In 1969 it was barbaric: flat on your back, bright lights and stirrups, no husband allowed. My first, Samantha Sunshine, was whisked off to the nursery, and I was forced to stay in bed without her. Just standard procedure.
When Jasmine Moondance was born at home in 1975, I was up in 20 minutes – an older and wiser counterculture mom hip to the global portrait of motherhood as part of the fabric of life, including rice-paddy moms who simply pushed out their babies, wrapped them up, and went back to work. This kind of "Sisterhood is Powerful" approach had put women in control of their birthing experience.
And our mothering experience as well. At first it was an either/or choice: stay-at-home motherhood – discredited by Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique" and Ms. magazine – or "real work" alongside men. But as time went on and women seemed disinclined to give up their biological imperative, word came down that we could have it all – work and motherhood – and outclass men at the same time.
Think "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan" from the 1970s (and now clearly retro) Enjoli perfume commercial. Perhaps that's not what we mean today by having it all, but it's the confident spirit that rings a bell almost 40 years later.
That confidence took us places we never dreamed. In 2001, Jane Swift of Massachusetts became the first governor to give birth in office – to twins. Her maternity leave included a governor's council teleconference from her hospital bed. And while Ms. Swift was rebuked for using aides to babysit her daughter, Palin's record of eschewing the trappings of power – listing the governor's jet on eBay, for example – suggests she wouldn't make such mistakes. So what to make of the fire and brimstone raining down on Palin?