Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sophia's choice

Some women are very ambitious. Some women are vicariously ambitious: ambitious for their husband, their children–or both. But you have other women who are ambitious for themselves: full-time career women.

I’d like to compare and contrast three career women on motherhood. The first concerns a volleyball player:

Before the first abortion, she learned she was pregnant relatively late — 14 weeks in. She turned to her mother for advice:

    I told my mom I was pregnant. She said, “Get an abortion.”

    I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t really thinking I had any choices. I didn’t have a job that could support a child. And I wasn’t sure if I was planning to marry my boyfriend, although we were living together. I knew that I had big ideas for my life and I hadn’t figured things out yet.

    My mom got militant. “You’ll destroy your career possibilities.”

She got pregnant again, a few years later (and apparently after the volleyball phase of her career):

    So the second time I got pregnant, I thought of killing myself. My career was soaring. I was 30 and I felt like I had everything going for me — great job, great boyfriend, and finally, for the first time ever, I had enough money to support myself. I hated that I put myself in the position of either losing all that or killing a baby.

I’d like to compare this to two other women. The first is Lucille Ball. She was the biggest TV star of her time. You don’t rise to the top of a very competitive field without being highly ambitious. Yet she had other priorities.

I believe her husband was the first major Latino TV star. TV executives initially opposed his role. But Lucille was insistent.

In addition, she had two babies during her career. I’ve read that Hollywood studies used to have no-pregnancy clauses in contracts.

In addition, the entertainment industry wasn’t used to depicting pregnancy onscreen. But Lucille was insistent, so the screenwriters had to create a whole story arc around her real-life pregnancy. That turned out to be a ratings bonanza.

Here’s another example of big star who put her career on hold to have kids. Sophia Loren was prone to miscarriage, so when she became pregnant a third and fourth time, she checked out of her career and stayed in bed:

Her sons are living evidence of her optimism. She suffered two miscarriages before doctors told her she would never have children. “I was convinced that it was not true because I believe if I really put my energies into something it happens. When I became pregnant I spent the whole nine months -- both times -- in bed. Maybe that’s my strength -- I really go all the way. The lowest point in my life was when I lost my two unborn children - I didn’t want that again.”

Lucille Ball and Sophia Loren were huge stars in the entertainment galaxy–infinitely bigger than a two-bit volleyball player. Yet they both put motherhood above career.

I don’t think either one is Christian. Rather, this is an example of common grace. But as our society becomes more anti-Christian, even common grace is now in short supply.

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