Lots of women, when we reach a certain age, begin to feel pressure from our parents to have kids. I know that I first heard the word “grandchildren” in an “I’m joking but really I’m not” kind of way from my mother somewhere around the age of…oh, I don’t know…28? And it was horrifying.
It was horrifying in part because it meant that I was getting to an age where having children wouldn’t be some sort of dreadful mistake but rather something expected and even welcomed, but it was also horrifying because I didn’t expect to ever hear that from my mom. See, she’s your classic second-wave feminist: Liberal, smart, very outspoken, lives in that bastion of left-wing politics that is suburban Boston, worked while I was growing up, and so forth. You would think that as women like her reach grandparenting age, pressuring their daughters to have kids would seem, much like the oppressive gender roles of generations gone by, like a relic of the past.
But politics don’t always translate into suppressing one’s most internalized biological desires — or even keeping one’s mouth shut about one’s internalized biological desires — and so here we all are. And that’s kind of why I’m heartened to discover that none other that Chelsea Clinton faces the same pressure from her iconic feminist mother, Hillary Clinton.
In a profile of the younger Clinton in the September issue of Vogue, she reveals that Hillary often does the same exact thing that my mother does, and that possibly all mothers do. She drops the least subtle hints in the world:
She always tells me [having kids] was the greatest thing that ever happened to her. And as the subject of such an amazing compliment, I can’t do anything but be grateful and smile and say that I’m confident that I will feel the same way when I am so blessed. It’s certainly something that Marc and I talk a lot about. I always knew I was the center of my parents’ lives when I was growing up. And I am determined that our children feel the same way. Marc and I are both working really hard right now, but I think in a couple of years, hopefully . . . literally, God willing. And I hope my mom can wait that long.
We’re all in this together, ladies.