Thoughts of a pro-choice mom

So four days ago I gave birth to the most awesome baby ever conceived (fight me on this, bitches) and we are both doing great. The way here was bumpy at times–three days of labor pains that brought us almost to delivery, followed by an emergency C-section when the fetus started doing badly–but I feel incredibly blessed and thankful for both the availability of the medical technology that saved us and the competent, humane care and support we received throughout.

And having experienced a significant portion of the two ways birth can happen, I think I can say with new confidence:

If you think someone, anyone, should be forced to give birth against their will, you are a bad person. Full stop. If you think it’s cool to make a person endure the torture of labor pains or major abdominal surgery against their will to bring another human being into the world, you are horrible and immoral and I will fight your detestable stance with the bitter conviction of lived experience.

Having become a mother myself, I now have even less patience with the “adoption is an alternative to abortion” crap. It includes every bit of the immorality of forced birth while also assuming that giving up a biological child is in any way the social, physical, or emotional equivalent of terminating a pregnancy.

I have known my baby for four days at this point, and the very thought of living without them sends my heartbeat skyrocketing and my soul into a panic. Such a separation would destroy me, and I know I would never be the same even if I were to rebuild in time. If you told me I should give up my child or that I should give you my child I would slap the shit out of you, and if you don’t think I have good reason you are not only heartless but oblivious. I have nothing but respect for birth parents who choose to make this brave sacrifice, and as with so much else the operative word is choose. Like childbirth itself, the decision to put a child up for adoption needs to be entirely willing and voluntary or it’s the worst form of exploitation.

So what makes anyone think “have your baby and give it up!” or “give me your child!” is an okay thing to say to someone considered “unfit” to parent? How could anyone think they have a right to treat someone as a means to provide a baby to another family? I’m ashamed for people who think it’s okay to take advantage of pregnant people’s vulnerability to demand an agonizing sacrifice for others’ gain. Seriously fuck you if you think this way.

Becoming a mother has made me more pro-choice than ever, and even more committed to reproductive rights than before. I am pro-family, pro-pregnant people, pro-children, and pro-parent. I am and remain pro-choice.

Three Things I Never Imagined About Raising Kids

Oy! Why does my kid like Commando (the sans underwear style, not the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie kind) so much?

I knew I’d probably argue one day with my kids about their clothing choices. However, I never dreamed that I’d be asking my nine-year-old on our way to school, EVERY. DAMN. MORNING., “Are you wearing underwear today? You’d better be wearing underwear!”

Bedtime Rituals

I figured that by age nine, my kid would say to me -after I’ve spent 15 minutes laying with him and reading him a bedtime story he picked out, one that is so damn boring it should really be titled, “Springtime? Taxtime!”- something like, “Thanks, Daddy!” or “I love you, Daddy.” Nope. My kid, to thank me for reading to him when I could have been doing something exciting like watching Investigation Discovery’s “Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?” says, as he drifts off to sleep, “Daddy, your breath smells like garlic. You should really brush your teeth.” 

Crying

Everybody asks about my typically developing child, especially since he’s currently on a city league soccer team that’s in first place in its division. But, I didn’t realize how I’d tear up when people actually remember to ask me about my other child, the one who’s in fourth grade but has an intellectual disability so we’re currently celebrating that he can remember -9 times out of 10- to capitalize the first word of a sentence. People love to ask about perfection, but they rarely ask about imperfection. 

6

We did it.

Severus and I attended our first social gathering outside of school, and it went better than expected. While we partied, Antonio and Thaddeus rode ponies at a fall festival an hour away. 

First of all, my son is just as awkward as I am. Which is thankfully, expected and endearing in the 1st grade. 

Babies, as usual received all the attention. They were held by adults and Severus’ classmates alike, I was fine with all of that and the babies were great. 

Most of the class showed up, which made my heart overjoyed, everyone was happy to see Severus as well. I guess this means I have no choice but to make Severus’ birthday party happen for him, and I’m actually a little excited about it. 

One thing that surprised me was Severus’ teacher being there. I remember always inviting my teachers to my parties because I thought it was polite, like they probably never got invited to birthday parties after handing out 30 invitations every other week, so I went out of my way to let them know they were welcomed at mine. None of them ever showed up of course. But sure enough, Mrs. G was there with her little ones, and it made me feel really happy to know that she took that much of an interest in the kids outside of school, and also nervous because I’m sure everyone was being scrutinized.

She spoke to me about Severus, I told her that I couldn’t stand his teacher last year, and was glad to pull him out of school when I had the SCH with the twins. I let her know that I have records of everything we did, if she wanted to review, but that the reading was spotty and the math wasn’t Core. She said he did need help with reading, but was polite, and well behaved and that the faces he made when he talked were great. A good report. Nothing I wasn’t already aware of. :)

Severus had so much fun, I am so very glad we went. 

7

Nearly every year, for the past thirty years, Frances Goldin has gone to New York City Pride holding a sign that reads, “I adore my lesbian daughters. Keep them safe.” (x)


“Since the beginning of the parade, I’ve been going and waving my sign,” Goldin said. “It sort of hit a nerve with people, particularly those whose parents rejected them. The response to the sign is always so great — it urges me to keep going.”

“Everybody would come running up to her and cry, kiss her, and say, ‘Would you call my mother?’ or ‘Would you be my mother?’” her daughter, Sally, explained. 


“She’d take down names and addresses and write letters to these kids’ mothers!” 

When asked about all the young LGBT parade-goers who have begged her to speak to their own mothers, Goldin replied, “I think I changed a few people’s minds and I’m glad about that. Everyone should support their gay and lesbian children, they’re missing a lot in life if they don’t.”

As I’ve mentioned before, I was raised in a strict Christian household. It was full of love, but it was also a house that didn’t like Ellen DeGeneres or Rosie O'Donnell simply because they were gay. A house that would turn off the tv when the lesbian episodes of Friends were on (while I ran to the tv in my room and pressed “mute” to see it). One that would roll their eyes at the idea of gay marriage. Parents that meant well and just went by what they were taught, wanting us to grow up with something to believe. I remember sobbing in high school, thinking they would absolutely kill me. Things slowly started changing when I was 16+.

My Mom was the one who asked if I was gay. She was my biggest supporter, my secret keeper, and the one I told everything to. My Dad? He went from not wanting me to come out, to protect me, to telling everyone he knows if they ask if I’m “dating any new guys” - because that’s simply who I am. In his words “why hide it? Who cares?”. My Mom came to me about Carol on her own, wanting to watch it to see the love story. When gay marriage was legalized, I called my Mom sobbing. She was sobbing with me, after yelling “YES! THANK GOD” in front of all of her friends.

After being raised to hate who I was, not even allowing it to be an option - to now, my Mother texting me just now saying “Do you have any more Human Rights Campaign stickers like you have on your car? I want one on mine”

Change is a beautiful thing. Believe in it and believe in people.

THAT’S parenting.

5

“OK. I lied earlier. THIS was the highlight of my parenting week. Sending my 13-year-old daughter into the store for (whispers) “feminine hygiene products,” and having the following text exchange. I died, she gave me life, I died again. And she drew an illustration, on the spot, ON HER PHONE, to drive her point home.“

– Belinda Hankins, shared on Facebook.

I know this is going to be unpalatable to parents, but “abusive parents” aren’t scary anomalies that exist only on the news, broadcast solely to make you feel better about your own faults. There are abusive parents in your neighborhood. There are probably abusive parents in your workplace, friend circle, and even among your family. If you want to be a good parent, then it’s your duty to learn what behaviors are abusive, learn the warning signs of abuse, and do the work to help when you learn that a child in your social sphere is being abused.