July 27, 2012

One's on the way... Plus belly shots

Almost 22 weeks.

I feel bigger every day. And the top of my belly is starting to get more round and full. The fetal movements are consistent and sometimes distracting. It's very exciting and although kicks feel strong and significant for me (because they radiate from within when I catch them with my hand on the outside) Chris still hasn't been able to discern between movement from breathing and the fetus. I'm sure as the fetus grows it will be easier to feel (and become less novel to me... or maybe not? It is a fascinating and surreal experience that I tried to imagine in the weeks leading up to "the quickening").

I've been thinking a lot about motherhood and feminism lately. Growing up, one of the videotapes my siblings and I watched obsessively was "Muppet Treasures," which is a collection of skits from the Muppet Show. And this week I've found myself humming Loretta Lynn's rendition of Shel Silverstein's clever anthem for multiple-time, stay-at-home, mothers-to-be, "One's on the Way." Although I am not going to stay at home and will return to work full time when my leave is over, I do think the song highlights enduring socio-economic and cultural differences that alienate and divide mothers, even four decades later.

In the history of feminism, we have needed women to speak out against biological essentialism that reduces us to some sexist and idealized notion of inherent maternalism. But in that process of undoing, the resilient mechanisms of patriarchy found another method through which to pit types of women against other types of women and types of mothers against other types of mothers. Contemporary feminism encompasses many forms but because being pregnant is all still new to me, I am navigating unfamiliar terrain. And sometimes it is frustrating to acknowledge how divisions endure and how systemic mechanisms serve to further alienate women from each other. This is part of why "One's on the Way" looms large in my current consciousness.

Of course, the song's witty intra- and inter-gender politics didn't occur to me as a kiddo. But it's something I've been contemplating frequently, in the wake of article after article about whether women can "have it all," or perhaps more relevant, whether "having it all" is even on the menu for contemporary, middle-and working-class mothering. It's a lot to chew on! Anyway, you can see the skit from the Muppets here or Lynn singing the anthem solo, here.

Outfit details:
Old Navy Maternity Maxi Dress: buy it here (fyi this is sized generously. I am wearing a small with room to grow).


  1. Although I'm not married or preggers (yet! my time will come) I often wonder about the same things Jess. I fall on the traditional end of things but still have some feminist ideals, such as partaking in decision-making and having my own income. I find it sad how women will tear each other down -- we should all be supporting each other no matter whether we are the same or different. And having it all...whatever. That term is so eye-rolling it's not even worth discussing.

    Love this dress on you!! You look radiant.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Roxy! I do think that if the "having it all" discussions lead to policy discussions about ways to accommodate the realities of modern life then that is a positive outcome. Most two-parent families are also dual-income, many workplace policies are not necessarily accommodating of family planning, and many single parent households also need to be able to have access to affordable child care among other infrastructural things. But instead those conversations just tend to feed mommy warfare about the stay-at-homes vs. the workers. It's frustrating because those are the same conversations that were occurring in the 70s. At least some progress has been made and you can't legally discriminate against pregnant women... But there's a lot more to do.


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