So for the most part, I’ve hidden every small pleasure of the last six months—from the first time she kicked me so hard on a flight back from a reporting trip that I jumped out of my window seat and reached for the exit-row lever, causing the air hostess to panic, to the first time we heard her heartbeat and the anatomy scan where she wiggled around, sucking her thumb.
Gripping onto the steering wheel of my car, on my way back from an interview for a news story, I fiddled with the air conditioning, waiting for this stranger, whose name I don’t know, to give me news about my 13-week fetus. “Congrats,” she said, clearly bored after relaying the news yet again to someone that day. We’re having a girl. I’m terrified. I’m 34, freelance (i. e. , unemployed), and facing an uphill battle as I think about how I’ll claw my way back into the workforce full-time once I deliver.
I wonder about what will happen if she decides to have children, whether she’ll be able to revel in what should be one of the happiest periods of her life—or whether she’ll be like me, keeping it a secret to snatch back a few more months of people thinking she’s a competent, capable woman.
Studies have shown when someone is described in the workplace as a mother, evaluators rate her as “less competent than when she is described as not having children. ” I’ve watched, mouth agape, what happens when women come back from maternity leave.
Over chicken wings in rural Appalachia, she told me she has worked with other female freelance journalists who’ve decided to wait to have children until after the 2020 election or until they are hired full-time somewhere.
Even when women don’t have children, they don’t receive the same raises and equal footing as their male counterparts in their late twenties, making it difficult to catch up later, a study from the Royal Bank of Canada shows.
When protests broke out in Charlotte, North Carolina, after a white police officer shot and killed an African American resident, I drove with a cameraman overnight to sleep in a pay-by-the-hour motel to be the first team there to cover the riots.
The longer I can pretend I'm one of the women without, the better. “Would you like to know the gender? ” the woman who had announced the results of a first-trimester blood test asked over the phone.
"The more I reveal, the greater the risk to my career." https://t.co/1pedsBAfze— Glamour (@glamourmag) June 12, 2019