Gracy Olmstead writes beautifully on motherhood and our attitude toward life:

The modern feminist movement often equates motherhood with loss of self-fulfillment and freedom, cultural subjugation, a gross abandonment of the economic sphere. Yes, motherhood can be okay—but only if you don’t have a child too young, and are still participating in the workforce. Motherhood may be alright—if it happens entirely according to your preconceived plan, and you have a partner who willingly and equally shares all burdens of childcare and provision.

The purpose of these cautions is to invest women with a sense of control over their lives and child planning. But it seems that their unintended consequence is often more damaging: because any woman whose childbearing story does not fit this script suddenly sees her life, or her child, as anti-woman, anti-freedom. The 19-year-old pregnant woman sees no possibility of having her child and being self-fulfilled. The young businesswoman who planned on having kids seven years down the road, surprised with an unexpected pregnancy, suddenly fears that she’s thrown away all possibility of vocational success and attainment.

Yet these stories are often untrue and misleading. They distract us from the reality that life is always uncontrollable. And they distract us from the possibility that—as Manguso points out—while motherhood may indeed lead us out of our present self, in that leading out, we may find a new and better self awaiting us. 

… whether a woman chooses abortion, or whether she chooses motherhood, a life will be rent asunder. The challenge is in helping her decide which life will be torn.