ALICIA: But society doesn't treat you like that. The first thing people ask is, "What do you do?" If you say you're a mother, they treat you like you're invisible.
LS: Can I give you one hope for the future? That really changes. Because as more people around you start parenting, that's what they will want to talk about.
LIZ: Being a mother is not only about having a kid. It's about being a whole person.
DEBORAH: But when you say to someone, "I'm a mother," they get a one-dimensional view of what your world is about.
LS: The things that mothers do to help create the personhood of their child are so varied. I always tell mothers not to worry about going out of the work force for a while; if you can manage to take care of your home and your children, then you have such good credentials and organizational skills. You can set yourself up for less disappointment by thinking, "I'm sometimes going to be really happy with what I'm doing, and I'm sometimes going to be really uncomfortable with it."
It's a good goal to be mostly content with your decision. You can struggle about whether to work more, but if you mostly feel good about caring for your baby, then you are making the best decision for yourself and your child. It's also important to connect with women who have children the same age, because your child's development is going to determine, in a lot of ways, what your interests are. And it's often your friendships with women that will get you through parenting.
DEBORAH: You have to build a community.