These are the imperfect reflections of a newly minted first-time mom, still physically recovering, and severely lacking sleep.
Exactly two weeks ago, I gave birth to my daughter. The beautiful, sleepy, nine-pound piglet nurses as I write now. The sound of her delicate breathing comforts me, perhaps as much as my warmth comforts her.
The postpartum vortex is a patchwork of overwhelming love and crippling anxiety. I’d like to eat when she eats and sleep when she sleeps. But I’m not so hungry, and I mostly stare as she naps, triple-checking that her little chest is moving, obsessively fending off the specter of the worst case scenario. All I can do is thank God, beg for His protection, and relish the trace of a smile that flutters across her face when I kiss her perfect velvet cheeks. I’ve never felt more alive or, despite my frantic monitoring of the baby’s health, at peace.
In the love-drunk stupor, I reflect on what brought me here: all the little “radical” choices, steps away from the feminist fast track along which I skated unthinkingly for years. By an incomprehensible grace of God, turning twenty-two, I began to see things differently.
Most modern women aren’t so fortunate.
If I’d continued along the sexually and economically exploitative path that every major artistic, educational, political and business institution in this country lays out for girls like me, I would never have met my husband. I would have laughed or been enraged by his expectation that I abandon my so-called career to become a wife and mother. I would not know the unspeakable joy in being his wife. I could not have imagined the profound gratitude in holding our daughter for the first time, in nursing her, in simply watching her breathe.
Going with the flow would have meant squandering my vocation. Operating under the false consciousness of “you go girl boosterism,” I would have denied myself our beautiful love story, my most courageous moment, and my greatest honor. A mother’s peaceful, contemplative life of obscurity I would have written off as “The Problem That Has No Name.”
It strikes me that theft may be the greatest sin of the feminist movement. To direct the average woman, like me, away from that which has infused my life with previously inconceivable purpose and dignity — and most importantly, with love — is not just cruel. It is evil. It is a grave sin against nature and against justice. Women are being robbed.
Perhaps if dissidents began to frame the entrenched opposition in these terms: as thieves of women’s time, money, and joie de vivre, we may develop the proper and righteous sense of indignation in our orientation to it. “Conservative” passivity has never stopped the tide. It’s not just that feminists are wrong about human nature, or that they’re shrill nags, as your average boomer dad would concede and then go no further. No. Radfems are criminals against humanity, and their girlboss neoliberal apologists are simply enablers. Ultimately, abiding by their diktats ruins our daughters’ lives.
But a peace which surpasses all understanding can be recovered in reversing them. Now I know.