Recently, I shared some of my hope for what life would be like in a society that accepts and embraces women in their totality. Today, I’m going to share some of the pain I experience living in a society that doesn’t.
Every time I hear the phrase, “My body. My choice.” I vomit a little.
But it makes me incredibly angry.
The women who coined this phrase don’t really mean it. They mean that they will wholeheartedly support any woman who does not want to be saddled with the burden of pregnancy, children, and family life. They will fight to the death (tragically, I have to say no pun intended) to ensure that a woman will never be forced to shoulder these responsibilities if she doesn’t want to.
But what if she does want to?
By their own logic, it seems that a woman should also be able to CHOOSE pregnancy, children, and family life. If that’s what she wants, more power to her. Right?
Sadly, I know first-hand that the reverse is simply not true.
They do not support women who want to be pregnant, who want to raise children, and who want to devote their lives to their families. And, unfortunately, this lack of support doesn’t stop with them, but extends to society at large.
I can’t begin to count how many snide, rude, and downright cruel comments have been made to me and my children when we dare venture out in public. Men occasionally make comments about my workload, “My, you’ve got your hands full…” But they rarely, if ever, have anything ugly to say. Women, on the other hand, are often vicious in their commentary, and have no qualms about questioning the need for my children’s existence right in front of them. Interestingly, when my husband takes the kiddos out in public alone, he never gets nasty comments, only praise and admiration.
I’m certainly not looking for praise and admiration. I haven’t chosen my family life for the sake of what others think. But it would definitely be nice if I didn’t feel like I was preparing for battle every time I left the house. It would be nice if I didn’t have to rehearse witty answers about my knowledge of the reproductive process or my ability to provide financially for the little ones that have been entrusted to my care on the way to the store. It would be nice if I didn’t have to warn my children that if someone is nasty to us at the store, they should simply smile or stand there quietly because mommy will handle it. It seems funny that a group who loves to make posters about “rosaries on their ovaries” and “government in their bedrooms” has no issues busting up into my bedroom in the checkout line at the grocery store. Double standard much?
I don’t need a reason to have a child. And I certainly don’t need your permission. My children have a right to exist. More than that, they are a gift. Each child brings a new spark, new joy, and a new dynamic to our family. I am so grateful for each one of them.
When questioned by strangers if she’s “done yet” my girlfriend, also a mother of four, joyfully replies, “I certainly hope not!” I couldn’t agree with her more.
It makes me so sad to know that it doesn’t matter how much I love and want my children. The fact is, the world doesn’t want them. The world thinks they don’t deserve to exist. But I can’t understand why. Why would you not love these precious, irrepeatable, bundles of joy and laughter and creativity. Aren’t those good things? Why can’t the world want more of that? But even if you don’t want more of that, isn’t it supposed to be my choice?