This is the first in a three-part series, written by a guest TAPA who has some actual life experience that I don’t.
I am a twenty-something married woman who is a new mom with a three-month-old. I live in SoCal and am currently “living the dream,” AKA somehow managing to make it month-to-month while I do a wide variety of work in the entertainment industry. Here are my thoughts on motherhood and showbiz.
The first thing I really need to impart is that motherhood is an intensely personal and unique experience. Every person who embarks on this journey has their own truth. (It is critical to remember this when you are up to your ears in other people’s opinions.) I have spoken to so many women who all have incredible stories about the amazing highs and sometimes horrific lows of pregnancy and childbirth (and surrogacy and adoption, etc.) – far, far too many of whom feel that they cannot really share their experiences openly because of our society’s taboo attitudes towards women’s issues and women’s health.
It is hard enough to succeed in the entertainment industry as a woman, period. If you are a trans woman, or lesbian woman, or woman of color, or woman with disabilities, or any other marginalized group, it is even that much harder. Motherhood is perceived as yet another liability for an employer. Women in every industry take an economic hit during the pregnancy and postpartum period, but it’s much worse in the entertainment industry, especially if you are an actor, a model, or a person with a physical job.
I don’t think there is any perfect time to get pregnant. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you will never have “enough” money. All your prime childbearing years are prime career years anyway, so there will be an inevitable overlap. Just try to make the best decision you can for your personal situation, taking into account your fertility, career trajectory, and financial security. Personally, I made the choice to start young because I wanted prime access to young, healthy eggs. I realized that I can always work – the biz will always be there. I can pursue my career well into my 40s, 50s, and 60s, but I can’t always be pregnant.
If you are the kind of person who wants to/can afford to take a long time off to have a baby, BY ALL MEANS DO IT. Enjoy the time with your family, and for heaven’s sake pamper yourself! But most women will need to work through at least part (if not most) of their pregnancy and will have to go back to work soon after.