Bosses are, generally speaking, terrible people who extract surplus labour from your body and mind. When bosses are not these terrible people, we are delightedly surprised. My boss here at SBS Life happens to be quite un-terrible, and I have often thought of sending her some sort of unsolicited pastry. A lovely confection, perhaps with the words, “Thanks for not being completely terrible, Caitlin” piped on the top.
Caitlin, however, will now be receiving a different kind of treat. Perhaps a sugarless Paleo hate-cake with the words, “How could you so selfishly get pregnant?” written in strips of kale. Caitlin has decided that the miracle of life is much more important than the miracle of Helen, and I am, as I have told her, very angry.
Look. I know this reaction is irrational. I know that the species is likely to continue and if it does, I’d prefer it to be drawn from the genes and the care of a nice lady editor from SBS. I also know that pregnant persons regularly endure the worst kind of sexism, and that I am not helping out my gender much by chiding one very decent chick. I have examined these feelings in a feminist way and punished myself with kale strips. Even so—and even as I am confident that the New Caitlin will be almost as fabulous as the old one and, of course, that parental leave is a basic worker’s right—pregnancy has a very mystical and terrifying effect on me.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to grasp that some female bodies can just pop off and do the work of goddesses.
Setting aside all the usual sexism, my goodness. How freaky is it when someone casually announces that they are about to generate new life? I don’t think I’ll ever be able to grasp that some female bodies can just pop off and do the work of goddesses. It’s very humbling and confusing to be in the presence of creation itself and when Caitlin told me that she has so selfishly decided to leave me (when all I have ever done is LOVE you, Caitlin) I was reminded not only of my awe, but of that I think men must have felt for millennia.
For whatever reason, I have never thought of myself as capable of pregnancy. I am fairly confident that my body could have gestated a kid, but I knew that psychologically, I just wasn’t up to the work of goddesses. So, in purely a fertility sense, I am a man. I receive news of every pregnancy much as we can imagine a man would: I am overwhelmed that there are some persons wont to grow other persons inside themselves.
“Dear Helen. I would like to introduce you to your new editor, as I am taking leave to perform a miracle”. When Palaeolithic man began to understand that it was only Palaeolithic woman who could do such a thing, there is, in my understanding, no wonder that he set about inventing all manner of masculine gods. This ancient impulse remains my impulse. There really can be, in a primal sense, nothing more mystical and important than the work of growing humans. When Caitlin told me she was making a baby, I felt half inclined to say, “Well. It’s all very well and good that you can do that, but you should probably know that you couldn’t do that unless some imaginary guy I just decided to make up grew you first!”
There really can be, in a primal sense, nothing more mystical and important than the work of growing humans.
My lady pals know to keep their miracle news away from me for fear I will lose my mind. My Eleanor, a pal of several decades, wore big tunics around me for the course of her unmentioned pregnancy and when her daughter was about six months old, she showed me the adorable miracle and said, “By the way, I made a baby”. This saved me the burden of religious confusion, and Eleanor from hearing, as Caitlin recently has, “How could you so selfishly do the work of goddesses?” The miracle is eleven now.
I am very happy for Caitlin (who has decided to leave me even though all I have ever done is tend to her word babies with care) and I am very happy for Eleanor, the miracle soon to attend high school and all the other goddesses and little marvels who populate this planet. Next year, I might even send her kid a birthday cake. But, for the mortal life of me, I will never cease in greeting such news as anything less than magic.
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