The long-awaited essay is here! Our sea sister Carrie Norton has lived the saga of getting pregnant, having her baby, and returning to work offshore on an oil rig in Angola, Africa. She bravely wrote out the entire story, from the beginning when she faced the frustrating prospect of dealing with an employer who had no idea what to do with a woman who wanted to have a baby and continue working, to the negative comments she fielded from innumerable naysayers (as pretty much all working pregnant women do, as far as I can tell), to the heartache of leaving her son at home with her husband, and the trying, fascinating, and sometimes hilarious task of keeping her breastmilk supply in full swing while traveling for work by pumping in the craziest places.
I am overjoyed for Carrie and so, so proud that she wrote this story for us. She didn't just do it for Sea Sisters; she did it for every single woman out there who wants to have a baby and also keep doing her job, whether she's on a ship, or a rig, or a tugboat. Wherever you are, ladies, there are more of us all the time, and you can do this.
I am bursting with excitement to share this story, but I am also braced for the inevitable onslaught of abuse that may come with it, from the types of people who feel compelled to tell pregnant women that they are selfish - or worse - for returning to work after childbirth and leaving their babies to be cared for by a loving spouse or family member. I received fair warning (which I hugely appreciate) from the good people at WomenOffshore.org when they published a similar piece by Amanda Locke talking about having her baby and then returning to work offshore. They mediated some nasty comments in the wake of that article.
I don't understand how some people feel so entitled to voice their cruel commentary on the choices faced by mothers every day. I think that it comes from fear; feeling threatened when the choices of others don't line up with what we believe is right. Pregnant women are right up there with politics and religion as far as controversial topics go. I wish I could say that our bodies are no longer a battlefield for the anger, insecurity, and opinions of others, but they are, and I am ready to go to bat for Carrie, or for any woman (including myself) who dreams of having a family while continuing to do the work she loves on the water.
So we'll see how this goes. Thank you for your support.
With love, Elizabeth