Recently in the news there has been a
Recently I watched three movies. The first was The Pregnancy Pact, a film based on the events surrounding an explosion of pregnancies in a Gloucester, Massachusetts high school. In this movie Thora Birch plays a late-twenties single woman who has a video blog devoted to teen issues. She hears about what is happening at Gloucester, her old high school, and decides to travel there to interview the girls and the community about what is going on and why so many girls are getting pregnant. The film makes a vague stab at being neutral about abstinence programs and school-dispensed birth control, but its whole point is to illustrate 1) that getting pregnant in high school can ruin your life and 2) that motherhood is a lesser choice than, say, having an exciting video blog career. The lead pregnant teen makes a point of saying explicitly that she doesn't want a career, that she doesn't want to go to college, that she wants to get married and have children and stay in her home town, and that that's what will make her happy. And the Thora Birch character looks incredulous and sputters out a number of better alternatives to marriage and motherhood including "start a rock band" and "plant trees."
The second movie was He's Just Not That Into You, based on the book of the same title which offered women key advice about how to tell if a guy is...not into you. The movie has an ensemble cast composed of mostly childless actresses in their thirties and forties playing childless women with cube farm jobs. None of them are happy. One of them, played by Jennifer Aniston, has a boyfriend of seven years and wants to get married. She offers him an ultimatum of marriage or breaking up, and they break up. Jennifer Connelly's character is married to a man of significantly higher SMV (Bradley Cooper). She kind of wants to try to get pregnant. He cheats on her with Scarlett Johanssen. The main character, Gigi, played by Ginnifer Goodwin, keeps getting the runaround from men until Justin Long takes her under his wing and tells her what's what. Astoundingly, after giving her really solid advice and exhibiting no attraction to her whatsoever, he does a full 180 when she scolds him for never committing, tells her, "You're my exception," and renounces his poon hound lifestyle. The fact that none of these women - NONE of them - has children and most of them aren't married is not remarked upon. It doesn't seem worth mentioning.
The same is true in Bridesmaids. Kristen Wiig was born in 1973, but has never been married, doesn't have kids, has failed in her career and now works a dead-end job, and lives with weirdos (and then her mother). This movie was lauded as "powerfully authentic" and "refreshing." The women in it are awful - crass, stupid, selfish, self-involved, catty, promiscuous, physically gross, and highly competitive. Only one of them has children, and she hates them.
When I'd finished watching them, I couldn't help juxtaposing The Pregnancy Pact with Bridesmaids and He's Just Not That Into You in my head. The message of the first was that fifteen is too young to have a baby, and at least one message of the second and third seemed to be..that children are superfluous to women's lives? None of these women has children, and it's not even commented on.
Recently there was an article in the Daily Mail about where all the girls who had been in Kate Middleton’s Brownie troop were now. Of the twenty-four girls, now all women in their late twenties or early thirties, eight (8) are now married (1 separated), four (4) of those with children. Additionally there are two (2) unwed mothers, and four (4) engaged women (including one of those unwed mothers who is “saving to get married”). This means only a quarter of these middle or lower-middle class, at least somewhat educated women have produced children, and only half of them are even close to providing the kind of suitable environment for children their great-grandmothers slid into by default. And all of them, including the future queen, are past the age of easy fecundity. The rest of them have exciting careers in HR, office management, the postal service, and dental hygiene.
I've touched on this before, but the fact is that there is a limited window to a woman's fertility. I know that the media says that singleness is great and that not all women want to be mothers, and I've heard a number of people say that they love having all their time to themselves and they can travel all they want and wallow in their Netflix queue and sleep in on Saturday mornings. This may be true, but there are also quite a lot of women my age trying to squeeze out a baby at the last moment, desperate to be mothers before it's too late.
And who do all those childless people think will take care of them when they are old? There aren't going to be pensions, and I'm not holding my breath for Social Security either. The money is running out, and the youth have not been trained to share. People only give sacrificially to those that they know personally and love.
Children are a lot of work and can be a lot of worry, but they are a great blessing. A society that sees children as a curse or an encumbrance to be avoided at all costs is very sick. People are meant to have families, to be a part of families. Look past the Cosmo propaganda and pencil having children into your life calendar. You may need to erase some of space set aside for partying, getting another degree, and traveling but those, while enjoyable, are of limited life value. Look at the female characters in Bridesmaids or He's Just Not That Into You. They were written by women screenwriters for women audiences, and not one of them seems happy.
(It goes without saying that the above will require looking for a suitable husband sooner rather than later. Don't sign up for single motherhood.)