Pisces and Apple Pie (sans the apple pie)

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20): Besides the other crushingly sad on-going news about justice for people of color, the other thing going on is that big companies (FB, Apple, others) are offering the egg-freezing benefit, which means they'll cover the cost for a woman to put her eggs in a freezer for later use, not unlike corn dogs or leftover soup.  

So, rather than letting the world be how it is, where women, mostly in their 20's and 30's, have babies (and adore them, by the way), we're asking women to mold their reproductive timeline to fit with the corporate world.  Because women should LEAN IN and focus on their careers in their thirties, and not get distracted by the love of children!  Why perpetuate the species when you could get STOCK OPTIONS? Women should set their eggs aside and wait for a better time.  (No one has ever addressed the question as to when it's a good time to completely surrender yourself to another helpless needy being who communicates primarily through unconsolable shrieking.)

Oh, this is all so complicated.  I have nothing against women (or men!) who prioritize careers, and in fact, most of us have to, because duh, life costs money.  And, the challenges presented by a career are stimulating, unlike a lot of housework, and that's healthy too.  I get it.  Hell, I might even give me some flack about this rant too.  I sort of disagree with myself.  It's not like I'm all about motherhood and women being home in the kitchen.  Au contraire.  (Although, true confessions: there's something primal in me that longs for that, especially if there were sister-wives to hang out with.  Oh, did I say that out loud?  Is that creepy?)  

Anyway, of course women should have the means to support themselves in a decent manner, and they do miss out and become economically obsolete by checking out for 10 or more years, and sometimes get stuck in crappy relationships because they can't take care of themselves or their children.  GRRR.  

But is the answer the freezing of the eggs?  It's not simple, like making an ice cube.  First, daily hormone shots for two to four weeks to turn off natural hormones.  Then, a few more weeks of self-injected hormones to stimulate egg production.  This creates abdominal pain, irritablility, discomfort.  Which is fine, because these women are in the workplace, where people tend to be so irritable that it's not even notable.  (Oh, wait -- there's one person at my booty call job who's NOT irritable.  She gives herself helpful little instructions aloud all day long, like, "Time to go potty!" and then she disappears for a few minutes, returning to say, "Breathe in, breathe out."  But my booty call job is not the topic, people! The topic is egg harvest.)

The harvest happens under sedation.  I won't describe it, but it's nothing like going out to the hen house and collecting a warm little loose egg.  After the harvest, women again experience bloating, abdominal pain, and discomfort.  (People in the workplace are used to pain and discomfort, though, so it's not really an issue.)  And then the eggs are in the freezer with Walt Disney, waiting for a good time.  (Turns out that Walt isn't frozen, contrary to urban legend.  But speaking of all that, did anyone listen to the This American Life episode about that cryogenics club where they planned to freeze one another, and then the guy who was stuck with all the dead people couldn't pay the refrigeration bill, and the bodies were just in a warming up storage locker?  But that's not the topic, people!  Stick with me.)

I'm not a luddite.  Really, I'm all about technology.  In fact, I have my new little Arduino kit and spend ridiculous numbers of hours playing with resistors and trying to learn how to program it to do dumb things, like blink out messages in Morse code, which is flawed in so many ways that I won't even get into it.  (For starters, why send a message in code when no one knows how to read it?  If a light blinks in the forest and no one is there to see it, does it make a sound?  Is this the topic, dear readers?  No!)  

But haven't we freakin' noticed by now that when we mess with the natural order, there are consequences?  Remember when we dumped our garbage in the ocean, how that worked out?  (Oh wait, we still do that.  Is anyone as sad about the dying starfish as I am?)  But remember when we used to pour all those chemicals on the crops and all the birds got the thin eggs, and we learned from that and stopped putting chemicals on the crops?  (Oh wait.)  Remember when we started burning fossil fuels at an alarming rate, built our whole economy and lifestyle around it, and it messed with the planet so much that it might become uninhabitable within the foreseeable future?  Oh, this has turned into such a cliched rant that I'm almost sorry I started it, but haven't we freakin' figured it out yet, that we need to take some things as constants?  And if anything is a constant, it's this:

Young women often have an unbearable, primal longing to have children.  When they do have babies, they grow into bigger better people than they were before, because now they know what it's like to love unconditionally, and to be patient, not as an abstract thing, but as part of the grueling demands of daily living.  Because suddenly they have a jagged, immature, weird little roommate who couldn't give a fuck about social norms or boundaries.  And the mothers, they love those people anyway, and they see them as exquisite humans with potential to grow into outstanding, useful people.  And because they see that, the mothers gently, with patience and diplomacy and perseverance, and, lets face it, occasional shots of whisky, bring those little people around into human-hood, where, lo and behold, they do grow into outstanding humans.  

I don't mean to imply that mothers are better than fathers, or better than childless humans, by any stretch, or all mothers are great, blah blah blah.  Everyone is learning a lot from where their life leads them, I know that.  And of course, I generalize.  I just know more about mothers, what they go through and how deeply they care.  I know so many incredible mothers that it's more than the cliche.  I think they're forced to learn something hard, which I can't really articulate, but it involves loving people unconditionally, and truly wanting the best for them.  It's about being hopeful about the world, because someone who looks up to you is counting on it.  Someone trusts you when you say it's gonna be alright, and you want, with everything you've got, for it to be so.  

And over time, as the young people grow, you gently redefine "alright" from fairy tale happy endings to living well so you can live with yourself.  Alright turns from "happily ever after" to a life of being decent and apologizing and giving everything your best shot, and remaining curious and hopeful in spite of the disappointments.  You will fail, people you love will die, mean people exist.  But you can be a light in the world, a light of kindness and compassion and striving, and that's what alright becomes.  It is gonna be alright.

Mothers are in the business of creating the magic for their young, and then, working to make that magic true -- that the world is a good place, worth inhabiting, worth striving for, because it's full of mystery and wonder and good people and grand adventure and things to discover and learn. 

And I think the workplace needs that.  It needs women whose priority is simple:  survival of the species.  They care about building cooperative relationships, health, in all it's forms, and a habitable planet.  I think workplaces would benefit by welcoming that perspective, not just enduring it.

Oh, I'm all tired out from just Pisces.  More horoscopes another day.

Comments

  1. Perfect, perfect. In all ways perfect.
    We are messing with stuff we don't need to mess with because it all works for a reason. For the good of us all.
    I love you, Betsy. You are smart and you are funny and your mind works like minds should work. And so rarely do.
    Also, you are a very good writer.

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    1. Oh, thank you, Ms. Moon. You are so generous. xoxo

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  2. I do agree but I knew when I was young that I was going to have children no matter what hoops I had to jump through. For me it was a deep calling, like eating and breathing. Putting it off is a lucky option for some, but it will not change the demanding lifestyle changes required by all.

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  3. It would be interesting to see how long the line is. I think short, and the idea will dwindle away.

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    1. Yes, interesting question. I do know of at least one person who did this -- 41 yo attorney...

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  4. Whenever you get on your soapbox about parenthood it makes me stop and remember to appreciate how terrifically lucky I am, and care just a little bit less about the things I've missed out on. As challenging as it has been the last few years (because of the ex, not because of the excellent children), there is nothing about my decision to become a mother that I would change given the chance. Thank you, Betsy!

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    1. You are so welcome! And what a fine mother you are! xoxo

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  5. I understand why you're tired. I got on this particular blog roller coaster and whoops, ended up in mothering land. For the record, between ages 18-25 is the ideal time for women to have kids. Take it from me, frozen eggs or no. Biology has a plan and it's just easier and safer for women to birth when they are younger. More flexible bodies. Less likely to get diabetes, high blood pressure or have unobstructed labors. (stop me, I'm heading towards a LECTURE). Anyway, the whole frozen egg idea is nuts. I know, I know. I have had plenty of clients with assisted fertility of various kinds, for all kinds of reasons. Frankly, I think the whole career/working thing is just fucked for women---still.

    See what you've done. I'm breathing like I've been running up a hill.

    It frosts me (like those eggs) that women are the ones burdened with the kiddos and climbing some kind of corporate ladder and bla bla bla.

    And without my kids, I would have become even more neurotic and unhinged than I already am. They made me grow up. As for splendid, they are both splendid humans, just like yours. We did good, momma. In some ways, they are the greatest gift we could give the earth; some decent, kind and loving humans, little glowy lights you can see from space.

    Thanks, Betsy-

    Your pal Beth

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    1. Thank you, Ms. Glowy Light that I can see from space. :-)
      xoxo

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  6. Oh, Betsy, I love how you write and what you write about. Motherhood was the best thing I ever did. It made me grow up, yes. And our kids are good and kind people. Amen, amen.

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    1. Oh, thank you! I have no doubt that you've raised amazing kids, Jennio.

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  7. I waited a really long time to decide to have a child (27) because I was terrified that I was going to turn out to be a horrifying mother like my own. I had to wait until I was really really sure I wouldn't. Had freezing my eggs been an option back then I might have done it not having the foresight to know I'd go really batshit crazy. Fortunately the child was almost grown when the crazy arrove and it was a good kind of crazy not the scary kind that held and still holds my mother in its terrifying claws.

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  8. Betsy, I've emailed you about spam originating from your email account. Not sure if you will get the email or not, or if this comment goes through your email account or not ... it's kind of a mystery to me how blogs work. Hope you can access my email for the details. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings!

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    1. I got your reply - lord girl you're fast! Feel free to delete this comment/reply!

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  9. Oh, I don't know, I tend to see multiple sides to things, and people who are mothers (in the form of: they have birthed and raised children) may disregard my comment because I'm not that kind of a mother and so perhaps I don't truly-truly know the depth of the things you speak of (we'll never know), what you're describing sure sounds familiar to my own growth as even a childless human being . . . learning about loving unconditionally, having the courage to apologize, being decent, learning patience, etc. All that said, here are my two cents: Whenever something comes along that gives someone more choices and options to create the life they want, there must be some good in that. In my mind this falls under the Pro-Choice umbrella.

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    1. Yes, I completely agree, Devon, on all that you said! Choice is good, there's no downside to choice. I guess my point is really that I wish there women in prime childbearing years had other choices too, like more paid leave, flexible schedules, and more tolerance for the need to put family first. I think as long as the workplace views that prioritization as a flaw, everyone misses out.

      Hope all is well!

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  10. This freezing of lady-eggs makes perfect sense. It seems selfish that working women should get pregnant and have demanding children that distract them from the work-place. It’s bad enough that they have female issues once a month—but then to willfully embark on disruptive pregnancies and the raising of children when corporate deadlines must be met and productivity must be maintained! She might as well do some good while in the prime of her life; make money for the company and for the employee herself thus creating a lavish consumer and a more secure future. Why ask American businesses to bend over backward to incorporate and assimilate the concerns of neighborhoods, families, parents, babies? Just push it back, ladies. Squelch that nonsense and be more like men.

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