Monday, August 6, 2012

Druthers

There's an article that's been making the rounds on the web lately and getting utterly torched. It's about Irish author Maeve Binchy (who I had never heard of until she died at the end of July) and how she would have been a better writer if she'd had children. Seriously. I admit that I haven't read the actual article by author (and brilliant mother--just ask her) Amanda Craig, but I've seen enough quotes to be sufficiently pissed off. This quote is about the Orange Prize, an award for women authors:

I have often wondered whether the Orange Prize should be renamed the Navel Orange Prize, given the difference in time and energy available to women writers before and after motherhood. If any lingering prejudice against the female sex can be assumed to have vanished, which is debatable, there is no practical difference between a man and a woman writer when the latter has not had children.

SERIOUSLY?! Shouldn't this quote be offensive to every last person on earth?! Hey mothers--your husband is by nature an absentee father! He can't be expected to help raise the youngins--he's got writing to do! Gee whiz.

The tidal wave of support for Maeve Binchy rolling in as a result of Craig's idiocy got a very caffeinated yours truly talking with the hubby (who probably wanted nothing more than for yours truly to shut up so he could go to sleep) last night. Craig said that the mother-child bond is strong, but a commenter on her article pointed out that the mother-child bond is a two-way street. Some of those children in the mother-child bond grow up to be childless female writers. Chris said to me, "You have a good relationship with your mom," to which I replied, "That's a recent development." And then, to drive home why this blog post is called "Druthers", I said, "I'd rather have a good relationship with my mom than be able to have kids."

Throughout my infertility journey, I've gone through various "druthers" phases. My patron saint is Righteous Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, and I often said, "I'd rather have one child like St. John the Baptist than as many children as I pleased." Now that's not to be, but I still appreciate my own sentiment. Yes, my relationship with my mom is a recent development--one no doubt born of the treatment of my mental illness. Mom and I went to see Brave together, and we held hands and cried, and during the credits I turned to my mother and said, "This is the part where I apologize for all the terrible things I did in junior high and high school." I guess some people never get to that point, but I'd trade it for kids of my own. (Oh, and every woman should see Brave with her mom, I'm convinced.)

Interested parties can read the article I'm referencing here, and those wanting further reading can read about how Maeve Binchy dealt with not being able to have children here (eat crow, Amanda Craig). I, in the meantime, am going to take a mid-afternoon shower while I send my husband out to the library to secure a book by Ms. Binchy for me.