Parenthood Juggle: I Wanted to be a Mother, so I Needed a Good Job

HPIM0257.JPGI wanted to be a mother, so I needed a good job.

“I might go and have a baby for some rich people,” said a woman from my dorms whose name I have long since forgotten. She was lamenting about how her bank account had “no money whatsoever,” and she wasn’t sure–although she was graduating without debt–if she wanted to work. I was speechless, but listened as she made her way out of the dorm with the last of her belongings. I had significant student loan debt, so was anxious for a job to pay it all off. But that is not the only reason I wanted a good job.

I wanted to be a mother, so I needed a good job.

I have known since I was 15 that I could not have children naturally. Still in high school, and amid the Laurel classes that seemed constantly focused on temple marriage “so sweet spirits can be born in the covenant,” I determined to be a mother. This would be in spite of the ignorant Young Women program, because I knew I would need a job more than I needed an “eternal companion” to become a mother. I was not rich. Nether was my family. Temple marriage was statistically easier than adoption, so I chose to obtain a Bachelors, then postgrad degrees. I wanted to be a mother, so I needed a good job.

I have never met a “rich” infertile couple. Never. I have met couples who knew of their own infertility, determined to become parents, and worked hard at school work and otherwise to become successful. They are successful, and they do well financially. But the motivation is not money. The motivation is parenthood. LDS Family Services caps adoptions at $10,000. The problem is that LDS family services is severely restricted in the number of children being surrendered for adoption, and they often work in conjunction with other agencies. At my last check, the average adoption is about $30,000, with IVF being in the $12,000- $30,000 park (pending insurance and even socialised medicine coverage) and surrogacy is generally advertised at $100,000. So you see, I wanted to be a mother, so I needed a good job.

There are even more reasons why I chose my career path. I never thought twice about seeking a high-paying profession. And I wanted to be married to someone who was of like mind: someone who wanted a be a father, someone who was determined in family and career so his career would also help with the costs associated with gaining a family. Like minds attract, so I hungrily sought academic and professional advancement. Some Mormon women berated me and my professional ambitions. But I didn’t care. I wanted to be a mother, so I needed a good job.

My career could not be lightly chosen. Teaching supposedly “looks great” on adoption and “intended parent” (for surrogacy) applications, as does being highly educated. Professorship was the path I chose. After all, I wanted to be a mother, so I needed a good job.

Having a well-regarded and well-paying job inevitably also means good benefits like medical and life insurances that could promise that a potential child would have immense provisions under our care. Having a good career also allowed us to put a down payment on a house, making us looks secure, responsible, trustworthy. In addition to large sums of money, we needed to look good on paper for “birth mothers,” “gestational surrogates,” adoption and surrogacy agencies, governments, counsellors, friends and pastors who would write dozens of letters of recommendation on our behalf. I wanted to be a mother, so I needed a good job.

There are distinct benefits to the academic path I chose. Being in constant need of money is the way of life for many students. Being surrounded by impoverished students helped me to remained focused on saving money for yet another adoption application, surrogacy contract or otherwise. In addition, school did not “shut down” for me between terms, just like our fight for a family did not shut down for weekends, holidays… so if I needed to immerse myself in research to escape from the fertility fight, there was always a place and an associate anxious to engage academically. Because I wanted to be a mother, a good job helped keep me sane.

And on days of sadness and failure, I looked to my academic publishing and my legacy, my children. Because I still did something. In my years of infertility, I did not sit like so many of the other infertile Mormon women I knew, weeping, unfavoured and alone. I worked. And worked. And worked. And wept. And worked some more. And in my work, I celebrated the gifts God gave me in order to become a professional.  My career is a blessing. It would be blasphemous to state otherwise. Because I wanted to be a mother, so God gave me a good job.

-Submitted by Spunky

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