Writing About Motherhood on the Internet When Nothing Online Ever Goes Away

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Pictured: a woman preparing to betray her child. (Image: Thought Catalog/Unsplash)

While I was pregnant at 41 years old, I spent a fair amount of time obsessing about how having a baby would affect my career.

This was not, to be honest, because I was in love with my career particularly, at least not right at that moment. Don’t get me wrong — I loved my work as a freelance writer and editor and I was grateful for my clients. But the media landscape as a whole was *five-minute-long fart noise*, as a friend of mine likes to say.

Plus, one thing about waiting to have a baby until your eggs are almost dried up is that if you succeed, you’ll become a mother right when most people have their mid-life crisis. So, I’ll be frank with you that if I won the lottery, I probably would have set aside writing and editing for a couple of years, at least as a money-making pursuit.

But I am not independently wealthy, so I knew that I’d be getting right back to my desk after the baby was born. I consoled myself with a few thoughts:

Well, about that last one. Between the time I saw two pink lines on a stick and my daughter cautiously drove one pudgy fist through her first-birthday smash cake, the tide seems to have turned. There has been a fair amount of discussion online about the wisdom of writing about one’s kids, and those kids’ right to have their childhood remain private. (See: the backlash on social media to this article.)

The annoying thing is that I agree with the folks who say that parents shouldn’t share their children’s stories indiscriminately. It’s just not something I thought about when my baby was theoretical. Now that she’s here, I would die for her, just as everyone told me I would be prepared to do. But more than that, I would live humbly for her. Which means not exploiting her for material.

So where does this leave me, as a writer? First of all, acutely aware that this entire discussion is, as we say, a first-world problem. I’m lucky to be able to make a living writing. I’m incredibly lucky to have a daughter to protect. And there are plenty of things to write about, without dragging innocent family members into it before they can even read what’s been written about them.

But thinking about this has made me realize that as much as I’d like to share baby stories with you, the main thing I want to talk about in this space is parenthood, motherhood specifically. And that doesn’t need to involve sharing stories that will embarrass my daughter later.

I’ll just embarrass myself instead, as I’ve been doing for nearly 20 years of writing on the internet.

I’m an Old Mom.

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