Oh Baby, No Baby?

I’m not pregnant. 

Let’s just get that out of the way now, shall we?

For some reason, Stereotypical gender roles indicate that, because I’m 34 years old, I should be well on the way to motherhood by now…but that’s just not the case. Still, my fertility (or lack thereof), and the fertility of all women, is always up for discussion. But I don’t have to tell you we have no boundaries when it comes to women’s bodies, do I?

Even when it’s asked with love, “When are you going to have a baby?” is an inescapable and frustrating question for so many women. There are a bazillion layers to dissect here, so just for today’s blog post, I’m going to focus on the part that hit me the hardest last year: sharing big news.

Shockingly enough, a woman in her thirties can have news to share that isn’t related to having a baby.

When I was going to share the news about our move to Baltimore last summer, I chose my words very carefully. Like, I practiced how I was going to tell people because I knew – I just knew – that if I buried the lede even the slightest bit, folks were going to jump to the pregnancy conclusion.

Think about it. If a woman of “childbearing age” starts an announcement with “I have news…” where does the mind jump? I mean, even the word announcement evokes images of baby bumps and showers and maternity leave.

Still, I had high hopes for my enlightened, feminist friends and colleagues as I prepared to give notice of my international relocation.

I phrased my news as such:

“So, Paul got a new job and we’re moving to Baltimore!”

The response?

“What? Oh, I thought you were going to tell me you’re pregnant!”

Bob's Face Palm

What do you even say to that? Ummmm, nope. Not pregnant, just preparing to leave my job, sell my home, and move to another country, so…NBD, eh?

I’m not talking about one or two individuals here either. With the exception of my nearest and dearest who already knew my in/fertility situation (more on that in a future post), there were a lot of responses of this nature.

It was frustrating because I really thought I had set myself up for news-sharing, baby-avoiding success by phrasing my move the way I had. I was also disappointed that even the most progressive, staunch feminist, liberal minded people still felt the need to share with me that they were expecting a baby announcement.

Now, I don’t blame these people for going there. And I know the question wasn’t intended in any way to be hurtful or even prying. Some even said it offhandedly: “oh, you seemed like you were going to tell me something else – like that you were pregnant.” But the fact remains that we as a society have got to stop being so obtuse when it comes to sensitive and personal questions about women’s bodies.

So, the next time a female friend says she’s got something to share, consider maybe that she’s up for a promotion, or that she just had something published, or that she found the absolute best new pizza place in town. Aren’t all those things worthy of celebration too?

Design

Signs of Spring with Fujifilm

**Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Fujifilm who generously provided me with X-A3 camera to facilitate my search for spring. The opinions, pictures, hopes, and dreams shared in this post belong to me (and Rigby).**

It’s mid March and, while I’m very sorry to be missing the Hygge-filled snow storms in Nova Scotia this week, here in Baltimore I’m scouring the streets for signs of spring.

This weekend, armed with my Fujifilm X-A3 camera, Rigby and I tried to capture some moments that evoked that feeling that comes when the sky begins to change from gray to blue.

Like sparse patches of green grass or ivy snaking up the still-leafless trees. Just just begging to be sniffed by Rigby.

Green Vines.jpg

Or when there’s no more ice on the water preventing you from getting wet and muddy.

Rigby in the Sun.jpg

Or when the sun warms the concrete so you can dry off after an impromptu swim.

Rigby Sunning.jpg

What signs do you look for when searching for spring?

Design

 

You Are Allowed to Take Up Space: Part 3 STUFF

Click here to read You are Allowed to Take Up Space: Part 1 BODY

And

Click here to read You are Allowed to Take Up Space: Part 2 MIND

The pressure to keep a beautiful home is a responsibility thrust upon women for decades, but perhaps most recently with the rise of social media and the additional pressures to not only have a tidy house but have one that is insta-worthy as well. It might be clean, but how will it look in those blog photos?

Having a perma-staged house requires more than a dutiful commitment to regular cleaning, but also the ownership of the prettiest stuff and in *just* the right quantities. As a lover of maximalist decor I am acutely aware of the ideals of minimalism, complete with an absence of cords. (Seriously, ever notice how there are NEVER cords in pictures of staged rooms? Where do they go?)

kaboompics_Blue sofa with pillows in a designer living room interior
Minimalist Ideal

I recently read a piece about Big Decluttering that really spoke to me. In Dame Magazine, Kate Washington writes

The classism and privilege baked into minimalism are multilayered. Big Decluttering, by positing the streamlined home as a purely personal matter of choice and shifting women’s attention to the domestic sphere, can distract from larger systems of oppression—including the direct oppression of less-privileged women and, often, children, who are severely underpaid for the labor of making all the cheap stuff that more privileged women are taught to toss out of our homes.

This truth has become painfully apparent to me since living in the USA. I’m entirely susceptible to the charms of decor available at a certain chain store that recently also experienced a short-lived residence in Canada.  *cough cough* And I’m not talking about Zellers.

This store sells its overstock and out-of-season items to the nearby Goodwill locations in my region that, in turn, sell the items at deep discounts. I can say with non-mathematical certainty that the marble cheeseboards, gold-dipped end tables, and copper-lettered wall art declaring “Seize the Day” and “It’s Wine O’ Clock Somewhere” lose 75% of their charm once strewn about the shelves of a thrift store, laying next to previously viewed DVDs, planners dated 2017, and sparkly cases for iPhones 5 and 6. (But if you think I didn’t still buy that gold-dipped end table, you are mistaken.)

The clincher is that we all already know that the producers of these goods, including fast fashion, are undoubtedly women, who are undoubtedly located outside of North America, and who are undoubtedly underpaid. This is not new information. Still, an artisan created end table of higher quality, produced locally, would most likely sport a price tag well above my budget.

Desire can only carry you so far. Perhaps if that end table was priced at 80% the regular cost for female patrons? Just a thought.

eclectic-gallery-wall-with-tv-eclectic-gallery-wall-fe17eb87fb0b76b5.jpg
My Ideal

All this being said, I’m not here to criticize my friends who are striving to find balance between all the STUFF to create the home she wants, not just the one we are told we should aspire to. In fact, follow my gal Ruth at Everything Unscripted who is strategically (and bravely) working to declutter her home and share her progress. I’m tuning into her FB Lives to help figure out how to deal with my piles of papers all over my office (or what I affectionately call my “blogger hovel”).

Ultimately, as I mentioned in the previous 2 parts to this series, you have to take up the space that you want. Occupy your home. It’s where you can feel safe to express yourself. If you want to fill it up with baskets of yarn (woven wall tapestries are making a comeback, after all) or souvenirs from your travels, go for it. And, by the same token, if you’re looking to clear space, do it because it’s what you want, and not because of an aspirational room reveal you saw on Pinterest. I promise you: a staged home is not a comfortable home.

This space belongs to all of us. Fill it up. Fill it up with your body and your thoughts and ideas, and the things you hold dear.

Design