“Lynn” (name changed to protect the innocent) and I planned to have lunch Friday, as the last we’d seen each other was my friend Veronica’s baby shower. All of us met when were interns together at Shearman & Sterling.
Lynn left the big firm to become a business law professor at Baruch. She had told us back in 2007 that was what she truly wanted to do–teach–but she felt as if she had to put her time in practicing law before she could get there.
Now as a professor, she loves it as much as she expected to–and it shows. I looked her up on ratemyprofessor.com, and her students absolutely love her, while cautioning that she’s not an easy A. The reviews are as glowing as I’ve ever seen. I plan to sit in on her class soon, and may go and speak for her class at some point.
The purpose of this lunch was just to catch up, and from my perspective, to ensure I still had Lynn’s support for a women lawyer networking group I’m starting.
But as we sat down, I shared with her that I was on a strict budget. “Jimmy and I are baby planning, and I’ve gone off birth control, though we haven’t started actually trying with intention yet,” I told her. “We plan to come April.”
Lynn suddenly started bubbling over with excitement.
“I’m pregnant!” She blurted out. She hadn’t told anyone but family yet, though she planned to announce it in a few weeks.
“This is amazing,” she said. “We could be pregnant at the same time! We could be moms together!”
We could be moms together.
I had a flashback to being 22, and watching “Riding in Cars With Boys.” If you haven’t seen it, it’s a movie (starring Drew Barrymore) about an ambitious woman who gets pregnant her senior year of high school and it no shit derails her entire life (and not in a good way). The same thing happens to her less ambitious best friend (played by Brittany Murphy) who exclaims at some point in the film: “We get to be moms together!”
In my first marriage, I was petrified of pregnancy. I had dreams, a career to build, a life I wanted of independence and freedom. I associated motherhood only with limitation.
My ex-husband was very eager to be a father, and I always thought sure, why wouldn’t he be? It’s not his life that will be ruined.
Two years into our marriage he told me he very much wanted children. I said I didn’t think I ever wanted any. He got very silent and said he wasn’t sure what to say–if I didn’t want to have children, how could we stay together?
I panicked. I said I didn’t mean I NEVER wanted children, just not right NOW. I just needed to build my career first. For both of us. He accepted that answer, though he was very uneasy about it. And he should have been. I was lying.
As the years went on, though, and I finished law school and started my career, I started to think about it more. Did I really want a life in which I never experienced motherhood? And now I had solidly built a lot of independence for myself–enough to where getting pregnant wouldn’t take it away. I not only had a thriving career, I was the breadwinner. “Housewife” wasn’t a possibility. But then I looked at him, and at our marriage, and it just wasn’t safe. His temper was violent and unpredictable. I, too, was volatile and my emotions were hardly ever under my control.
I told myself I’d only ever do it with the right partner–someone safe. Somome who could balance my shortcomings.
Before you worry about my ex, not long after we split, he became a father to a beautiful little red-haired girl. Sometimes I get emotional thinking about how meant to be it all was–even the painful, messy parts. He loves that little girl like he’s never loved anyone, and though he’s long been out of my life, I know she is his saving grace.
Now sitting across from Lynn, I wasn’t sure why that movie and how afraid I used to be of pregnancy came to mind. I suppose it’s a lingering fear, still, that having a child will rob me of my identity.
As if she were reading my mind. Lynn suddenly confessed she was worried about that herself.
“Sometimes I get scared it will change everything,” she said. “It’s hard for us women who care about our careers.”
I told her it undoubtedly would change things in a big way, but, it wouldn’t derail anything. My sister had continued as before in many respects–she wore her stiletto heels and designer dresses like before. She went back to work and was back on conference calls, negotiating multi-million dollar contracts. Sure, she works from home more often now, and her nights are filled with baby care instead of dinners out.
Things were different, but her identity as an independent, powerful and free woman remained the same. She still was going to Puerto Rico for her 35th birthday–she just was now taking her daughter with her.
As I assured Lynn in this way, I realized I was assuring myself as well. Those old beliefs were just beliefs–they aren’t true.
Lynn then talked to me about the first sonogram and hearing the baby’s heartbeat. As she did, every ounce of her was emanating deep, unconditional love. I felt my own heart bubble with excitement along with her as she spoke. Unconditional love was precisely what Jimmy and I had to give–what we were dying to give.
He is the right man. This is the right time.
“You know, it would be pretty awesome to be pregnant together. And be moms together,” I told her.
“I’ve still got ovulation sticks I never used,” she said. “Want to come back to my apartment and grab them before you go back into work? I know you’re not try until April, but, why not plan ahead?”
She had a twinkle in her eye when she said it, and I knew part of her was hoping I’d use them early. Lynn is a powerful manifester, so I hesitated a moment before agreeing, but soon found myself walking back with her to her apartment.
I walked back into the office with the box of ovulation sticks stuffed in my purse. It should’ve felt weird, but, it didn’t.
More and more I’m coming to see that I know who I am and where I’m headed. And, I trust myself.