Modern feminism and the predatory reproductive technology industry have sold us a lie.
Hi. I paid to leave this comment. That's how desperate the situation is that you describe. I am 42. After living my life hardcore by the third wave feminist "philosophy," circumstances forced me to realize that for me personally my power career paired with an effeminate pushover male feminist husband would never come and maybe I didn't even want that. My career tanked (medical reasons), and I have the husband I have -- he's a good man, a strong person, and he's helping me pick up the pieces. I thought I never wanted kids -- we both thought we didn't -- but we actually did. I knew it would be hard but I'm leaving it up to nature to tell me if it really is too late for me. It might be. I'm willing to accept that and own my mistakes, even though at the time I thought those feminist choices made sense for me. He thought accommodating those beliefs was what made a good person -- and of course what was he supposed to do? He loves me and wanted me to be happy. But here we are trying to start a family in our 40s and you're 100% correct that this is not an easy time. "Assisted reproductive technology" was in fact an incredibly manipulative experience and wigged us both out. I had gone to a clinic just to ask some questions, and ultimately we said no thanks. Surrogacy? Forget it. That's just creepy. And nobody talks about how fucking mind bogglingly expensive it is. And at 40, even if you freeze your eggs, your progesterone might be too low to STAY pregnant and then goodbye 40,000 dollars (PER TRY). Even while jabbing yourself in the thigh everyday for months to trick your body into thinking it's 25, going insane from all the hormones. Have fun paying off your no-baby loan until you're 80.
Scream it from the rooftops. Women cannot have it all. In fact, men can't either. EVERYBODY ON THE PLANET has to make choices and sacrifices. IT'S LIFE.
College-aged women need to hear this over and over and over until it sticks.
What really helped me put things in perspective was the book by Arlene Rosen Cardozo “Sequencing” written in 1986. It is a creative book about how to have it all ( what ever that is for you) but not all at the same time. As a dentist who put a great deal of time and effort into becoming trained, I was still able to honour having a family, marriage and a career. The male pattern of career building does not need to be applicable to all people and breaking those patterns is possible. I simply would rather die than not been able to bond and breastfeed my newborn and the idea that babies are ever separated from the mother is heartbreaking.
I married my husband at 24 but we didn't have our first child till I was 31. Although we traveled and established our careers, I wish we didn't wait so long because being a mom to teenagers while going through perimenopause is hard! I know we may not all have the choice but biologically we are meant to have children younger. I wish I heard that message in my 20's, back then people seemed to look at me funny because I was already married when the trend was to wait till at least 30....
This one got me to pay to subscribe even though I try to avoid seeing the word, "Kardashian."
I had my first son at 27, a little more than a year ago. It was an accidental pregnancy during the pandemic. I never thought I wanted to be a mom and rolled my eyes at all of the people who suggested I would change my mind or how amazing it was to be a mom...blah blah blah I used to think. I am so relieved that I was wrong-motherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I’m a naturally selfish person by nature specifically when it comes to my time. I’ve never been the type of person who naturally caters to anyone else’s needs. My grandmother, a baby nurse for 31 years and the kindest most genuine person I know even counted me out from motherhood “I just don’t think it’s your thing” she said and I agreed. I’m not even a good aunt-I have always bought them things to make up for the time I didn’t want to give.
Fast forward to now, and I’m a great mom and I love being one. Something strange happened when I brought my son home, I naturally found myself catering to this tiny human that ironically looks nothing like me-I’m Puerto Rican and have a dark complexion but my son was born with red hair, pale skin and beautiful blue-green eyes. He wasn’t cute when he was born-I’m not supposed to say that but I don’t care. Actually, he didn’t get cute until he was about 6 months or so-but I didn’t care I loved him anyways and I always will. Another shocker-I was pleasantly surprised at how “easy” being a mom is. I know I’m new and will likely have plenty of time to retract that statement in time, lol.
Modern feminism has a habit of not only telling women they can have it all but subtly suggests that they shouldn’t want it “all” and by all I am referring to motherhood. Career and education is prioritized over family and that’s applauded by our society. Motherhood has become something that elite culture suggests we should not pursue if we don’t check off all of these boxes first. Additionally, it’s implied that if you don’t get around to having a kid that it’s no big deal-you’re not missing out on much they say “it’s so stressful and you’ll save so much money and can travel the world.”
To me, this is another part of nature that modern feminism seems to dismiss: a woman’s biological instinct and satisfaction that comes with being a mother. This is years of evolution at work-and modern feminism dismisses the prioritization of having a family and thinks less of those who do so. Therefore, we have a generation of women who are missing out on one of life’s most innate and primal joys of life.
Side note: I like how even though you don’t have kids you write fondly of motherhood and do not speak superficially about the pregnancy experience. I love and appreciate the work you are doing to educate the next generation of women.
BTW the truth is that men can’t have it all either. We also do have to make choices, and there are limitations attached to those choices. You can’t make your career and freedom your top priority and also be a-responsible-father. Becoming a-responsible-father does limit your freedom — you can no longer do whatever you like, you must put someone else first (i.e. your child or children). And it's a great thing.
The Twin Big Lies that need to be exposed and destroyed yesterday:
1) "Everybody must procreate."
2) "Everybody (and their mother) must work for a living".
Problem solved. Next.
(That, and accepting the fact that there are always these things called "opportunity costs", and if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. )
That said, we do need to be VERY careful not to sound like, or give ammunition to, the neoreactionary movement. Those who don't know what it is are free to Google it. And they do have some potent policy prescriptions for the issues discussed in this article, ones that will set Women back to the dark ages (at best).