Susan Shapiro’s article at The New York Times is as sad as anything I’ve read in a long time. She is the quintessential modern woman, having pursued a career and a life in the city through her childbearing years. Twice she got pregnant, and twice she aborted her children. She didn’t want to be pregnant before her life and finances were stable. She would “have it all” eventually–so she thought.
After entering her forties in a more secure situation, she decided to try and get pregnant only to find that she couldn’t. She had always said that she didn’t want the life of her mother, who begin having children at a very young age and who defied feminist expectation by becoming a stay-at-home mom. Shapiro now thinks very differently about her mother’s decisions and her own. She concludes:
While I’d fought for equality, vociferously an abortion rights advocate, I didn’t know that some women need to battle to have a baby, too, blazing a different path to motherhood. Wasn’t feminism about getting everything you want in life?
After her four children graduated from college, my still-dazzling mother enjoyed a thriving party-planning business for 15 years. In her 60s, she quit to be the grandmother of five. So she’d had jobs she enjoyed for 25 years, before and after motherhood. By 50, I felt blessed in work, love and real estate. Yet some nights I’m haunted walking by the empty room in our apartment. Maybe my mother aced the modern female clock by realizing: You can have it all, just not at the same time.
There is much confusion and regret in this one. It is still mistaken on so many points. Nevertheless, you should read the rest of it. The sexual revolution has its casualties, and this woman is one of them.