of books would be welcomed as achievements worthy of celebration, but with each career goal I meet, someone inevitably asks if this means I can finally start having babies.
It’s a fact of life: Women tend to be written off as incomplete until they achieve motherhood, which means we get pestered at every point along the way:
When will you start dating?
When will you get married?
When will you have children?
The trick to dealing with these questions graciously is to first remember that they are essentially invitations. I try to keep in mind that the moms who bug me about parenthood simply want to welcome me into their community as one of their own…which means they like me and care about me and want to spend more time with me. That’s not a bad thing.
Secondly, it’s important for me to consistently remind myself that I matter, just as I am. As women, we battle daily against the lie that we will matter just as soon as we lose 10 pounds, look like the model on the magazine cover, get our house cleaned, attract a man, produce a child, “have it all,” and achieve the American dream. If I know in my heart that I am worthy of love at every stage of my life, then I won’t waste time waiting for it; instead, I will receive it. The Source is ever-present, without boundaries, and without end.
But still. If I go to one more baby shower in which I am asked, "So, when is it your turn?" my head just might explode.
So what are people waiting for you to do next? Get married? Have children? Potty-train?
What do you say to yourself to remember that you matter, just as you are?
I'd also love to hear a guy's take on this. Do men face similar pressures?
[Note: I will say that some of the very best advice I've received about motherhood came from your responses to my "Afraid of Motherhood" post several months ago. Best comment thread EVER.]
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