I went to a baby shower yesterday for my friend, also named Anna. I don't know her well, we are friends through Junior League, but she is very sweet and I was so happy to celebrate her impending baby girl.
The thing is -- it was sort of weird to attend a baby shower for someone else named Anna. Even writing her a card was weird. "Anna -- Congratulations on your wonderful baby girl! I am so happy for you." And I sat there reading my own name being congratulated for being pregnant with a baby girl. And it just felt so... I don't know, a lot of things. Weird, sad, funny.
I realized that once you're pregnant and/or have had a baby, it's perfectly socially acceptable to say "I've always wanted to be a mom!" However, if you are a 28-year-old single girl, it is so totally NOT okay to say "I've always wanted to be a mom!" Because once that gem pops out of your mouth, you are desperate, lonely and crazy. Not to mention someone is going to pontificate about you and your "biological clock." (I hate that crap.)
The truth is, no one wants to be seen as desperate, lonely and/or crazy. Or any combination of the above. But I firmly believe -- no, I KNOW -- that there are many, many girls out there who are not desperate or crazy but who would very much like to get married and have a baby. These are professional women; they've gone to law school and medical school, they're journalists and they work at non-profits. They own their own homes or rent their own apartments, they pay all of their bills, they are interesting, funny, great conversationalists and tons of fun. And they would all like to get married and have a baby.
Does this mean that they are trying to marry themselves off to the next guy they brush into on the metro or the grocery store? Um, no. Does this mean that they plan their wedding to every guy they go on two dates with? Again, no. Please read again: they are not crazy. But why is it not okay to talk about an aspiration to be a mother? It's totally cool to aspire to be a doctor or a teacher or an astronaut. But "I would like to be a mom" -- you just zip that up right now! And also, buy yourself six cats and some XXL sweatpants because the desperation is wafting off of you like smog in LA and who wants that?
The older you get, the harder it gets too. Your friends have kids, you don't and they have those "moms night out!" nights together. To which you are, for obvious reasons, not invited. You also get to be on the receiving end of those sweet questions like "Why aren't you married?" Ummmm... honestly how does one answer that? "OhImean,well,marriedyouknow,ohisthatmyphoneringing?Gottago."
I guess what I'm trying to say is -- one day I would like to be married and have a baby. And quite clearly that is not an okay thing to publicly proclaim. I need to talk about my job or the dance studio or the Young Professionals Committee or the Junior League AND HOW MUCH I LOVE MY LIFE! !!!!! But I absolutely cannot even insinuate or even think to myself that I'd like a baby. Because that makes me desperate.
The thing is -- I do like my job. And the dance studio. And my life. I feel like I live a very full life with lots of love and interesting stories. But I don't think that's mutually exclusive with also wanting to be married with a baby one day. And having to feel like a weirdo for wanting that makes it even worse. Like I know few people who even read this blog and I'm almost afraid to even write this here.
So what do we do besides have our middle-of-the-night parking lot with only one other girlfriend conversations about our hopes and worries? Maybe stop talking about it in the embarrassed, hushed tones like we're confessing we want to kick our dog or bought a fake Prada bag. Keep living our lives and praying for acceptance of God's will -- and also teaching 22 3- and 4-year-olds at ballet if you are so inclined. (And then going home later and thanking the Good Lord Jesus for the quiet of your house!)
All I'm saying is it's not cool to have to pretend you don't want something for your life that you want. I think if we brought this out into the open and made it okay, we'd find that our network is a LOT bigger than we even think.