Thursday, June 12, 2008
I have an unfortunate addiction to a particular fast-moving online forum. Ten years ago, it was Style.com; these days, there's one that's in the same format, but for moms. I went on it originally because I was told I could get immediate answers, but found the anonymous immediate gratification too addictive to resist. (Wow, that sounds sordid.)
On this forum, you hit "refresh" and see three, five, ten responses to your post right away. You can ask "Adam Sandler: Yay or nay?" and you will not only get opinions on the Jewish fratboy, you'll also get corrected for not spelling it "Yea." The women who congregate there are smart, sardonic, and diametrically opposed to the trashier moms at the other two major sites (where they refer to their "wait gain," and not ironically referring to pregnancy as a 9-month wait). They're also bitchy as hell when they want to be.
Someone posted that she was 46 with newborn twins, and another mom and I posted that we were also in the over-40 crowd, and the response was vicious. Calling me "grannymommy" was only the beginning. I was accused of wanting my child to grow up motherless, mocked with a vision of me hobbling after my toddler in a walker, asked if i thought I would have Alzheimer's at my child's high-school graduation. "If you wanted to have children, you should have done so when it was appropriate," one woman said.
After "home birth v. hospital birth" and "breastfeeding v. formula," this was the fastest-moving pile-on I'd seen. Only this time I was on the hot seat. And my butt was definitely on fire.
I found myself stunned, which in itself seemed a bit ridiculous. These were words on a screen. These were the opinions of women I would never knowingly meet. Yet some naive part of me was shocked and upset at the thought that the moms I'd soon be in a group with would secretly be thinking of me this way.
On the other hand, I do feel a bit ridiculous. One friend of mine is 10 weeks ahead of me with her second -- and she's ten years younger than me. I'm going to be asking her advice, and I feel silly. But I feel that way about everything -- I never feel like a grownup. I think that's part of what kept me from finding a way to spawn when I was younger: I was waiting to feel responsible, settled and ready. At this point, I'm ready to own the person I am, imperfections and all, and roll forward knowing that at least I'll be interesting.
And in the end, I realized these were the same women who say things like "If you didn't want to raise a child, you shouldn't have had sex in the first place." Just as having a child isn't a punishment for bad behavior, NOT having one is also not a punishment. It's just what is or isn't. People anxiously ask me "are you sure you want to bring a child into... this?", referring to the fact that my fiance has kids and an ex-wife already, just as they asked the same of my sister (biracial baby) and my mom (mixed marriage). People will find ways to judge when they want to. I just have to find a way to remember that's not my problem.
In other news, I'm so irritated with Old Navy. I have been having a certain issue with my bazooms. An issue known as PAIN. Most of the day I'm okay, but I'd taken to wearing a bra to bed because I'd wake up in the middle of the night in awful pain. I ordered these awesome supportive, squeezy tank tops and they arrived yesterday, but my skin, always sensitive, just couldn't take whatever nice squeezy fabric they're made of -- I woke up at 1:30 am feeling like my skin was literally crawling off my body. SUCH a weird feeling. Plus: hot. I don't know if I should wash it out in the sink and try again or just return it. I am sad! My breasts are sad! How did rugged frontier women do it?!