Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Guest Post: Getting a Little Passionate This Morning With the Comment Section



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Lauren Johnson received her degree in journalism from the University of Utah and served a Mormon mission in Cleveland, Ohio. A laid-off television reporter, she currently resides in Salt Lake City. Lauren is an avid blogger - you can find her at laurenruthie.blogspot.com. She’s also a tweeter @laurenruthie. Read her first MMM guest post here.

Each morning, it's the same. I wake up, roll over, drink my cup of water sitting on my bedside table placed there the night before, and then grab my phone and read the news. Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune, Google News, and CNN are my basic morning go-to's.

Before I go further, last night was a more difficult night. I laid in bed and worried about my future. Uncertainty weighed on me. I think I can say I was genuinely frightened. Fear is a very real feeling--one to be dealt with--but, I believe, unnecessary in achieving anything that one wants in life. Fear is the opposite of faith. That sums it up. And although I understand this, sometimes fear creeps up on me and I have to face it. I don't try to run away from my fear, because it will always catch me. Instead, I embrace it. I hold it close, as if it were a child with nowhere to go, and I try to understand and listen to what it has to say. I repeat back to my fear what it tells me, to make sure I understand. I have a conversation with my fear. Yesterday, I felt the fear of giving up what I thought was my dream career in reporting. I felt the fear of not having a job I loved, and not making enough money to support myself or those I love. And then I felt the fear and "what ifs" of marriage and love. What if I never got married? What if I didn't become a mother? There were a few tears, but after talking it out I felt a bit better--safer--and I fell asleep.

Back to this morning: I woke up. I drank my water. I grabbed my phone and started reading. The first headline that caught my eye was from Deseret News: Number of Older Women Having Babies Continues to Grow.

I read the article with happiness. I could tell my fear had snuck off while I slept. It seemed I had given my fear enough comfort and enough listening and love, that he was good to skip off and do his own thing for a while, rather than keep tormenting me.

The article definitely described the negatives of later motherhood. Things fear and I have talked about before--energy and health, fertility, generational gaps. But it also talked about the benefits that made me so happy--that children with older parents have higher IQ's, better vocabularies, better opportunities and security, and that parents of older children often live longer. The thing that made me the most happy was realizing that it was NORMAL. I knew this. Of course I knew this! Gosh, I only know thousands of ladies and gentlemen just like me in the Salt Lake Valley alone. Older parenting is the new NORMAL. I am not alone.

Then I went to the comment section.

I'm a comment junkie. I ought to stop. It's like reality television for the newspaper reader. Some dude with the screen name Rock On wrote some lame stuff. Actually, I take that back. It wasn't lame. It was out-of-touch, sorta like his screen name. He said things like this: [with added inserts from me].
"You make it sound like it's the new way to live. Yes, have the child, but don't delude anyone into thinking that's where society is headed. Its a poor overall choice. Those who have held off having a child earlier then when they could seem to be the epitome of the "me generation.""

"Not talking about ladies who never found the right guy. That's an exception." [Well, thanks Rock On, but then who ARE you talking about??]

"As a woman gets older her eggs become far more likely to have a child with such birth defects as Downs Syndrome." [No sh*# Sherlock!] Again, so long as older parents are the quirky part of the stats, that's fine. But those comments about "40 is the new 20" are idealistic and absurd. For a country, that would be the death knell. Ultimately the country will cease to exist." As a last resort, it's good to see a woman be able to successfully have a child at 40, but it is nothing to crow about and nothing to make like it is now the new normal."
So, I just responded. In my renewed strength of the morning, with a newfound bravery to move forward and accomplish my goals, with fear off in the distance, I gave my two cents on the ever-classy comment board.

laurenruthie
Salt Lake City, UT
Rock On says: "It's nothing to crow about and nothing to make like it is now the new normal."

I think this statement is simply wrong and out-of-touch. I am a single 32 year-old woman, never married, LDS even, and I am the normal in Salt Lake City. There are thousands of us. We're not single and childless because of selfishness, or free-thinking views. We never planned for it to be this way, but have discovered it is the new normal because we're far from alone. We are women who will make incredible mothers, and have the dream to be mothers. Now, we are thinking (and MUST think) outside of the box, to find hope in having and raising children at an older age. For the benefit of society and community, everyone should understand this and join with us, because we will be the best kind of mothers, and our children are this country's future. Later marriage rates, later parenthood--this is statewide and countrywide. It is the new normal. To think otherwise is ignorance. The most incredible mothers will be older mothers. We need to be looking at the best ways to make this work for everyone's sake."
And now that I've commented, and now that I've blogged, I'm gonna take the wise advice my mother gave me last week - When solving a problem: Pray or Google it. I'm doing both. Today's gonna be productive. I can tell.

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