According to the US Census, 44.6% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 are childless. Nearly half of those women who earn $100,000 or more do not have children. When I think of my five closest friends, 80% are childfree.
I’d like to believe that we live in an age in which all women’s choices can be respected, yet I realize that viewpoint is rather idealistic. There is still the presumption that heterosexual women should get married and have children – in that order. For some women, that is the path of their choosing, while for others, it isn’t. I hope for the day when being single after 35 or married without a child doesn’t evoke confusion or judgment.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about women’s choices and the need to respect the spectrum of options regarding relationships and family. As excited as I am to be expecting, I approach pregnancy with more pragmatism than sentimentality. I attribute that approach to a combination of my age and health experiences.
How have I approached pregnancy thus far?
"+1:" When friends ask how the three of us are doing, I respond as follows:
The Man, Flake [my dog] and I are great! Thanks!
I smile when friends refer to their babies-to-be as their “+1s” or any fraction thereof. But, I feel more comfortable saving the use of the term, “+1,” until she’s here. I’m thankful that she’s growing as she should be, but if she doesn’t keep growing inside of me, she can’t survive outside of me.
Sonogram Photographs: If you’re a regular reader, you know a lot about me. (At times, you might have found out far more than you’d like to know!) However, I won’t be sharing any sonogram photographs or as I refer to them, “placenta pics.” In the early stages of pregnancy, I think that the baby-to-be looks like a tadpole. In the latter stages, 3-D and 4-D technology creates some images that I find to be off putting.
“Mommy” and the Baby’s Name: I look forward to being a mom in four-and-a-half months, but I don’t feel comfortable when people call me “Mommy.” Likewise, although we’ve picked out a name, we’re not sharing that with anyone until after she’s born. (I appreciate that this pregnancy is a miracle, but I don’t want to tempt fate!)
Shopping for the Baby: I’m halfway through my pregnancy this week and haven’t bought one piece of baby clothing or any items for the nursery yet. I’ve said that I won’t begin to shop until she’s 24 weeks since that’s the stage at which she’s potentially viable. (Again, I’m not tempting fate!) In addition, there’s such excess when it comes to baby products. The world will go on if I don’t have a Diaper Genie or the perfect wallpaper trim when we come home from the hospital. I can’t get overwhelmed about the small stuff.
Online Resources: Once a week, I go onto one pregnancy website for a few minutes to read what's going on with my body and the fetus. Beyond that, I have neither the time nor the inclination to be inundated with information about my pregnancy. If my doctor says that all is going well and I feel good, I say a prayer of thanks and hope for more of the same at my next appointment.
I appreciate that I’m in the minority as to how I view being pregnant, and I would never tell someone else how to react to the experience. I’ll continue to respect whatever choices my friends make, regardless of which boxes they check off on a census form or how they view pregnancy and motherhood. At the end of the day, I hope and pray that my friends are happy and healthy, and I'm thankful that they hope the same for me.