Health: Stories We Were Told

I have a deep resounding gratitude for the sisters and mothers and grandmothers who came before us, who told us we could have it all, who forged a truth that we could delay motherhood until we were bored with the corner office. They made me feel a little sorry for the girls I knew who got pregnant so early on, one kid after another, who kept putting their career dreams on hold.

At 22, I figured I’d delay getting pregnant for two more years. And then it was two more after that. And a career and trips around the world and inappropriate boyfriends and some miscarriages and living in the woods off the grid in a tiny cabin and more just messing around and whoa, suddenly I’m 40licious. And the baby part became complicated. And my girlfriends 35 and up are having a helluva time starting families. There are a couple successes, but those have been harrowing. One girlfriend suffering through infertility treatment laments, “but I did everything RIGHT!!!”

I am at peace with how I got here. I fully believe that every day, every second on this earth so far has led me to my sweet Grace Magnolia, my daughter whom we adopted when she was born nearly a year ago. I can’t be mad at the Liberation sisters, either, because I do have it all now — but just not in the way I thought I would. It’s better. And I believe the Libbers truly, truly believed you could do everything. What our sisters didn’t really count on was the science of the body.

My mother occasionally says something so wise I remember it forever. In this case, “whatever you want to be doing in 10 years, you have to start now.”

Vanessa McGradyHealth: Stories We Were Told

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