The Myth of Motherhood

The following was published on, and if I had to pick one truth to spread, it would be this —

The ink on my college degree was barely dry, and at 22 years old, I was transitioning from overworked magazine intern to hopeful employee. I didn’t own a lot of things—money, in particular—but one spring night I gained another possession: a positive pregnancy test.

I cried a lot.

I had plenty of reasons to cry, of course, but there was a main theme running through my anxieties: I’d never do the things I wanted to do, or be the person I wanted to be.

Looking back with five years of perspective, I don’t think I was crazy to have those fears. The message is everywhere, from marketing ads to teen pregnancy PSAs: Accomplish your goals before having kids, otherwise … (fade to black).

I remember reading through a “Pregnancy Bucket List” in the gynecologist's waiting room, feeling more deflated with every empty checkbox. I hadn’t traveled beyond the East coast, or skydived, or even landed a full-time job, for crying out loud. (And I did just that—cried out loud.) And, even now, I see my 20-something friends with their lists and their plans; determined to achieve ALL THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS before settling down and succumbing to motherhood.

It’s a myth—a well-constructed myth—and it makes me want to climb on top of a soapbox with an oversize megaphone, yelling, “Your life is not over.”

Because your life is not over.

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