Remember when motherhood wasn’t controversial?

posted at 5:45 pm on February 16, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

It doesn’t seem that long ago that motherhood was as American as apple pie, hot dogs, and baseball, and more fun than at least two of the three.  Now, though, while some people take it too far, others seem outright offended by human procreation.  WNBA star Candace Parker discovered that having a child with her husband has suddenly become a controversial decision for a woman of 22 (via The Corner):

Parker probably figured the news would be non-controversial, given that the fresh-faced Los Angeles Sparks forward and Olympic gold medalist is happily married to Sacramento Kings forward Shelden Williams. Both earn more than enough to support a family: Parker alone reaps millions on and off the court as one of the most celebrated women athletes in the world.

But Parker’s pregnancy was not greeted with the same approval and tolerance that many of today’s child-bearing sexagenarians and single mothers by choice enjoy when they form their families. Instead, Parker was blasted by fans and pundits for becoming a mother at age 22. Critics bemoaned her selfishness in putting maternal ambitions ahead of her team’s 2009 season prospects. Others lamented her foolishness for starting a family when she should be living a strings-free existence oriented around her glamorous career.

Not long ago, a 22-year-old woman was considered plenty old enough to marry and bear children. But in today’s era of prolonged adolescence and commitment phobia, high-achieving women like Parker often face ridicule and scorn for defying the feminist conventional wisdom that marriage and motherhood are second-rate pursuits best delayed until middle age. Young mothers frequently are accused of forfeiting a hard-won feminist privilege: the right to spend their 20s single-mindedly pursuing sexual license, success and self-fulfillment without the hassles of a husband and children.

Colleen Carroll Campbell doesn’t quite note the irony of this observation — that a woman should pursue the procreative act as much as possible during her twenties while avoiding actual procreation like the plague.  And plague apparently describes how Parker’s critics see the previously unremarkable event of a young and healthy wife finding herself pregnant.  Even the league didn’t exactly buy flowers and candy for the new mom-to-be; the owner of Parker’s team responded, “My first reaction was to just shake my head. We’re inured to this by now so I guess I thought. ‘Oh, yeah, she’s having a baby. Yeah, of course.”

Why “inured”?  Another player got pregnant.  Two years ago.  Apparently, Kathy Goodman still hasn’t gotten over it.

Neither have fans or analysts, either.  Some of them complain that Parker has hurt the team by putting her family ahead of her job.  No one seems to be making that argument about her husband, however, even though he plays the same sport for the NBA’s Kings, even though he can reasonably expect to take some time off for the birth.

Children used to be considered blessings, especially for young families.  Parker and Williams have the resources to build a family, and the desire to do so.  It’s healthier for women to have children in their 20s than in their 40s, both for the mother and the children.  Have we devalued children so much that a basketball season means more than a new baby and healthy families?

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Yeesh. I was 22 and my wife 21 when our first was born. I was 29 when our last one was born. There’s a lot to be said for having kids at a young age.

I can go out drinking with two of them now and make them drive me home.

flipflop on February 16, 2009 at 8:02 PM

Sheesh, what is she a Republican too???!

4shoes on February 16, 2009 at 8:06 PM

Nothing wrong with having children at 22. I had my three at 20 and 22, and I’m glad I was young – less complications. How far along is she? If she’s still in her first trimester, I don’t see why she can’t play – she’s athletic, and athletic women should not just stop their routines simply for pregnancy. After that – she can come to the games and support her teammates, just like anyone else on the team who cannot play (injuries).

Too bad she has “fans” that would think so poorly of her for being pregnant – basketball is a team sport, and the team will go on if one player is out for a season. How many fans came to the aid of Plaxico Burriss when he shot himself in the leg? Tons. Too bad that fandom hasn’t been extended to Ms. Parker.

Anna on February 16, 2009 at 8:06 PM

I can’t believe Obama’s going to allow this woman to punish the WNBA with a baby. Considering all the WNBA suffers from and now this.

Newagegop on February 16, 2009 at 8:13 PM

Maybe professional athletes should have to take a vow of celibacy even if they are married? Oh, wait, only female professional athletes should, I guess. Or should we just make them be sterilized before they can get a contract?

pannw on February 16, 2009 at 7:17 PM

Probably some were looking to her to help market a league which has only a few stars, and hoping that she’d put motherhood off for a few seasons.

Maybe she’ll be a more interesting story and a bigger star because of her decision, and help sell more tickets when she returns to the court.

dedalus on February 16, 2009 at 8:15 PM

Geesh, what is it with you people thinking feminism ever meant giving a woman freedoms or the right to choose? That of course would imply numerous choices that would meet each individuals circumstances.

No, feminism is, and always has been, about choosing the way “feminists” want you to choose, you know, give up family, friends, men, etc in search of that career that will keep you warm at night. Abort, abort, abort…You know, the destruction of the American Family.

And maybe the yahoos in the WNBA shouldn’t have started a basketball league with, you know, women….who can get pregnant and have to take a few months off to have their children!

Kids sufferning from their teachers leaving in the middle of the school year? No wonder our youth are such a disaster…parents who believe their children suffer by a teacher leaving because she’s pregnant. This country is full of pansies.

Whippet on February 16, 2009 at 8:16 PM

But Parker’s pregnancy was not greeted with the same approval and tolerance that many of today’s child-bearing sexagenarians and single mothers by choice enjoy when they form their families. Instead, Parker was blasted by fans and pundits for becoming a mother at age 22. Critics bemoaned her selfishness in putting maternal ambitions ahead of her team’s 2009 season prospects.

No sports team is more important than a person’s family.

EVER.

MadisonConservative on February 16, 2009 at 8:20 PM

Give me a break… this is the same old tired feminist song: “We’re for freedom of choice.. as long as you choose the same thing we would.”

vermillionsky on February 16, 2009 at 8:24 PM

Mazeltov, Candace Parker. May your tribe increase!

gridlock2 on February 16, 2009 at 8:28 PM

Men are on the injured list all the time and nobody whines that they’re getting paid for nothing while they can’t play.

Sheesh.

You go, Candace. Birth that baby and enjoy every single minute of being a mom.

Bob's Kid on February 16, 2009 at 8:39 PM

Is nothing sacred to these people anymore? Good for Parker! I know she made the best choice, the teams important but pales in comparison to family!

TDBURN on February 16, 2009 at 8:43 PM

My husband and I got married at 19. We tried for years to have a child. We now have three. If she is married and wants to have a child, good for her. We need young people to see this sort of example. On the Bristol Palin subject, but by the grace of God, my husband and I weren’t expecting at 17. We have now been married almost 16 years and we started out as high school kids who had all the answers. We have grown up together and cannot imagine life apart.

TXMomof3 on February 16, 2009 at 8:46 PM

I’m happy for Parker, but I understand the problems of becoming pregnat when on a team. I have a friend who played in college. She was married for her last year and she was terrified she would get pregnant. Not that she wouldn’t love having a baby but she would have to tell her coach. It isn’t fair, but pregnancy is a hurdle that women professional athletes have to deal with.

sammypants on February 16, 2009 at 8:47 PM

You have to expect this kind of reaction when 90% of your fans are lesbians.

steveyahoo on February 16, 2009 at 8:55 PM

This also reminds me of the women’s volleyball Olympians who said something about babies after winning the gold medal. Good for them.

cs89 on February 16, 2009 at 8:56 PM

Men are on the injured list all the time and nobody whines that they’re getting paid for nothing while they can’t play.

Bob’s Kid on February 16, 2009 at 8:39 PM

Fans whine about male athletes all the time, especially when the player is high-priced and seems injury-prone. A lot of fans look at athletes as gladiators and expect them to sacrifice their bodies for victory.

dedalus on February 16, 2009 at 8:56 PM

Not to worry, they will probably find out that its just a cover up for her underage kid sister who really gave birth. Then when the lefties find out the the illegal teen didn’t get taxpayer sanctioned “planned parenthood counseling” they will sue to have the already fully formed fetus partially aborted, and all of the “anti-right to lifers” will celebrate when whats left can be abandoned on the operating table to die of unnatural causes. Seriously though, funny how “its my body and I have a right to do with it as I please” seems to go unheard when someone WANTS a child to enjoy and make a good home for it. Lets not worry too awful much though, the couple is young and there is still a 55% chance they will get divorced and she will raise the little one as a single mom. Then she can dump it in child care and have a come back career while some stranger raises baby for her.

Old School Insanity on February 16, 2009 at 9:04 PM

Bravo, Candace.
I think all the criticism will seem pretty irrelevant the day you get to hold your newborn for the first time.
Enjoy your family!

bestwins on February 16, 2009 at 9:05 PM

im sorry but i am so tired of hearing about this.
Candace’s true fans would support her no matter what.
we all know what “little kids” are saying this type of stuff.
and yes. i will call them out because I, as a HUGE Candace Parker fan, can not stand this for one more minute.
THEY ARE ALL ON THE WNBA.COM FANVOICE. There you found the culprits. Because i am a faithful member of Candaceparker.com and we have nothing but the upmost respect in her decision. we couldn’t be more proud of her.
she’s coming back to play and i think that’s what the “little kids” fail to realize. it’s not like she has a season-ending injury. she’s pregnant for crying out loud!
its a beautiful thing that has happened to a beautiful person…congrats again CP.

v v on February 16, 2009 at 9:13 PM

Of course the lesbians are pissed off, they need the eye candy man.

As for Candice, good on ya. enjoy the little one, and best of luck.

todler on February 16, 2009 at 9:31 PM

So, herein lies the root of the problem for the femenist movement: A) It is a woman’s right to choose when and how her body procreates, as long as that choice is within the guidelines of liberal dogma. B)

Every child a welcome child…

unless that child is a welcome child within the confines of a traditional, loving home. (Not to say that a child cannot be raised in a loving non-traditional home).
How weird a world are we living in when a twenty-two-year-old married woman of means is castigated for becoming pregnant via natural (one assumes) means, and a thirty-three-year-old single mother with no viable means of support chooses to be implanted with eight embryos, and becomes celebrated, despite her obvious mental defect.
Wait, I know! A world in which a nation opts for dictatorship over democracy, despite abject poverty under said dictator!!!!

malcolmania on February 16, 2009 at 9:33 PM

I hope she has a healthy, happy baby.

Of course this type of situation has no bearing on the $0.75/$1.00 discrepancy in pay that women supposedly suffer. She’ll take a year off and expect the job to still be there, but that shouldn’t count against her. The Sparks were betting on her to buy another year of the WNBA, but now she’s gone.

If she is concerned about fairness, she can take this year off to have the kid, then her husband can take the next year off to raise the baby. Of course the NHL probably pays better than the WNBA, but it’s their decision as to who works and who stays home.

I think they’ll be happy and won’t care about our thoughts on this. They’ll have a beautiful baby to nurture. Now that my boy has just recently left the nest, I miss the joy of having a child around. You don’t always recognize what bounty you had until it’s gone.

SoCalOilMan on February 16, 2009 at 10:03 PM

This is the WNBA we’re talking here…A LEAGUE THAT HAS STRUGGLED FINANCIALLY (maybe it needs a bailout!) not to mention has been a breeding ground for lesbian femi-fascists! WHY EVEN BOTHER WITH THIS “LEAGUE?” ARENA FOOTBALL DRAWS BETTER THAN THEM!

Now look, I am a fan of the college game (having 5 UCONN teams be national champion–1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 can do that to someone). Parker went to UCONN’s arch enemy Tennessee, home of basketball’s winningest active coach in Pat Summitt (over 1,000 wins).

But there is scandal in the women’s game. In the WNBA, women’s hoop legend Nancy Lieberman had a lesbian affair…WITH ONE OF HER PLAYERS! Deb Schlussel can tell you more about that. And then comes this from One News Now, the news division of AFA, where a female college coach WITH THE LAST NAME GUEVARA is blasting one of her players for being too feminine!

Nevertheless, I do wish Parker and her husband (Thank GOD she is married) the best.

BobAnthony on February 16, 2009 at 10:08 PM

Best of luck to Mrs. Candace Parker! Once you hold your baby you will KNOW you made the right decision.

Wine_N_Dine on February 16, 2009 at 10:29 PM

Sarah Palin could probably give this poor woman a sympathetic ear. She’s the poster girl for CHOICE and she’s been vilified for choosing wrong as well.

These old hags sit around and scratch their ugly heads and wonder why it is women of my generation and younger despise them so. Their absence of self-awareness is breathtaking. I can’t wait until the day they’re all sitting around bitter and alone in a nursing home, b!tching about how they were wronged their entire lives. At that point, they will finally become IRRELEVANT and women like Sarah Palin and Candace Parker and others like them can lead the real feminist revolution, one that might actually succeed in its goals instead of miring all of us in victim culture where change is expected to be achieved by legislation instead of personal responsibility and initiative.

NoLeftTurn on February 16, 2009 at 10:38 PM

Perhaps the league prefers lesbians for this reason.

You go, Candace and Shelden. You can’t keep a great couple down.

Greg Toombs on February 16, 2009 at 10:53 PM

Yeesh. I was 22 and my wife 21 when our first was born. I was 29 when our last one was born. There’s a lot to be said for having kids at a young age.

I can go out drinking with two of them now and make them drive me home.

flipflop on February 16, 2009 at 8:02 PM

haha sounds like my family

mountaineer for liberty on February 16, 2009 at 11:32 PM

I congratulate Candace and Shelden. It is great that she is young and healthy which is best for both her and the baby.

siriansgram on February 16, 2009 at 11:42 PM

not nice

The Wall on February 17, 2009 at 12:38 AM

No sports team is more important than a person’s family.

EVER.

MadisonConservative on February 16, 2009 at 8:20 PM

+1,000!

Are you listening, WNBA fans? Where is your commitment to family? Where is your sanity? Where is your sense of decency?

Careers, jobs and hobbies come and go. But family comes first!

Go ahead. Try to convince this mom-to-be that she will definitely say “I wish I had spent more time on the basketball court” on her deathbed. I dare ya!

newton on February 17, 2009 at 3:36 AM

Yikes what a story! She’s a great talent! Good for her for having the child! I am a man who enjoys the woman’s game more than the NBA. It is a purer game. It also isn’t full of punks and criminals. I live in MN and started with Lindsay Whalen and continue to follow her at Connecticut. If you give this game a chance, you will be surprised at the level of talent. I get the lesbian thing, but that’s in the fan base…

sabbott on February 17, 2009 at 4:14 AM

Critics bemoaned her selfishness in putting maternal ambitions ahead of her team’s 2009 season prospects.

Have an abortion for the team. Wow.

Can someone tell me how to exit Bizarro-World?

Squiggy on February 17, 2009 at 6:47 AM

Bunch of know-nothing 20-somethings trying to tell another 20-something how to live her life. They need to stfu.

Dave Rywall on February 17, 2009 at 9:08 AM

You have to expect this kind of reaction when 90% of your fans are lesbians.

steveyahoo on February 16, 2009 at 8:55 PM
————–
This is beyond stupid.

Dave Rywall on February 17, 2009 at 9:09 AM

NO SUCCESS IN LIFE CAN COMPENSATE FOR FAILURE AT HOME. That should be the way we think about families, but as a communist acquaintance of mine once told me: Family is an invention of capitalism to keep us down. Yes, that is the sad state in which we find ourselves in. Sad.

TitleofLiberty on February 17, 2009 at 9:27 AM

I had my first baby at 21 almost 22. (married) I had 2 more before I was 30. After that I had some medical issues and my doctor said I would have never been able to have children if I had waited until I was 30.

conservativemama on February 17, 2009 at 11:48 AM

I guess they’re just mad because she didn’t become a single mother at age 15 like she was supposed to do.

What is this country coming to? I shudder to think.

JRWARHAWK on February 17, 2009 at 12:16 PM

Yeesh. I was 22 and my wife 21 when our first was born. I was 29 when our last one was born. There’s a lot to be said for having kids at a young age.

I can go out drinking with two of them now and make them drive me home.

flipflop on February 16, 2009 at 8:02 PM

The true blessings of parenthood, you’re alucky man!

abobo on February 17, 2009 at 1:42 PM

You have to expect this kind of reaction when 90% of your fans are lesbians.

steveyahoo on February 16, 2009 at 8:55 PM
————–
This is beyond stupid.

Dave Rywall on February 17, 2009 at 9:09 AM

Are you saying YOU watch the WNBA?

Squiggy on February 17, 2009 at 7:14 PM

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