Monday Baby Blogging: More Pics From Sydney's Third Birthday

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Opening the purple butterfly boots sent by a set of grandparents. Her majesty is pleased!

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Then one of the boots fell on Daddy’s foot, and that was even better!

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Daddy helps put the new boots on.

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These boots are made for stomping!

Once the party wound down, Sydney took her dress off (she’s getting better, but she’s still not a huge fan of the whole clothing thing) — but she kept the purple butterfly boots on.

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Checking out the boots!

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Now, not all the grown-ups who wanted to be there could attend Sydney’s birthday party, so the next day we had another birthday party for Sydney. With more presents to open. Some people really live the good life, don’t they?

The presents includied a horse head, seen above. (It also comes with hoofs, which make clip-clopping sounds when Sydney walks in them.). And a Backyardigans pirate ship, which Sydney wanted to play with immediately, not understanding that the grown-ups around her just wanted her to open more presents.

This year was a real milestone, by the way, in that this is the first present-opening occasion in which Sydney has been more interested in the presents than in the opportunity to rip wrapping paper off parcels.

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36 Responses to Monday Baby Blogging: More Pics From Sydney's Third Birthday

  1. 1
    Brendan says:

    That horsehead hat is just too friggin’ cute. Just stumbled here from Working Mom and I must say, it’s quite the pleasant surprise. God bless.

  2. 2
    Kaethe says:

    I love the boots!

  3. 3
    qindel says:

    Sorry to be such a sour puss, but I really feel the need to speak out: This is one of the best feminist blogs out there, don’t ruin it with family pics that should belong in your PERSONAL family album and not in a blog like this. I urge you to consider the subject of: “White women who feel the need to incessantly show off their kids” some time soon.

  4. 4
    Robert says:

    Boo for Qindel. Seeing Sydney grow up via pictures is 25.3% of the appeal of Alas.

    Let’s consider the subject of “people who think it’s their business how absolute strangers manage their online publishing”.

  5. 5
    ms_xeno says:

    Yeah, those damn kids hogging the spotlight. Curse them all. I demand more cat pics !! [scowl]

  6. 6
    qindel says:

    I knew I would get stoned for my comment, but it was not meant to offend Amp, it was actually meant as constructive criticism. People chill out, I would expect you bunch to be a bit more … impartial to legitimate opinions.

    I’m going to make a very generalized statement so bear with me: White people (in general of course, and ap0logies for my previous mistake) tend to 1. be kid centric (in an obnoxious in your face way) and 2. spoil their kids rotten to the point of consequences of the self-centered generation that we see today. Which makes for this tacky kid-obsessed culture that is NOT for everyone. I guess I defaulted to the “white women” previous phrase because that’s what I see so often in the media, women going on and on and on about their kids. Or am I wrong? Turn on your TV to Oprah, and you see a typical (ahem, White) woman complaining (shock!) about how hard it is to be a working mom. You grab the newspaper and you observe how a known writer is once again going on and on about being a daddy and it’s just sad that this respected writer had become such a fudy-duddy. You watch the interview with your favorite actress regarding her latest film and during MOST of the interview she’s talked about her kids, not about her or her work, but about diapers and vomit, oh how lovely.

    Amp, your child is a cutie pie, no denying this, and you seem like a wonderful dad, but I do think that this blog should remain an outlet for important feminist and political discourse, not for family affairs. That’s what flickr is for.

  7. 7
    curiousgyrl says:

    oh, whatever. I think, quindel, that its different. the celebrities that spend whole interviews talking about thier kids rather than their acting are doing it because that is what they are being asked about, even though they arent famous for being moms–sure thats a problem, but the problem isnt the celebs narcisism though I’m sure thats a seperate problem.

    Amp is just harmlessly sharing cute pix of the kid in his life. (not his kid btw, so you kind of come off looking bad by not knowing any of the relevant info before offering you opinion.)

    Not sure why you think “kids” and “feminism” are mutually exclusive, but its weird and just plain wrong. And thats coming from me–a CF-never-wanted-to-be-a-mom life-long feminist. Feminism is about a lot of things including and sometimes especially the day to day of being a parent/responsible adult.

  8. 8
    mandolin says:

    Why does this feel like a big mommy drive-by?

  9. 9
    Ampersand says:

    Since Qindel doesn’t like the baby blogging pics, it makes sense that she hasn’t been reading these posts, and so didn’t realize that I’m not actually Sydney’s dad.

    Qindel, I agree that in inappropriate contexts, in-your-face “look at my beautiful niece! Look! Look!” stuff can be annoying. I simply disagree with you that a privately-owned blog is such a context.

    Thanks for the compliments about the political blogging here – I appreciate it. I hope you’ll stick around and keep on reading and posting comments, and just live with scrolling past the Baby Blogging post once a week.

  10. 10
    Rachel S. says:

    You know folks I saw that comment in the queue and refused to approve it. I didn’t want to send it into oblivion because it wasn’t my post after all, but I sometimes approve comments for Amp’s posts when I know they are completely innocuous.

    But I have to admit I get sick of the criticism for the baby blogging posts. Especially, when people say, “how dare you put your daughter up there.” They don’t even pay enough attention to realize Amp is not the baby daddy.

    But the people that get me most annoyed are the “Amp is a pedophile crowd” and the “Amp is promoting pedophilia.” I really think there is a big double standard (not by this commenter BTW) that says men who put up kids pictures are crazy deviants, and then women get the comments like the one above–don’t brag too much about the little ones.

    On the issue of racial differences, sure “white babies” are frequently used in the way the poster suggests, but you can blame advertising and mass media conglomerates for that. Plus, I can give Amp some good brown baby pictures to put up. I have some good pictures of my niece Emma. Half serious, but still LOL!!

  11. 11
    ms_xeno says:

    I miss the good old days when men just bragged about their motorcycles, firearms and fishing gear…

  12. 12
    Robert says:

    I don’t have any of those things. Can I brag about my 24″ LCD monitor?

    (Whoops – it was bought for me as a gift by my wife, who earned the money in her own small business…that would just be too emasculating to reveal.)

  13. 13
    Rachel S. says:

    LOL! @ Robert and Ms-xeno.

    Robert mine LCD is 36″ LOL!!

  14. 14
    Ampersand says:

    Ohhh, it’s so tempting to get into the “who has the best monitor” competition – I’ve got a fancy monitor for artists that I can draw on. :-P

    Rachel wrote:

    I have some good pictures of my niece Emma. Half serious, but still LOL!!

    If you want to do baby blogging of your niece, that would be fine with me. :-)

    As for folks mistaking me for Sydney’s daddy, I don’t think that’s a big deal. It’s natural that people who aren’t fans of the baby blogging won’t read them closely, and so will miss that detail.

  15. 15
    qindel says:

    I am a sometimes regular sometimes irregular reader of Alas. I absolutely adore the critique of the media, the fat issues, the racial studies, I love that your contributors provide and thoroughly analyze data on subjects especially the quasi studies that the media runs with. What I have not paid attention to is the contributor’s private lives. That is why I don’t know that Amp is not the father of this or that child. Because I do NOT pay attention to the kid posts or personal info post precisely because I’m frankly not very interested. I’m amazed that you people didn’t deduce this and focused on my lack of info on the contributor’s personal life instead of the general point that I was making. I would think that it doesn’t matter that I don’t know about you guys as long as I know and appreciate your work…

    There should be no conflicts between feminism and child rearing but let’s face it, feminists who chose not to be mothers (who happen to be a large chunk of the US population) don’t really have much of a voice. We are bombarded with images of family life and the whole wanting to be mommy and daddy obsessions that is everywhere!

    It does seem that I touched a nerve and it’s too bad or maybe not because I think this is one of those issues that is just not discussed for fear of branding people as kid hating or bitter (which I’m neither). Anyway, so this time I didn’t gloss over a baby post and decided to give my opinion, next time I’ll just shut up, ignore it, lest I make a child-centric person uncomfortable again. But I’ve proven my point: Criticizing something kid or family oriented is taboo even in an open-minded out-of-the-box blog like this one.

  16. 16
    Blue says:

    “It does seem that I touched a nerve and it’s too bad…”

    As another happily childfree feminist, I’d have to say that the only nerve you’ve revealed in this particular instance is your own. One of the perks of blogging is being able to write and self-publish whatever the hell you want. One of the joys of reading blogs is buzzing past anything that doesn’t interest you personally, while still participating in the topics of discussion that do.

    I’m willing to bet no one has an objection to an actual discussion of how “child-centric” behavior or blog-writing or celebrity interviews affect feminism and the right to be truly childfree, but don’t use the topic as a way to censor someone else’s blogspace.

  17. 17
    qindel says:

    This is the last comment I intend to make on this subject.

    First, bean, why the defensiveness? Quite uncalled for and unnecessary for the point you’re making. I’m not stupid, I don’t need someone to point out the obvious, if I don’t like something – I don’t read it – well duh! I know this. If you read through my previous comments you can see that I was also trying to get at why images of children and parenthood PERMEATE every media outlet, be it a conglomerate or a home-made outfit like this one. And also, I questioned why the automatic defensiveness (like yours) of the conventional child adorers when confronted with criticism. If the rare critics like me voices an opinion we are made to feel as if we’re serial killers. It’s just an opinion, if you get so uncomfortable with it, look into yourself and find out why you get this way, maybe just maybe you are one of those Oprah type of parents who are obsessed with their kids until they turn oh, 16 or so – then you let them do what they want. But behold the critic who questions why kid images are so central to society yet society and parents seem to be failing many of them.

    Ok, I went way off track…

    Blue, another person that likes to state the obvious. My dear, I KNOW that blogs are for writing whatever your mind desires. I get that. Really I do. But I’m sure that I’m not the only doesn’t necessarily see Amptoons as a regular personal blog where the author(s) post about their diet failures or pathetic relationships or their dog’s pooping habits – it’s a home-made but important political feminist blog. It carries a certain tune. And I dared to criticize something which yes, I’m aware is only a once a week occurrence but that I see quite often and much more prominently displayed on many so called political sites and blogs: the family obsession and the constant chatter about family life and diapers and all that other stuff which I frankly find so not central to what I and many others like me experience on a daily basis. It is the easiest thing in this world to find info on feminists mommies and daddies! How easy is it to belong to a community of feminist (and in my case, young feminists) who do not choose marriage and kids? Guess what, it’s rare. I stand by my previous post, criticizing a child centric post is taboo, and you’d pound on the critic than analyze your own reactions and defensiveness. Oh and the whole censorship thing, I wasn’t trying to censor anyone, I was questioning more than anything, I think this is pretty obvious, isn’t it? Besides, this blog does practice censorship in one way or another, I’m sure you’re aware of that.

  18. 18
    Jake Squid says:

    First, bean, why the defensiveness?

    In the future, please try to be more stereotypical with your passive aggressiveness.

    It’s just an opinion, if you get so uncomfortable with it, look into yourself and find out why you get this way, maybe just maybe you are one of those Oprah type of parents who are obsessed with their kids until they turn oh, 16 or so – then you let them do what they want.
    (my emphasis)

    Did you miss the part of comment # 19 where bean wrote:
    And this is coming from one of the most ardent anti-childcentric CFers out there.

    Because, if you want to show everyone just how little you read before you spout off, this is a terrific way to do it. See, originally I was willing to forgive yet another mistake about the kids. It seems to be a common mistake. This, however, just highlights your lack of reading comprehension (or, perhaps, just reading).

    Just in case you’re about to make the same mistake again, I’d like to point out that I am also one of the most ardent anti-childcentric child-free folks out there.

  19. 19
    Sally says:

    t is the easiest thing in this world to find info on feminists mommies and daddies! How easy is it to belong to a community of feminist (and in my case, young feminists) who do not choose marriage and kids? Guess what, it’s rare.

    This is actually not true. There are many feminist blogs written by feminists who don’t have kids and who very rarely discuss kids. Pandagon, Feministing, Blackademic, Feministe these days, I Blame the Patriarchy. If Echidne has kids, they’re certainly totally invisible to her readers. I would say that most of the highest-profile feminist blogs are written by people who don’t have kids. If you think that’s rare, I suspect it’s because you’re either really lazy or really disingenuous.

    And you know, kids exist. They’re part of the human community, and they’re going to continue to be part of the human community until we figure out a radically new way ot perpetuate the species. Call me a tool of the patriarchy, but this happy CF-er doesn’t think that it’s a good idea to hide the existence of any portion of humanity.

    And also, those are some deeply awesome purple butterfly boots.

  20. 20
    curiousgyrl says:

    hmm:

    on a slightly related note–bean and Jake: what is anti-childcentric? I mean, I understand the concept, I think, and I also oppose compulsory parenthood and social pressure to reproduce, but I’m not convinced our culture can accurately be described as “childcentric.” In what sense is this true, if you think it is?

  21. 21
    Jake Squid says:

    … what is anti-childcentric?

    (All of the following is just my view, not necessarily representative of anybody else)

    Well, let’s start with defining childcentric. IMO, childcentric means that everything revolves around children. An obvious example would be a parent who can not have a conversation that doesn’t involve their child. A more subtle examples would be a person who you’ve just met asking if you have children.

    Now, certainly when you are a parent, your life will (at least for a number of years) revolve around your child. But to extend that experience/feeling to everyone you meet is childcentric. Some of what qindel is complaining about is childcentrism. The societal assumption that having children is everybody’s goal, that everybody will have children and that everybody loves children. Childcentrism is what used to cause me to try to invent acceptable excuses (“I don’t want any,” is not generally accepted) when asked why I didn’t have any kids.

    Anti-childcentrism, then, would be being against children (having, raising, etc.) being more than the norm. Being against the idea that children are necessary and central to everybody’s lives.

    I wish I had more time to expand on this. I’m not certain I’ve been clear at all. Well, if this is still a subject of interest next week, I’ll try to to better if bean hasn’t done it for me.

  22. 22
    ms_xeno says:

    I’d be the first to admit that I’m not interested in reading about people’s children ad nauseum. Honestly.

    Of course, I’m also not interested in the Wheedon empire very much. The way I deal with my general lack of interest in both these issues is to skip over the posts involving them and move on to something else that does interest me. Furthermore, I don’t find it strange at all that bloggers write about both personal and political issues on the same blog. Newspapers and magazines also do this. Even US News eventually caved in and added a page or two about movies. :D

  23. 23
    curiousgyrl says:

    I think my opinion is that “child-centric” isn’t a great term, adn that I’d rather focus my opposition on compulsory parenthood (especially for women)–I agree that there is too much focus on categorizing adults (again particularly women) on their parenthood status and that this is wrong for all the reasons described above.

    I think this is a key part of heteronormativity and women’s opression. I experience this all the time now that my any my partners’ families have given up on the idea that we’ll get married, have passed go and moved on to pressuring us to have kids. NO THANKS. I dont hate kids, but damned if I want to be somebodies mom ( I’m transported back to a younger version of myself screaming and crying in responseto a frustrated rhetorical from my mom “My Mommy IS my slave! My mommy IS my slave!–Its a wonder she let me live.)

    However–”child-centric” strikes me as missing the point and containing the idea that society overly privlidges children, rather than parents (or even just the notion of parenthood). I strongly believe that children are NOT a privlidged group–they are constantly confronted by extra danger, assaults on their autonomy and personhood and a large portion are denied basic physical, emotional and educational needs based soley on thier status as children. Consider the fact that its legal to hit and imprison your child. I pretty strongly believe that society should be more child-centric in the sense that children’s health and well-being should be of much greater concern to society at large than it currently is.

  24. 24
    curiousgyrl says:

    sorry for my crap spelling–disintegrating lap-top key board is my only excuse

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    How about moving this discussion to a category of its own so that Alas can post some more pictures of Sydney and Maddox? It is Tuesday already! And, why bring Oprah into it? I don’t watch often, but I don’t think she has many shows about white babies, black babies or any babies, unless they figure within the context of another story. Oprah has puppies, not children. She is childless-by-choice and (this is an understatement) a very empowered feminist!

  26. 26
    Ampersand says:

    Chris, I was just too busy with various stuff Monday to do a new baby blogging, so it’ll be a bit late. The lateness has no connection to this thread, I promise!

  27. 27
    curiousgyrl says:

    ha!

  28. 28
    curiousgyrl says:

    My experience working in the social service industry (primarily with homeless women and women who are victims of violence) makes me disagree with you. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying that children’s health and well-being is fully taken care of in this society. I just think that it’s currently being taken care of far more so than adult women’s — and usually at the expense of adult women.

    I also think that the current childcentric perspective among the governmental and charitable organizations is pushing a form of compulsory childbirth. If you were in desperate trouble — let’s say fleeing an abuser and/or homeless — and you knew that the only way you were going to get any real help was to get pregnant, what would you do?

    I dont work in this field so I dont know, but it seems to me from what your saying that what you are describing is discrimination against CF women versus women with kids, otherwise why would the having kids to get “real help” work as a strategy?.

    Or maybe both things happen, I dont know. I’m interested in examples.

    My sense remains that parenthood and sometimes parents are valorzied and rewarded and that women are punished for not having kids, but that it doesnt ultimately do much for kids. parenthood-centric versus child-centric. or just heteronormative perhaps.(id argue that to a lesser extent than queer people, but to some extent het people wiht no kids arenot fall outside heteronormativitiy pretty offten and get punished for it.)

  29. 29
    ms_xeno says:

    bean:

    I also think that the current childcentric perspective among the governmental and charitable organizations is pushing a form of compulsory childbirth. If you were in desperate trouble — let’s say fleeing an abuser and/or homeless — and you knew that the only way you were going to get any real help was to get pregnant, what would you do?

    Well, judging from all the crap La Lubu was wading through a couple of weeks ago, I’m guessing that whatever help you got for the baby-in-progress would come at a pretty heavy price in terms of (lack 0f) regard from the good men and women around you. Which begs its own thread: How do the people who constantly look down their noses at single mothers reconcile this belief with their (frequently) concurrent belief that a woman who has no children and/or wants no children has something deviant and wrong about her ?

    Both the single pregnant woman and the childless/childfree woman are thought to be “getting away” with something. This makes them ready targets for societal disdain, and sometimes worse. Why this obsession with what women are supposedly “getting away” with ? Is it just a simple contempt for women’s sexuality, hiding behind the standard “But what about THE CHILDRENNNN” smokescreen ? Or is there something else going on there ?

  30. 30
    curiousgyrl says:

    Thansk bean, I overlooked your link last time. My fault.

  31. 31
    Sally says:

    I think it could both be true that there are much better services for women with children than for women without them *and* be true that in important ways, the needs of children aren’t being met. I suspect the problem is not so much that we care too much about children as that American welfare policy is based around a strict division between the worthy and unworthy poor, in which children are seen to be innocent victims and (non-elderly, non-disabled, but only if you’re disabled in specific ways) adults are seen to be responsible for their own poverty. That’s not going to be fixed by becoming less child-centric. It’s going to be fixed by realizing that the blame paradigm is not an especially useful or just way to think about how to provide social services. To me, to blame children or suggest that they system will be improved by caring less about children is to miss the point a bit.

  32. 32
    Sally says:

    Sally, if that’s what you come away with from my posts, then you’ve missed the point, more than a bit.

    Sigh. I’ll try one more time and then I’ll give up.

    I do not believe that “child-centric” is a useful way to frame this issue. I believe that it serves to pit children, who have genuine needs, against other people, who also have real needs, and that this false competition is not helpful for anyone. It suggests that the problem is that we focus too much on children, who still, by the way, make up a disproportionate percentage of the poor population, rather than that we’re seriously warped in how we think about social service provision. In many ways, it plays into the hands of those who want to deny people services, by framing this as being about competition for scarce resources.

    Our society is capital-centric, not child-centric. And describing it as child-centric is, I think, both misleading and counterproductive.

  33. 33
    Jake Squid says:

    Our society is capital-centric, not child-centric.

    It is not an either/or proposition. In addition to being both capital-centric and child-centric, our society is also hetero-centric, christian-centric, male-centric, car-centric, etc., etc., etc. The central centrism, of course, is different from situation to situation, but that doesn’t mean society isn’t all of those different centrics.

  34. 34
    Sally says:

    It is not an either/or proposition.

    No, you’re right. But I still don’t think our society is meaningfully child-centric, when children are more likely than grownups to live in poverty and when things that ought to be rights, like safe, affordable childcare, are still unattainable for many, many families. Bean is focused on the fact that there are more services for women with children, but I wonder if you looked at those women five years later whether the women with children would be doing better than the ones without. I doubt it, although I can’t say for sure. I suspect that having children is a barrier to getting out of poverty: there are structural factors that favor those who don’t have dependent children. If you just add up the shelter space for women with and without kids, you can miss those structural factors. And if that’s true, then I can’t see how you could say that our society is really “child-centric.”

    The societal assumption that having children is everybody’s goal, that everybody will have children and that everybody loves children. Childcentrism is what used to cause me to try to invent acceptable excuses (”I don’t want any,” is not generally accepted) when asked why I didn’t have any kids.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think that those assumptions apply to everyone or to every woman. I think there are many people whose reproduction is construed as a social problem, not a duty. Ask Mary Cheney. Ask the women who are targeted by those programs that pay drug-addicted women to accept sterilization. Ask undocumented immigrant women who are accused of just wanting to produce “anchor babies.” Ask women with serious mental illness or cognitive impairments. There are a ton of women who face a lot of pressure not to have kids and/or who face serious threats of having their kids taken away from them. I really don’t think your experience here is universal.

  35. 35
    curiousgyrl says:

    A relevant question I dont know the answer to, but you might; does having children or not impact who it is that finds themselves in need of emergency housing, food support, DV services, etc? It seems like that might also be critical to evaluating child-centrism in society at large, not just in the context of social service agencies once women get there.

  36. 36
    Sally says:

    Well, it’s always good to hear suppositions that are based on pure speculation and assumption — but, as most of those suppositions turn out, I would say this one is also wrong.

    That’s some nice snark there, considering that your response is basically “because I said so.” I won’t bother reviewing the difference between anecdote and data with you, but I would be interested to know whether anyone has actually studied this. And curiousgyrl asks a good question, too.

    But, right now, what they do get is, in many cases, done so at the expense of women without dependant children.

    This framing of the issue just strikes me as so depressingly wrongheaded. I don’t understand how you could possibly think that services for children are bought at the expense of services for women without children. Do you honestly think that if there were fewer services for children, there would be more for other people? There is no competition here. We’re not all duking it out for scarce resources, because the scarcity is artificially created. When our society wants to do something, such as say invade Iraq, the government finds the resources. If they wanted to fund DV shelters to serve everyone who needs them, they would. “Child-centrism” is not the reason that there aren’t enough DV shelters for women who don’t have dependent children.

    We really desperately need to get out of a discourse that pits under-served constituencies against each other. This isn’t a cat-fight. This isn’t an extension of the stupid, stupid, counterproductive mommy wars.

    I think these assumptions exist more often than not.

    I think the assumptions exist for the healthy, white, legally-resident, etc. women who are conditioned to take their experiences as universal and everyone else’s experience as deviating from the norm.

    But, that’s used to show that they aren’t “normal” or deserving of basic rights. Think about the gay marriage debate — many of the anti-marriage equality advocates claim that marriage’s purpose is to have children. Gays and lesbians shouldn’t have children. Therefore, they shouldn’t marry.

    I agree that’s how the gay marriage debate works. I do not, at all, believe that’s how the discussions of teen pregnancy or “anchor babies” or “welfare queens” work. Nobody claims that illegal immigrants or poor black women shouldn’t be able to marry because the purpose of marriage is to have kids and they can only have kids through illegitimate methods. Instead, they understand those women’s reproduction as natural, but as fundamentally negative. They breed like animals. (My racist great-aunt once said that to me about a Latino couple sitting at the next table at Applebees with their three children. “Look at those immigrants with all their kids. They breed like animals!”) If a middle-class, white (etc.) woman has a baby, that’s a signal that she’s selfless and nurturing, but if a poor woman of color has a baby, she’s probably got a selfish motive. See for instance: anchor babies; welfare queens. Middle-class, white (etc.) women’s reproduction contributes to society, but poor women of colors’ babies are seen only as a drain on society’s resources. Wanting a kid is a sign of health in a middle-class white (etc.) woman and a sign of pathology in a woman who isn’t supposed to reproduce. Unless white women have more babies, black and Latino women will outbreed them, and that will spell the death of American culture! There’s a whole huge discourse which stigmatizes many women’s desire to have children, at the same time that it depicts having children as other women’s destiny.

    I am not at all denying that our society pays a lot of lip service to children and that many women face tremendous pressure to have kids. That doesn’t mean that we really do pay too much attention to kids or even necessarily value kids the way we should. And it sure as hell doesn’t mean that every woman faces the same pressures or expectations around childbearing.