In Six Weeks, I Will Have a Baby

If I decide to make raising children and supporting my husband my full-time work, I don't want to be thought of as second-class citizen, unable to weigh in on important conversations.
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In six weeks, I will have a baby.

I'd like to think that lying on my back and enduring excruciating labor pain for who knows how long counts as work.

I'd like to think that sitting in a chair for hours on end for months on end and serving as the soul source of life and nourishment for another human being is work.

In fact, I'd like to think that the 34 weeks I have spent carrying this baby, from the 18 weeks of vomiting to the now 24/7 back pain, is work.

Hard, freaking work.

Not to mention what comes after.

I'd like to think that, because those are the cards nature dealt me. I'm a woman. I have a uterus. I fell in love and got married. We are starting a family.

And guess what, I am the one who does the physical labor to make that a reality.

Are you really going to tell me that, because I am a woman and might want to stay home with my baby, that that does not count as work? That if I don't put on a pantsuit after two months and sit at a desk that I am a "dumb, lazy B****," as one person put it on Facebook (seconded by another!)?

I don't even know yet if I will want to be a stay-at-home mom. I know I want to be there for my kids like my mom was for me. I know I want balance. And sleep. And mental health. And happiness. I want a happy marriage and a happy family.

I want the choice to stay home, if I want. The choice.

I want to know that if I decide to make raising children and supporting my husband my full-time work, that I will not be thought of as second-class citizen, unable to weigh in on important conversations about our economy. Without feeling like some cop-out of a woman. Without being laughed at at a cocktail party ten years down the road: "What do you know, you haven't worked a day in the last ten years."

I also want to know that if I chose to work, I will get paid maternity leave if I need it, won't lose my job for having children and will get equal pay as any man with children. But in stigmatizing motherhood and the labors it entails, you make it that much harder for me to be a working mom, whether inside the home or out.

What about the woman who has been staying home but wants to return to work? What about the woman who has been staying home, but has to return to work? Should employers put their resumes at the bottom of the stack since they have no experience? Or pay them less since they are less seasoned?

Ms. Rosin, women such as yourself did my generation a huge disservice with your remarks about Ann Romney. Forget about elephants and donkeys. You put words to the sentiment we have been living in fear of: marginalization.

Marginalization for making a choice that should be fully ours to make. Marginalization for being women and acknowledging the unique difficulties we face because of our biology.

You said the words and you can't take them back. You can apologize and we can accept your apology. But now my generation of women knows for a fact what some women in your generation thinks about full-time moms.

And it makes me sorry for the little girl I will give birth to in June.

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