Each morning as I click on the daily headlines screaming from the pages of the world-wide web, I cringe. I expect the worst – suicide bombings, job cuts, influenza outbreaks, nuclear meltdowns.What I am not prepared for are the inane headlines that come before the actual awful stuff: Penelope Pops! No Gloom for Hot Mom Klum! Mariah’s A Maja Mama!
Celebrities are bursting out with babies all over the place, and it’s ruining the experience for the rest of us. Not just because these narcissistic news bites usurp viable, relevant news. No, the irritation rises because these celebrities turn their pregnancies and subsequent offspring into ‘million-dollar-baby-shows’ that we all must partake of no matter if we are at the grocery store, on the internet, or in restaurants that dangle tv screens from every wall.
Trust me, these pre and post-production airings are as elaborate and expensive as any movie being made today. In no way does a photo of Nicole Richie cuddling her child under the Eiffel Tower in three-inch heels and designer clothes, or Brooke Burke signing on for ‘Dancing with the Stars’ while her children camp out in a nearby trailer, or Gwen Stefani hopping a jet to Japan with bleached-haired little toddlers in fringed vests bear any similarities to you in your role as an average mother.
Because children are a huge, heavy, 24-hour-a-day responsibility for most mothers. They cannot be dolled up, doled out for the press, then handed off while you go get a daily two-hour work-out and facial cleanse and pick at your macro-biotic entrée.
This false photographic notion seeps over us and into our psyche’s like toxic fumes – children are the chosen people’s stylish accoutrements; motherhood is glamorous; having a baby is no more daring than a fashion choice. This modern view on motherhood is a farce and demeaning to us all. The average mother agonizes over how to pay for her children’s food and clothes and education. The average mother worries about keeping her underpaid job while she is vomiting and pregnant, or laid up on bed-rest. The average mother does indeed visit Planned Parenthood or Kaiser or a local clinic to see about her ‘options’. In far too many places around the globe, the average mother is worried about actually living through childbirth.
While a group of mostly white, mostly male, rich politicians – far removed from the daily raising of their own children – are off in Washington, voting on women’s ‘reproductive rights’.
This, to me, is another well-orchestrated show. As the New York Times states from an op-ed of January 29, 2011 – House Republicans are preparing to push through restrictions on federal financing of abortions far more extreme than previously proposed at the federal level. Lawmakers who otherwise rail against big government have made it one of their highest priorities to take the decision about a legal medical procedure out of the hands of individuals and turn it over to the government.
It’s interesting that their moral objection to government is temporarily suspended for this one issue, eh? I would be curious to know how many of these same men have raised an unplanned for child, or carried one to term, or born a child with medical problems that were diagnosed in-utero, or been hooked up to an IV in the hospital with a life-threatening maternal complication, or ever had to do any of the work whatsoever that goes into raising an actual human being!
Because having a baby is a risky, arduous task. Unless you are giving birth in the White House or have oodles of money, you – the mother – will be physically exhausted and broke for at least the next decade. You are vulnerable in the workplace. You are tied to your home. You leak stuff all the time and rarely sleep. You spend most of your waking hours shuffling between a kitchen sink, trash can, and toilet.You are in need of all the help – from family, friends, or the government, – that you can find.
Which is exactly why, if men had to be pregnant, or birth a baby, or raise a child, I guarantee they would cancel their political freak-show and approve of funding for all reproductive health care for any woman who so desires it, or needs it.
Then, if we could get the celebrities to stay away from the cameras for two seconds, and instead wallow in a good four-months of breast milk, blubber, and emotional breakdowns like any mortal mother, then maybe we could drown out the theatrics and get back to the reality of mothering.
Last night, every Republican and sixteen Democrats voted in favor of H.R.3.
The average mother should be appalled.