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Monday, December 3, 2012

Re: The Princess Is Pregnant

Posted by on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 10:59 AM

As Charles and the rest of the world have announced by now, a royal fetus has taken up residence in a newly-minted royal womb! If all goes according to nature's plan, in about eight months, the Duchess of Cambridge will be squatting over a red carpet lined with trumpeters and pushing out an heir to the throne.

Congratulations to the happy couple on their very intentional pregnancy. But it also underscores how, in many rich and developing parts of the world alike, a woman's primary duty (and desire) is still assumed to be childbirth, regardless of her wishes or talents. Prince William marries a lady and after "oohing" over her dress for a day, all eyes dropped to her womb. We've been watching that thing like an egg timer for years now, just waiting for it to go off. I can't count the number of articles I've read about the speculative contents of her womb. It's a bit creepy.

Many women want children, and have children, at their own pace. But increasingly, that pace doesn't align with traditional societal or familial expectations, as little girls in western societies are encouraged to "be anything you want to be!" until our mid-20s, when the pressure to reproduce starts mounting.

When I graduated college, the first thing my grandmother said to me was, "Congratulations! Now you can settle down and have a baby!" I get some variation of that every time I go home for a visit, which is aggravating for women like me who ritualistically salt their wombs every morning, right after brushing their teeth.

Ain't nothing growing in that neck of my woods except the occasional UTI. I've given my grandmother permission to name my UTIs but that's all she's getting out of me for a few more years, at least.


Comments (48) RSS

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If one's relatives are moderate to conservative, the baby talk can get pushed back by refusing to marry a dude (because babies first would reverse the order of the song! "First comes love..."). But then eventually they'll switch from "So when are you going to get married?" to "You know you only have a few years left to find a man, right?"
Posted by sahara29 on December 3, 2012 at 11:14 AM · Report this
AmyC 2
At this very moment I am procrastinating from working on my long paper for law school, which is about assisted reproductive technologies. One of the points I argue is that we ought to require comprehensive insurance coverage for ART because if our daughters actually do what we tell them they should - go to school, build a career, do important things - by the time they're ready to have babies, they can't. If we're serious about men and women having equal opportunities in the workplace, we need to make the babymaking feasible in later years.
Posted by AmyC on December 3, 2012 at 11:17 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 3
Morning sickness is a sign that her body hasn't been exposed to the father's semen very often. I'm not saying it was the gardener. Could have been a groom or a footman or a game keeper. The list goes on.

Big mistake to tell the whole world this early. Odds of miscarriage are way too high.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on December 3, 2012 at 11:18 AM · Report this
Hernandez 4
Are you married? I've noticed that, although all women get this societal pressure to pop out babies as soon as they hit their mid-twenties, the pressure skyrockets for young(er), childless married women.

It's pretty ridiculous in my opinion, and it pisses me off. Like the fact that Mrs. Hernandez and I are in love and wanted to get married because we love each other is somehow an insufficient reason for marriage unless I'm knocking her up every year. Pardon us for taking our time to do things for ourselves before locking into a lifetime of parenthood. As @2 points out, it takes time to complete an education and build a career. Many if not most of the younger parents I have met face some pretty significant financial struggles, precisely because having kids precluded them from having the time and money to improve their economic fortunes.
Posted by Hernandez on December 3, 2012 at 11:22 AM · Report this
Posted by sgt_doom on December 3, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this
Fnarf 6
Breeding in the Royal Family is not one bit different than breeding in the Royal Stables. Princess Cathy is a breeding cow, whose sole purpose on earth is to produce a new generation of tourist attraction.
Posted by Fnarf on December 3, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 7

We tell them they should? We? You maybe.

Why can't they have kids first and a career later? Why can't they simply make a choice, one or the other? You're trying to micromanage people's lives.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on December 3, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 8
The British royal faily may be the least relevant thing that is ever reported in the news. Odd how so many Americans fawn over a bunch of meritless schlubs born into privilege who just suck from the government teat all day and get thrown roses for doing so. Oh wait...

More importantly though, what is your preferred method for salting your womb, Cienna?

Posted by Theodore Gorath on December 3, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 9
@2: Do not forget that health insurance is about pooling resources to treat people's medical necessities. So what you are asking for pretty much is people paying more in premiums so that other people can choose to have children/have children later in life. It is not just free money/care, people are putting it in the pool.

Personally, I have no problems with my premiums going to emergency rooms, therapies, and the like, but having a child is not medically necessary, or necessary at all. It should certainly not be the responsibility of the insurance pool to ensure you can make any life choices you want, whenever you want.

Also, adoption. If you want a child at any age, there are hundreds out there that need homes.

Health insurance premiums are high enough (and growing) without adding in a bunch of unnecessary and elective procedures. Especially one which is so expensive, and can take several procedures to get it to work.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on December 3, 2012 at 11:36 AM · Report this
seatackled 10
I was watching Big Bang Theory a couple of weeks ago when Howard found out that his wife Bernadette didn't like children and never wanted any. I found the resolution curious. Bernadette decided that she would be willing to have kids after all, so long as she continued working while Howard could give up his job and stay home taking care of the kids. That whole get-pregnant-and-bear-a-fetus was of no concern whatsoever.
Posted by seatackled on December 3, 2012 at 11:42 AM · Report this
very bad homo 11
People are oddly fascinated by babies. I don't really get it.
Posted by very bad homo on December 3, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Report this
yes, better just not say "congrats," as you might be unintentinoally fostering patriarchical assumptions, misogynist thought patterns, sublte cues in society reinforceing traditional women's roles, etc.

God, it's sure hard to be a decent proper pc person isn't it.

So many rules.

So much to correct.
Posted by why not just "congrats"? on December 3, 2012 at 11:52 AM · Report this
That bit about morning sickness is absolute bullshit.
Posted by swing state voter on December 3, 2012 at 11:53 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 14
Genetically speaking, it's probably better to have babies in your 20s versus your 40s. So it's not a 100% ridiculous thing to suggest to a woman in her 20's. Also, Grandparents want to live long enough to be Great-Grandparents, so cut them some slack.
Posted by Max Solomon on December 3, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Knat 15
I couldn't help but cackle at the bit about salting your uterus as part of the morning routine.

But, as Hernandez pointed out, don't think that the "When are you going to have children?" routine happens exclusively to women. I'm visiting family by myself this year (wife has to work), and I'm fully expecting to hear that out of each of my relatives at least once. When she's with me, they feel more awkward about broaching the subject. When it's just me, they don't even hesitate.
Posted by Knat on December 3, 2012 at 12:05 PM · Report this
eastcoastreader 16
@3 oh please, that's total bullshit.

BTW, KM has Hyperemesis Gravidarum and might spend her entire pregnancy in the hospital because of it. regardless of the ridiculous media coverage of her uterine activities, I feel badly for her, she's in for a really awful time of it.
Posted by eastcoastreader on December 3, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Report this
AmyC 17
@9 - expensive as it is, ART doesn't increase premiums that much. Coupla bucks per year. And I tend to agree with you about adoption being preferable, but it isn't an option for some couples.

@7 - the point is they should have a choice. Babies first, then career; or babies and career at the same time; or career first then babies. What I'm saying is that without making ART more accessible that third option isn't really an option for a lot of women because they age out.
Posted by AmyC on December 3, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Report this
Dougsf 18
If comments from our grandmothers were part of the metric for which we judged attitudes in our society, we'd be fucked.

Leering over the royal family is just entertainment for the common folk. They're happy to have a new character in their stories.
Posted by Dougsf on December 3, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 19
@13 @16

Amazing. Science discovered the cure for another ailment and everybody gets angry and goes into denial.

You're welcome anyway.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on December 3, 2012 at 12:31 PM · Report this
@6 it is kind of funny that what once was a deadly serious issue that could lead to civil war and/or invasion if the princess couldn't crank out the heir has, in fact, become nothing but a tourist attraction. Progress of a sort.
Posted by Westside forever on December 3, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 21
Cheese and crackers, I'm so glad I never had any kids. Keep salting in case you lose your mind.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on December 3, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this

how dare you mock royal issue issues like that.

Off with your head!
Posted by HRH Henry VIII on December 3, 2012 at 1:19 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 23
@14 is correct.

If you're going to have kids, might as well just do it, there never is a "good time" for it.
Posted by Will in Seattle on December 3, 2012 at 1:21 PM · Report this
Catherwood 24
@19 Are you talking about that Gallup guy's theory that he pulled out of his ass with absolutely no supporting data, nor even any plausible physiological mechanism? You are? Thanks!

Posted by Catherwood on December 3, 2012 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 25

For those under 50, *plonk* is how internet users of a, uh, certain age, plug their ears and say "la la la la la".

It's easy to see why this makes some women really, really angry. Not that anger can change facts.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on December 3, 2012 at 1:54 PM · Report this
"Morning sickness is a sign that her body hasn't been exposed to the father's semen very often."

Can't find a single study that says this is true. Show me one.

Also, Kate is 30, not 20. She's a pretty good age to have children and guess what? Just as any woman gets to decide when to have kids, so does Kate. Who waited, dated, married and is having kids.

Also, the correct answer to anyone asking, "When are you having kids?" is...when I'm ready.

Posted by westello on December 3, 2012 at 1:59 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 27
"Congratulations! Now you can settle down and have a baby!"

For reelz? Man, that sounds like a woman who went through Ellis Island. I thought non-Mormon parents and grandparents who encouraged their offspring to breed had just about died out. Hard to imagine any woman who went through the feminist movement of the 70s saying to her daughter or granddaughter, "Hey, start blowing 'em out!"

Hey...I take that back. I was unfortunate enough to have to sit through a Married to Jonas episode a few weeks ago where fairly young Mama Jonas was going ape shit on her son (who'd been married less than six months) for not producing an 8-pounder by now. I would have told that woman (mother or not) to tend to her own life and issues - that starting a family (or not) is entirely a decision between the husband and wife. So, butt the fuck out.

Justified because in that instance it should be noted that she was living off her kids - not the other way around.
Posted by Bauhaus I on December 3, 2012 at 2:06 PM · Report this
"I can't count the number of articles I've read about the speculative contents of her womb. It's a bit creepy."

I'd say so but at least you are aware of the problem.
Posted by anon1256 on December 3, 2012 at 2:08 PM · Report this
Pick1 29
@28 What's in the womb? WHAT'S IN THE FUCKING WOMB?!?
Posted by Pick1 on December 3, 2012 at 3:06 PM · Report this
@9, that's bullshit. No, children are not medically necessary, and any one specific child is not specifically necessary. It's not necessary for people to have like 10 children. But children, in general, are necessary for the continued existence of humanity.

For example, if you want to retire some day, have a happy couple of decades, and then die in your 80s with a warm, safe house, with electricity, a sweet internet connection, access to good food, etc... it is absolutely necessary to you personally that children continue to be born to keep our society running. Producing food, providing emergency and medical services, keeping the infrastructure in working order - all of these things are going to be important to your elderly ass, and none of those things will be able to continue if people don't keep popping out babies. So spare us your smug "babies aren't a medical necessity" garbage.
Posted by JenV on December 3, 2012 at 4:08 PM · Report this
Beetlecat 31
@30 you have totally jumped into hyperbole land.
Posted by Beetlecat on December 3, 2012 at 4:53 PM · Report this
I respect any individuals choices about this, but I have to say there IS a god damn biological limit to when a woman can choose to have a baby. I feel like the opposite pressure can actually show up - you're taught "goddammit don't get anyone pregnant" so you avoid the fuck out of it for years, because it will fuck up your (or her) career, and then bam. Your wife is almost too old to conceive. The odds of pregnancy go off a cliff after you hit 35, so seriously, if you think you want one, ever, do it now.
Posted by STJA on December 3, 2012 at 5:09 PM · Report this
ams_ 33
@32. Yep.

The answer Is to make the workplace and society in general more hospitable for women with children. If the "when are you going to pop one out" (much like the "no abortions for anybody") crowd actually cared they would work toward that.

Posted by ams_ on December 3, 2012 at 5:57 PM · Report this
ams_ 34
It also enrages me that many feminists advocate never getting pregnant so they can enjoy male privilege, rather than fighting for the rights of women who have children. Not that Anna does that, but I think the whole discussion usually misses the point.
Posted by ams_ on December 3, 2012 at 5:59 PM · Report this
@31, I did just realize upon rereading that his point was against using insurance money for assisted reproduction, not general pre-natal-care sorts of things. So I misunderstood. My bad.
Posted by JenV on December 3, 2012 at 6:38 PM · Report this
carriemcc 36
The proper answer to "When are you going to have children?" is "None of your fucking business."

It worked when I said it to my parents, grandparents, and in-laws.
Posted by carriemcc on December 3, 2012 at 7:52 PM · Report this
@9 You clearly are the owner of a penis.
Posted by kersy on December 3, 2012 at 9:12 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 38
You are clearly someone without ability to add to a conversation in any meaningful way.

Do try to pay attention and keep up.

Posted by Theodore Gorath on December 4, 2012 at 5:11 AM · Report this
sun runner 39
@14: "Grandparents want to live long enough to be Great-Grandparents, so cut them some slack." What? My parents are currently 67 and I highly doubt wanting to be a great-grandparent has ever crossed my mom's mind. In 25 years, when my nephew is 30 years old, she'll be 92, if she's even alive at all.

@17: "the point is they should have a choice. Babies first, then career; or babies and career at the same time; or career first then babies." Or, a career and no babies at all. No babies is also a perfectly valid option.

Not for Will and Kate, however. Although it certainly would have been a cruel twist if the royal reproductive organs had turned out to be infertile.
Posted by sun runner on December 4, 2012 at 6:31 AM · Report this
onion 40
Early 20s is a little early for the baby pressure and it often backfires anyway. But women 30 or older should be artfully and tactfully pressured a wee bit. Or at least reminded once or twice. Once you are 35 fertility gets dicey. Or will soon get dicey. If one runs into problems then it causes all sorts of regret and panic.
Posted by onion on December 4, 2012 at 7:59 AM · Report this
Thank you! All of this news about Kate Middleton's womb since they got married has been grossing me out, to say the least.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on December 4, 2012 at 8:52 AM · Report this
@40: Nobody should ever be pressured into bringing another human being into the world.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on December 4, 2012 at 8:53 AM · Report this
@38 People who say things like " having a child is not medically necessary" do not have any idea what it's like to spend half of your life time trying NOT to get pregnant. Choosing not to have children is a perfectly normal choice and should be respected, but having children is a normal part of life as a woman and pregnancy is a biological fact of their anatomy. To imply that it's some selfish act different not worthy of care reeks of male privilege and sexism.
Posted by kersy on December 4, 2012 at 9:19 AM · Report this
@27: "I thought non-Mormon parents and grandparents who encouraged their offspring to breed had just about died out.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I must introduce you to my in-laws. All of them. Both my MIL's and FIL's family. Hubby and I were married quite young, but we had a LOT of things to take care of before we were set up and ready for kids. And then ran into reproductive issues which had nothing to do with my age.

I was harassed with some form of "when are you going to have a baby?" in every. single. conversation. with an in-law for over twelve years. I'm not exaggerating; after a few years I started keeping notes. Every phone call, every dinner, every holiday. EVERY. Hubby got the same thing if I didn't come to the phone. Eventually I lost my temper and screamed at one of them, and that was apparently the signal to back off, because I was "so touchy about it." Fuck off, you insensitive shits, after twelve years I'd be touchy about being asked my hair color!

So yeah, I really feel for Kate.
Posted by Action Kate on December 4, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
The way people are talking about women's pregnancies after 35, you'd think her womb completely shuts off at that age. Yeah, sure, the risk of various birth defects goes up, but it's not exactly impossible to give birth to a health baby at that age. Far from it, for most women. So yeah, it's not actually a terrible idea that women wait to have kids if their career and education are more important to them, especially since there is a strong correlation between the education of the mother (and not the father) and how well a child does in school and his or her career. My mom waited until 33 to have me and 36 to have my sister, and we both turned out fine - a lot better, in fact, than I think we probably had if my mom had popped us out right after getting married at 24 instead of going to law school and making a name for herself in a top law firm first.
Posted by Whoop Di Doo on December 4, 2012 at 12:50 PM · Report this
thecheesegirl 46
@3 Yeaaaaah, no. I assure you, my husband is the father of my child, and I was exposed to his semen plenty, but I still had such bad morning sickness that I lost 15 pounds in the first trimester of my pregnancy and continued to feel intermittent nausea until the day the kid was born.
Additionally, some scientific evidence suggests that high hCG levels correlate to morning sickness, in which case a woman being treated for HG, as Kate is, is unlikely to miscarry.
Posted by thecheesegirl on December 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM · Report this
thecheesegirl 47
And @45: My mom was 39 when she had me, and 42 when she had my brother, so I don't have a problem with women having kids at a relatively advanced age; but the point isn't that women should drop out of school and have babies while their uteri are plump and pink and damn the consequences, the point is that our society should reorganize so that it's easier for women who do want to have children at a young age, when it's easiest to conceive, to also achieve success in their careers and higher education.
Posted by thecheesegirl on December 4, 2012 at 3:04 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 48
@43: Having a child is not necessarily a selfish act, but it does become more so when you demand other people pay for you to go through medically unnecessary and expensive, repetitive treatments for something that you just personally want, and the world does not need.

I feel as though you must have missed something. I never claimed that pregnant women do not deserve insured care. I never said that newborns do not deserve insured care. I said that legally forcing carriers and members to pay for ART treatments is wrong because it is not even close to a medical necessity. It is a luxury. Which is why Doctors Without Borders do not go to war-torn countries to do artificial insemination.

Also, look up what "Male Privilege" is. It actually means something specific, it is not just a buzzword to throw into situations which you perceive are unfair. Because guess what? While many health insurance plans cover AI/IVF, basically none cover male fertility treatments. I have been working in the health care industry for many years now, I have seen it firsthand.

Therefore, your claim of "male privilege" could not be farther from the truth.

Posted by Theodore Gorath on December 5, 2012 at 7:29 AM · Report this

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