Beck: Oh no! Oh honey, you can just get an IUD.
Boggs: Yeah, it was so sad. But we cleared it up, her mother and I.
Beck: It seems to me like there are two different common narratives that both end up promoting this idea of pregnancy as something that just happens at the drop of a hat. One is the “Your body is a miracle” thing, but then there’s also this message of “If you fuck up once, you’re gonna get pregnant,” and so you’re supposed to ward it off. This is true of movies and TV too, I feel like there are so many stories where a girl has sex one time and boom she’s pregnant. For example—have you seen Gilmore Girls?
Boggs: I love that show!
Beck: Me too! Okay, so you know Lane? She has sex literally one time and then she immediately has twins. It’s insane.
Boggs: That’s a really good point. A miracle is something you’re not supposed to have control over. Some outside force is acting on you. It’s not something you participate in. This resistance to active participation is something I really take issue with. I’ve noticed some of the same things, like examples of teen moms are often really idealized. If you think about a movie like Juno, Juno is funny and witty, she’s the hero, and she’s adorably pregnant. The woman who eventually adopts the child, until she gets the child, she’s brittle and unhappy and older and all these other stereotypes.
Beck: I think Juno had sex like one time as well.
Boggs: You look at narratives of teen moms who get pregnant after very little sexual experience and then they have the baby and it’s really idealized. There’s some sense that it’s going to turn out okay. I like for teen moms to have that message, but it’s really hard. Our country does not support mothers very well.
Beck: We’ve talked a bit about these warring narratives of control and fate around having children. There is some control-oriented language—people talk about family planning, for example. But also then a child is a “gift” or a “miracle,” the sort of things that have to be given. People will talk about what God’s plan for them is. You wrote a lot about whether you were “meant” to have children or “meant” to adopt—did you feel like the fate narrative resonated more strongly for you when you were trying to have a child?
Boggs: The fate narrative, for me, became appealing when we gave up on fertility treatment for a time, because it was a way to say this is not what is meant, this is not our path. That can be reassuring to people for all kinds of experiences. And I thought for a while, “Okay, well this is telling me that maybe adoption is our path because I love older children.” I love babies and their heads smell really good, but I also really like hanging out with older kids who can talk and do stuff, who can go outside and play and read books. When I thought about parenting, I was always imagining myself at that later point.