I have to comment on the perception people have of pregnant women and families in general. I understand that for many women, getting pregnant signifies a new chapter unfolding in their lives--a chapter centered around family and devotion to them.
However, just because many women feel that way, it doesn't mean that ALL women do. Personally, I view pregnancy and having a child as an opportunity for an experience.
I want the child to become a part of my life and, likewise, I want to be a part of its life. I want to raise the child to be a healthy, happy, contributing member of society, however, to do so I do not believe it requires me to, from now on, stay home and focus on them 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Yes, children take a lot of care, and there is no getting around that my life will change drastically. I will be busier and centered around the needs of my child, especially while he or she is young. And, I plan to be involved and enjoy being around my darling child--to take care of it and play with it and have fun. However, I refuse to let this define me or prevent me from also having a life of my own.
The same thing happened when I got married. Everyone said, "Wow, I didn't think you were ready to settle down!" And I was like, "What do you mean? Just because I get married, doesn't mean I suddenly stop talking to all my friends and spend 24 hours a day with my husband." My interpretation of marriage is one where my husband is a friend and partner--someone to share my life with--not to BE my whole life. He and I are great friends and we go out and have fun with our other friends--single, married, it doesn't matter. Maybe we don't go out as often as we used to and we have nights in here and there, but he is just as happy to stay home on a Saturday night as I am to go party it up with the girls. And, I don't see why it has to be any different. Marriage did not equal my life being over. I can still go out, have fun, and live it up with my friends--single or married. It's simply the same fun, exciting time it was before, only more enriched through sharing it with a partner.
Similarly, I feel the same way about children. I understand it will be very different, but just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean I can no longer go out with my friends for a nice dinner and drinks. It doesn't even mean I can't go out clubbing and dancing. Sure, I have to be more careful and I'll probably get tired more quickly, but it doesn't HAVE to be anything specific if I don't want it to be. I know some people will disagree with me, but I believe this is a personal choice.
Recently in talking to a friend, I said, "Sure! Let's go out. I love to go out and party." And her response was, "Then why are you pregnant?" Her response surprised me. Sure, my life is going to change, but just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean I no longer want to go out and have fun with my friends--or that I'm no longer going to go out or have fun at parties. I am still ME. I'll party with my kid at home and party with my friends when I can, but just because I have a child means I want to stop all that or that I will have to. I thought carefully about her question because I felt like I was replying for all fun-loving pregnant women everywhere,
"Because I can have it all," I said.
And that basically sums it up for me.
I can have a job, a family, and a fabulous life with friends, fun, and excitement. Just because I have one doesn't mean I can't have the others. Things may change, but in the end, I'll love what I always loved and if having fun to me means partying or going out with the girls, I'll find a way to make it work. And, I don't see why other people have to judge that so specifically. Let the pregnant woman guide the way on what she wants. Some women want it all. Some women want the family life. Let them have it!