Tuesday, September 6, 2011

No Dice

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I read an article in Glamour this weekend that I think is definitely worth talking about. My generation, sadly, isn't really taking birth control seriously enough. We have this 'If it happens, it happens' attitude.

Now, don't get me wrong. I get the if it happens I'll make it work thing. Because if it happened to me, I would make it work. That is just how I would deal. But when did "dealing" with pregnancy become standard?

Ladies, we don't have to "deal." We can choose. How awesome is that? We can pop a pill, use a ring, have an IUD, I don't know - use condoms, perhaps? And 99% of the time, we aren't going to get pregnant. I read a book not long ago based on an NPR series called, "This I believe." (Great book, PS.) Anywho, do you know why Margaret Sanger fought so hard for the legalization of birth control? She hoped for a world where babies were wanted. And in a world where babies are desired, and planned, we have parents who are ready to parent. We have happier people.

But you would be happy anyway, right? Well, yes, you probably would. And he would stay with you right? Probably. Hopefully. But why take that gamble? A majority of the longterm couples who get pregnant unplanned and unmarried break up. When you don't know you're pregnant til 6 weeks in or later, all those glasses of red wine and lack of prenatal care can impact the health of your child. I don't know about you, but all of these things are not something I'd like to take a chance on.

If I sound preachy, forgive me. That terrible relationship I was in? I was on birth control at times. But then I'd skip a month. Or a few pills. I gambled. Thinking about that now almost makes me sick to my stomach. But when I was in it, when I loved him, I didn't think of it like that. I just didn't think, honestly. And I am so much smarter than that. So are you. Maybe your relationship is fantastic. But on the small chance that the fantastic may run out and you may not really know each other yet...take a form of birth control. I know that I may marry a man some day. Plan a pregnancy. Have a beautiful family. And then it all may go to shit. Life has no guarantees. But, I want to be able to scream and jump up and down when I look at that positive pee test. I want to be able to buy an "I love my daddy" onesie, wrap it up, and give it to that man I love with a huge smile on my face...and then see him smile just as big. Because that is how it should be.

Something I was able to totally understand in the article was women feeling that if they "gambled" with birth control, then the choice of marriage and babies or career wasn't theirs. It was whatever was "meant to be." I get the pressure. If it doesn't happen now, maybe it will never happen? But I whole-heartedly believe you can have the marriage and the babies and the career. When you choose. When you plan. And who cares which comes first? I think my generation has this fear that after 30 we've given up the marriage/baby path. Like it magically disappears. Puhhhlease.

And maybe marriage and babies aren't going to be part of your life story. So what. There are other things in life that will make you happy and fulfilled. Stop trying to force it to happen. Don't trap yourself with a baby and a man you're not sure about because you're afraid of not having it. A "this is better than nothing" attitude is not the route to go when it comes to PEOPLE. They deserve more. And so do you.

And you know what else? If the marriage and the man don't happen, but you've focused on your career, you are successful financially, you have a home, you are stable and happy - you, by all means, could still have a baby. You could adopt. What a gift to give. And you made it happen because you, my dear, are a kick ass woman. What could be more fulfilling than that?

So, ladies...my point is there are so many things in our lives we can't control. But there are some things we can. Or some things we can at least try to control. And luckily, thankfully for us, that is when we have a child. So use your right to use birth control. And take it a bit more seriously. Positive thinking is great--but not wishful thinking. In the wise words of Miss Gilbert - "Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be."

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