Sometimes I watch terrible chick flicks to laugh at them, but What to Expect When You're Expecting was a whole other brand of awful.
On the one hand, it reinforced that I definitely do not want children. I don't see myself in any of their lives. Yes, they're fictional, but I've pretty much known all the women whose caricatures are portrayed in the film, from the breast-obsessed mom to the image-obsessed mom. They've all been in my life at some point, and I cannot relate in the slightest.
It kind of makes me feel defective.
I don't really mean that in a bad way. I've talked about this before, feeling broken, defective, like something's wrong with me because I don't want kids. It takes on a different tone now that I'm older. It still sucks, feeling left out, but lately I find myself feeling extremely grateful that I've recognized this in myself and have been working so hard at loving my life as it is.
But when Jennifer Lopez's character bawls about not being able to do "the one thing that a woman's supposed to be able to do", it made me twitch. It made me angry. I've heard friends dealing with infertility say this a lot, that not getting pregnant means they're a failure as a woman, or as a wife.
I genuinely feel sympathy for families going through infertility. I cannot imagine wanting a child, especially not wanting one so badly that every failed month is painful. I get it.
But you are more than your ability to procreate. I am not doing this world a disservice because I'm not procreating. I'm no less of a woman. You know what I was meant to be? A designer. An entrepreneur. A badass aunt and a really great partner. I'm meant to be me.
Be strong. Be sad if you need to be sad — I'm not saying there's no place for disappointment and devastation. What I'm saying is, stop equating womanhood with childbearing. Stop equating masculinity with the ability get a woman pregnant. Stop excluding me when you say "family" is everything. My husband and I started a family when we got married. We count.
I've been told I'll never know what love is, that I'll never fully appreciate my own mother, that I'm wasting a perfectly good uterus, and that I'm doing a disservice to my family and the world. These are not paraphrased statements. People have said these things to me. They've also implied that i shouldn't have gotten married, that I'm childish and immature, that my husband isn't a real man because he hasn't managed to knock me up for whatever reason, that I'm a bad person and incapable of loving the children in my life, that my life lacks meaning because I don't want kids of my own.
I'm mad. That's my emotion tonight; I'm mad. I'm tired of being bullied and made to feel less than what I am, and movies like What to Expect reinforce that. A woman is nothing if she doesn't get pregnant. Husbands are bumbling and stupid and lose all their masculinity when they become parents.
I didn't expect a good movie when I watched this. I knew what I was getting into, but it was far worse, and not at all funny. It was pathetic, and it made me feel sorry for people whose world is shattered if they can't have children.
Having children is great… if that's what you want. But someone whose goal in life was to be a mom is a complete mystery to me. AND THAT'S OKAY. I have different goals. Stop trying to make me feel like I'm less than you because of them, and I will never make you feel like you're less than me because you chose a different path.