Poet, artist and influencer Cleo Wade is—congrats!—having a baby. Recently, she made the announcement on Instagram to a flood of well-wishers. But because the internet is what it is, one commenter went full snide: “I see all these young women really hitting their stride professionally [are] then getting pregnant right at a high point,” they wrote. “I don’t get that. I never will.” Oh, honey. A bad move.
In a follow-up post, Wade responded cheerfully that the good news is… it’s none of their effing business (my words, not hers)! And while we’re here, Wade decided to lay down a few things she didn’t get about the intersections of womanhood and the working world:
“I don’t get why women don’t get equal pay for equal work. I don’t get why women are almost always responsible for being the main caregivers in households across America but our country has yet to, at the federal level, legally standardize fair workplace policies like paid leave for new parents and caregivers of sick family members.
“I don’t get why all women don’t have access to quality affordable healthcare so they can safely have their children without it putting them into bankruptcy.
“And last but not least, I don’t get why women’s reproductive rights are constantly under attack—I am actually completely unclear as to why anyone believes the government should have any say in when or IF a woman should choose to start [a] family.”
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A woman wanting to exercise her freedom to start a family when or if she chooses to is not the problem, the multitude of ways society oppressed her along the way is the problem. Also trust and believe, a man’s professional drive or ability to thrive at work is never questioned based on the reproductive choices he is making in his personal life.
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And not like that comment should be dignified with anything more than “It’s none of your business,” but from what I’ve seen, society really badgers you into popping out kids before your biological clock hits [gasp] 35. So if you’re a woman with a career who genuinely wants children, you’re unfortunately stuck hitting pause when your career starts sizzling up. Believe me, if we could get the guy to carry the kid like a seahorse, we would, but lol “having it all” is a big old gigantic lie.
As Wade signs off, trying to juggle these things is all about addressing and fighting for the rights that facilitate a fairer balance of labor. In the meantime, she reinforces that all we can do is try to have agency in how we choose to live.
“Just a few things I don’t get, and never will,” she wrote. “Also, I am not at a high point, I am not having a moment. I am having a life—one that includes a career and family in ways that I choose and design.”
There are not enough clap hand emojis in the world.