During lunch the other day a few my female students came in early. One of their friends had to turn in some late work, so naturally the whole pack needed to come with her. They ended up sitting down and asking me about pregnancy and baby stuff. One girl kept asking questions about what it felt like to be ‘fat’ and that she was sure that once you have a baby your body is ruined and you never look the same again.
That may be true, I know for certain my body has gone through a lot of changes in the past 7.5 months, maybe it’s impossible to go ‘back’…I don’t know about that part of baby-making yet. What made me sad is how obsessed this girl was with having a ‘nice body’. I asked the girls what they wanted to do when they graduated high school; they provided a variety of answers involving schooling and jobs. This girl: she wants to get married and own a puppy.
Just to provide further insight on this girl, she’s one of my A students. She gets things the first time I teach it and is usually working ahead of the class. She’s a hardworker and smart. She has potential to be a lot more than just a puppy owner.
I came home from school that day disgruntled. I don’t know if it’s because we’re having a baby and all the sudden future generations seem more important than before, but Tanner and I often discuss how this world is going to hell in a hand basket. Ok, that sounds dramatic…but I swear some of things we see going on in the world around us are unbelievable. To me, this conversation triggered so many thoughts about what the world is teaching girls today. Rather than seeing the beauty in creating and nurturing another life, this girl could only think about her own physical beauty and the importance of keeping that beauty as long as possible.
I’ll give the girl a break…she is only 14…and at 14 I felt that motherhood was so far from me that I never really gave a thought what it meant…so she’s got a few years to mature, and that’s ok. What’s sad is that the world might not teach this girl any differently between now and then. At 14 it’s natural to be selfish and think about only you’re own future. However, I think it should be natural to move on from that stage and to feel a desire to think about and nurture others. What has made the difference for Tanner and I is being raised by loving families who have taught us that everything: our jobs, our schooling, our possessions, our interests, our habits, everything…should be geared towards building a family. Central to our beliefs is that family is the most important unit in life. The world I was raised in taught me that making a family is worth the sacrifice, so now when we’re faced with choices like putting off a family to achieve more financial stability, or to start a family now, we know what should take priority. I don’t know anything about what this girl is being taught at home: but when I look at messages in media today they only seem to support what this girl believes. Physical beauty is the upmost importance, career and financial stability come before family, and kids are a nice accessory to an already established life.
Pregnancy has been a lot of things. It’s been emotional. It’s been hard. I don’t think anyone really understands it until they’ve been through it. I used to read about all the symptoms and think “but it’s all worth it for the baby at the end”…and while I still the feel that way, I understand much better what exactly is required to get that baby at the end. It isn’t just about getting ‘fat’; it’s about your whole body doing things you don’t understand and surrendering your body to the little person that’s highjacked it. It’s about all of the sudden feeling that someone else’s survival is much more important than your own, even if many people don’t see that someone else as a life yet. It’s about pushing through the naseau, the exhaustion, and the uncomfortableness of it all, to give another soul a shot at life here on earth.
But it’s also beautiful and wonderful. Every single time I feel our little girl kick I feel a happiness I can’t describe. I can be totally uncomfortable, feeling sick, exhausted, whatever- and I feel that baby kick and I know I am one of the luckiest women in the world because I get to experience pregnancy. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. These thoughts have been bouncing around my frazzled pregnant brain for a while, and I guess my point is this: I hope to combat all the voices in the world out there saying that there is something more important than family, and to tell any girl (especially mine own someday) that creating another life from scratch is absolutely the most wonderful, beautiful thing you can do.