|30 Something and the Clock is Ticking|
What Happens When You Can No Longer Avoid the Baby Issue
Mainstream Publishing Company, 2011
A self proclaimed feminist and career woman, Kasey is startled to find herself blurting that she wants a baby to her boyfriend of a year after returning from a 10 day Vipassana Meditation retreat.
They agree to revisit the subject in a year, at the ages of 32 and 34 respectively, there is lots of time. However at a routine checkup a few weeks later Kasey discovers she has a number of fertility issues and doctor recommends IVF within the year if she wants to have a child.
With candour and humour, Kasey elects to take on the baby issue in her own terms. Does she in fact want to be a mother? What life would she be choosing for herself if she did? Is she still of value to her partner if she is infertile? Is she of value in her career if she's not? If she does want to be a mother, would she be a good one? Kasey worries that taking on the invisible and poorly valued identity of mother in our society could bring back the black dog of depression from her past.
Researching the academic literature and the lives of her friends, Kasey weighs the pros and cons, like the Management Consultant she is, in order to make a rational recommendation to herself and finds herself re-examining her own ideas about motherhood and marriage. In the end the choice is emotional, not rational and in the final chapters she shares the challenges of trying to conceive under a deadline.
I picked this book up at the library while looking for some prescribed reading for an essay I have to write, and read it in one sitting. I found it to be both entertaining and educational.
The life Kasey paints of motherhood is not pretty - it involves a lot of effort and sacrifice for little appreciation and very small, but ultimately worth it, reward. Kasey also goes into the injustice of the gender pay gap and the 'mommy path' career women are sidelined into once they admit parenthood is on their agenda. Ultimately, trying to have it all means navigating a minefield of compromises and what it looks like is unique to each woman.
I could relate to Kasey's desire to decide and take action before time ran out and maybe its the educated, career oriented circles the author moves in, but I was surprised by the stories of her fellow female dinner party guests and the situations they found themselves in with regard to becoming parents.
On a side note, this is the second book in a row I've just picked up off the biography shelf for casual reading that has detailed the benefits of vipassana meditation. Some years ago I sat next to a man on a flight from New York to London who was just returning from a vipassana retreat. He spoke in detail about it and I thought it would either benefit or kill me.
Maybe the universe is trying to remind me something.