In Which Stepper is Bothered by Something and Rants About It Even Though It Still Doesn't Make Total Sense To Her.

A few days ago, I saw a commercial for BeYaz, the newest form of the Yaz birth control. It celebrated the beauty, youth, and freedom of attractive, trendy, and single women who were presented with many choices for where life would take them and were opting to not have babies.

Something about it really bothered me.

I couldn't put my finger on it. Yes - it was for the reincarnation of Yaz, a drug that had caused me plenty of problems. But that wasn't it. Yes, the women it suggested were the perfect candidates for the drug were young, gorgeous, and obviously unmarried (no rings) - suggesting that the glamorous thing to do in your twenties and early thirties is be unmarried yet sexually active. Yes, irksome. But that wasn't exactly it, either.
I wasn't morally insulted. Not exactly. I was personally hurt. And I couldn't figure out exactly why.

Then last night before bed, Bill pulled this video up on his (stinkin' awesome) Mac:

It was as if this video were the answer my soul had been seeking to the problem it had found with the BeYaz video.

It was willing to acknowledge that having a family is a sacrifice - but that this sacrifice is a gorgeous path to acute happiness. Elder Oaks says, "Mothers suffer pain and loss of personal priorities to bear and rear each child. Fathers adjust their lives and priorities to support their family...None of this service asks, what's in it for me?"

I love the normal and non-glamorous every-day 'family stuff' the video shows. It was willing to say that, hey - yeah! Making cookies with your 6 year old is messy! That having children does things to your hips that guarantees you won't be called back for any auditions to any BeYaz commercials! That you know what? If you decide to have a family and all your time and ALL your blessed energy is taken by those tiny souls who depend on you for everything, you probably won't be going on a trip to Paris.

I especially loved the shot of the young man sitting with his pregnant wife on the couch, just talking. I could hear that conversation in my mind. How moments before, all the fears and uncertainties she has been feeling bubbled to the surface in a meltdown - how he immediately wrapped her in his arms, and here we're seeing the calm after the emotional storm. A husband and wife, who are in this thing together, helping each other stay strong. I am very familiar with this scene, and how wonderful a husband who will sit and talk can be.

The BeYaz video made that stork holding that bundle look unappealing. Maybe even a bit ridiculous. That beautiful brunette who laughingly shook her head at the prospect seemed to be saying, Maybe later, Mr. Stork, but right now? I can't be tied down. I'm more interested in traveling/buying a house/having a relationship.

As though having a baby means you no longer want those things. And - worse - that you can no longer have them. It was as if it were saying that having a baby brings an abrupt and painful end to youth, beauty, freedom - everything that makes you interesting.

Okay. There is an element of truth, there. Once you've had a baby, things are irrevocably different. You aren't as free - as anyone toting a tot to the grocery store can attest. You aren't as young - as those of us who can no longer stay up past 11 agree. And, yes, your looks do change. Carrying and delivering a child is a process that permanently alters a body, a mind, a life.

But here's the secret.

The changes are all for the better.

What the first video doesn't tell you - and what the second video does - is that raising a family is noble. It's soul-expanding, life-enriching, lovely and DIVINE work.

Sure, I may never fit into my size six jeans again - but when I've got two pairs of little arms locked tightly around my neck, the LAST thing I'm caring about is my jeans.

I'm not saying a trip to Paris wouldn't be nice - though I'd rather see Ireland. Since you asked. What I *am* saying is that while that girl who chose Paris may look at my drool-stained t-shirt with pity as she passes me by in her designer heels, I may just reach out and grab her hand. And when she stops short in shock that I would be so bold, I may give it a squeeze; and I may pull my children in closer to me and look that girl honestly in the eye - woman to woman - and tell her the secret that BeYaz commercials and clothing catalogs and TV sitcoms all want her so desperately to disbelieve. 

"The world *is* mine," I would say. "It's all right here."

And then she would, of course, stagger beneath the awesome truth of it all.

Actually, she'd probably say 'ooo-kaaay' and pull her hand from my grasp and back away slowly until it was socially acceptable to run. And she'd board that plane to Paris.

I have no problem with Paris. For the record.

It's just that I find myself standing here on the edge of a precipice of mighty change. I'm about to become a mother of three children, three and under. And I will be the mother of these small children - and, alright, any who come after (we're not talking about that right now) forever. I am reconciling myself to the fact that small children will be my life - my entire life - for the next few years. Any 'me time' I may have managed to keep while it's been just Wyatt and Daphne is in serious jeopardy.

I am about to give myself over wholly to it.

And I am so excited. I do not feel a shred of regret. Not an ounce of uncertainty. I do feel a fair amount of fear and inadequacy. But motherhood has a way of making a girl brave and capable. I trust that.

I do feel an immense and humbling gratitude for a Father who would trust me with such amazing people to raise. And I do feel that I haven't given up anything that hasn't been replaced by something so much better and so much bigger. And when I think back on my days of youth, beauty and freedom - I have fond nostalgia. Those were magical days - days in which I fell in love and began the whole journey that brought me to this precipice.

This was my choice.

And the choice of countless friends and family members who were also willing to let go of "youth, beauty and freedom" in pursuit of something that I think is best described as a glorious, noble, and total sacrifice.

I think that might be what bothered me about the BeYaz commercial. What about my friends/siblings/parents/etc. who made the sacrifice and don't regret any of it? And what of my friends and their spouses who want children so desperately, but are unable? And what of my friends who want so desperately to have a family, but are unmarried? And what of those of us who get up every morning before we're ready to face the day to make that morning oatmeal because we know that even though right now, it's tedious - it's also so unbelievably worth it?


Charms said...

Amen. I love your post and I love being a mom.

Kristine said...

Thank you! I needed that. Time to recommit and love it! You're awesome.

Jennica said...

In which Jennica is extremely honest:

I have seen Paris - and London, and Rome, and China, and Korea, and most of the U.S for that matter.

I would rather have the oatmeal.

Keep up the good work. :)

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I. Love. This.


Christina D said...

Perfect timing! I was just going through a bit of a tough spot, wondering if I was the only crazy person in the world who actually loves having babies.

I wouldn't give it up for the world. What an adventure having children is - a much greater adventure than Paris, in my opinion. I wouldn't give up my beautiful children for anything.

Mbeth said...

I came across your blog via a friend on facebook.
Thank you for this post. you said it so beautifully.

Tamsin said...

I have also been bugged by that commercial, and I think what gets me is the idea that you're supposed to give up your dreams when you have kids. I refuse the idea that my life is over because I have a baby. A baby that is going to Norway, England and the Netherlands this summer. That that, BeYaz.

Kim said...

You are awesome Stepper! Beautiful post!

Jeff and Ari said...

Beautiful! I'm a big believer that you can have it all ... just not all at once. But I wouldn't trade my sweet baby for all the trips to Paris (or Ireland, because I'm with you on that one). So if having my baby means I don't see Europe again for a while, so be it. But someday I will ... and the next time Landon will be right by my side realizing why his mommy and daddy love it! So yep ... take that BeYaz

That Girl said...

Thank you for giving my lesson tomorrow.

Janey said...

Haven't seen that commercial because we don't have cable. Ugh, very disturbing.

After having sort of a mentally rough and exhausting week, that 2nd video made me cry. As much as I feel stressed out w/ kids, there's nothing I'd rather be doing. In Kristine's words, "time to recommit".

Thank you mucho!!

kambam said...

I love your blog and I hated this commercial!

Christie said...

My cousin posted your blog on my facebook page. i am also prego with my third. your post made me cry. Its perfect. Thank you i wish more people could see that beneath all the tears, whinning, and long nights- having children is the most wonderful, profound, and fabulously challenging journey anyone can be on. thank you. may the Lord give us strength for the third

Angela said...

Thank you!! I am going to be induced tomorrow morning with my third child...and this post really touched me. This was just what I needed today!!