They're questions that plague millions of young women: Can you really have it all? Can you have a career and motherhood and keep your sanity?
Author and activist Rebecca Walker, daughter of legendary author and activist Alice Walker, wondered that for years. Like many 20 and 30-something women, she was raised to view motherhood as a less empowering choice than a career. But at the age of 34, she took the plunge and gave birth to son Tenzin, which she calls "the biggest thing that ever happened to me."
In her book "Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence" Walker reveals how she came to terms with becoming a mom, and urges other young women to know that, if they want to have a baby, they need to plan it with as much dedication as they would a career.
I just got off the phone with the nurse from Dr. Lowen's office. I picked up the old brown Trimline phone that's been in this retreat cabin of my mother's forever, and a woman's voice asked for me and I said, This is she, and the voice said, It's Becky from Dr. Lowen's office. And I said, Uh-huh. Then Becky said, The result from the latest test was positive, and I said, Positive? And she said, Yes, you are no longer borderline pregnant.
No longer borderline pregnant? I thought I might fall over. I looked out the window at the leaves of the poplar trees shimmering in the breeze. My eyes settled on a vulture falling from the sky in a perfect spiral. He was flapping then gliding, flapping then gliding as he descended, and I thought to myself: I will remember this moment and that vulture for the rest of my life. I thought to myself: That vulture is a sign. A part of me is dying. And then the nurse said, Hello? And I said, Yes, I am here. Are you sure I am pregnant? And she said, Yes. And I said, Really? Areyou sure? You're not going call me back in two hours and say you made a mistake? She said, No. And I said, Well, how do you know? She sighed. It was a ridiculous question, but since she had been telling me for a week that after three blood draws they still couldn't tell if I was really pregnant, I felt justified. So I pushed. Well, what do you know today that you didn't yesterday? And she said, The HCG levels are definitely going up. HCG levels? Yes, in the last twenty-four hours the pregnancy hormone count has risen from 700 to over 2,300, and that usually means a healthy, robust beginning.
And then I had what could only be the first twinges of the maternal instinct. Healthy and robust? A huge smile spread across my face. That's my baby! And then it was as if the synapses in my brain sending exploratory signals to my uterus finally made contact. Aye, mate, is it a go down there? Yes, yes, Captain, we're full steam ahead!
I was convinced that getting off the phone would exponentially increase my chances of reverting to not-pregnant, but I released Becky anyway and stumbled over to the bathroom, where Glen, my life partner and father of our soon-to-be-born baby, was shaving. I looked into his eyes and tried to keep myself from screaming and jumping up and down. We did it, I said. He grinned. Well, I guess that puts the whole motility question to rest. And I said, I guess it does. Then I wrapped my arms around him and buried my face in his chest, and he wrapped his arms around me and rested his chin on the top of my head.