On Human Reproduction and Equality

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably know that we recently had a baby. For most of the last year I’ve experienced what … the overwhelming majority of women throughout history have experienced. But to me it was new. Every little discomfort or awkwardness or question resulted in me considering and re-considering. Is this like this for other women? What’s the range of experience? I’m handling it this way — is that how others do? Too many parts of the experience made me angry. Not angry because it’s somehow unfair that, for instance, women experience morning sickness. That’s a matter of biology (not yet clearly understood). But, rather, that my country ignores, diminishes and makes few adjustments for child bearing and rearing. Once your kids are old enough to walk around and at least to some degree take care of themselves (eat, poop, etc. on their own), then we support you more (primarily with public schooling). But before that? You’re on your own with whatever resources you can cobble together from family and friends (hope you have health insurance!)

So what follows will be a series of musings surrounding questions of reproduction, parenting, science and equality, especially in the workplace. I’ve been thinking about these issues off and on since before I got pregnant. Here is my attempt to try to put some of my confusion and emotion into words. As background, I am well aware that I “have it good” compared to many in my country. I have a good job that pays very well. I have a partner who supports me (and, in fact, will be the primary caregiver after I go back to work next week). My employer actually pays for eight weeks of maternity leave and, even before the Affordable Care Act made it mandatory, provided “mom’s rooms” for nursing mothers to pump breast milk. In addition, I have a flexible desk job and can largely direct my own working day. Still, I find many of the issues I face hard to navigate. When I consider what it would be like without my privileges, I’m angry.

The first few posts: Why a Culture of Non-birth Partners Taking Leave Is Necessary. Breastfeeding is Not Compatible with the American Workplace. The birth of my daughter is not a disability.