Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Career-First Myth

I have a small addiction.  I don't really know where it came from, but one day, out of the blue, i developed an addiction for the British Tabloids.  There is something so inherently snarky and British about them I am drawn in.  The tales of the American reality stars seem somehow more lurid and engrossing and yet, because they are read in the fake British accent in my head, somehow more proper and palatable too.  I've always been an anglophile.  From the Enid Blyton Books to the British comedies ("the picture of the fallen madona with the big boobies!") these were my people.

But the one thing that I keep seeing over and over again as I sift through my news feeds are contributing to the Career-First myth.  This seems to be coming up a lot because the National Health System (lovingly called the NHS) has recently changed the conditions for fertility treatments.  A woman, who used to be cut off at 40 is now allowed to receive a single free round of fertility treatments until the age of 42.  Many people are appalled, why should tax payers foot the bill for people who were selfish and put their careers first!  Women who preferred nights on the town with the bad boy instead of settling down.

Even worse there are the articles written by women who have undergone fertility treatments successfully at an older age and how now admonish the rest of us not to make their mistakes.  There was the woman who told me that she was too selfish to have a child at the age of 43.  (Read the story here) The idea is that once we hit a certain age we are no longer able to make the sacrifices necessary for motherhood.  But my reading of this story is that THIS woman was so selfish at the age of 20, and 30 and remains so at 43.  Does that mean that we all are?

I never felt like I put my career first.  In fact, much to my husbands chagrin I would be more than happy to hang up my hat and spend the days cooing to our infant in her crib.  I hate the idea of spending 40 hours a week trapped in an office and paying someone to look after my child with less love and care than I could.

Women are in this incredibly tough place.  If we get pregnant as teenagers we are condemned to a life where we may not finish high school, or university.  If we get pregnant in our 20's then we often find it hard to make use of our degrees as they come fresh off the press, plus in this economy it is no longer feasible for many graduates to stop at an undergraduate degree.  So we move on to graduate school.

Older mothers are better in a lot of ways.  We have fewer accidents with our children, they end up in the ER less often.  They have better language skills.  They have a better start.  All kinds of good stuff.  That's not to take anything away from younger moms... It is just that in the defense of my breed against the British Tabloids i need to point out that we aren't all bad.

I am what they call "well-educated" because i have completed several degrees.  I have received bullshit and more shit and then piled it higher and deeper.  I will use my skills to help my child develop.    But believe me:  I NEVER put my career first.

I just met the right man late in life.  This shouldn't be a condemnation. He is the right one for me.  I am the right one for him.  We both want children.

People shouldn't mistake the fact that we are oddly shaped puzzle pieces that didn't fit with anyone else as a sign that our lives were ruled by the need to become CEO's and own third home.



  1. I find this so ridiculous and self righteous! Life doesn't always happen as we plan it. We may have all wanted everything to fall in place like text book but it doesn't always happen, it could be a bad first marriage, it could be finances, it could be infertility for 6 years (like me!). No one should be judging... And what? You are supposed to let go of a huge dream like having a family just because of age?

    I agree 100%. We have a lot more to offer. I know I do. I will try to stay young in every way possible not to embarrass them (if we end up having a child), you know, like I wouldn't want the other kids asking if we are their grandparents :( But in every other way, those babies are SOOO wanted and will be SOOO loved.

    1. You look so young and vital in your blog pictures kharini i don't think anyone will ever mistake you for a grandparent! I am sending you baby dust and read your blog ferociously hoping for good news for you.