I have a teenage daughter, and my greatest fear is that she will get pregnant before she’s ready to be a mum. We’ve talked about safe sex, abstinence, condoms, self-defence, the whole nine yards, so it’s not a very tangible worry. Still, the anxiety remains. What would we do if she got pregnant? Would she quit school for a year, then resume after she delivers? Can she handle that kind of social stigma?
Would we keep the baby or put him/her up for adoption? Do people do things like that in Kenya – putting babies up for adoption? Can I raise my grandchild until my baby is ready to do it herself? Or … would we have an abortion? Would she want an abortion, or would I make that decision for her? Would she ever forgive herself? Would she ever forgive me?
You’ll notice one thing in this thought thread. It doesn’t consider the baby. Yes, it’s a baby. We could call it a foetus or an embryo or a zygote or whatever scientific term is more factual, but for me, it will always be a baby. And the fact that I know s/he is a baby doesn’t change my thoughts about the matter.
I bumped into this image on my Facebook feed, and it made me sad. Because I’m one of the 26 million people who put a rainbow flag behind their Facebook profile pictures. I think people should marry whoever they want to marry, just as long as that person wants to marry them. i.e. no forced marriages, arranged marriages, child marriages, rape marriages.
Consensual gay marriages, those are awesome. If two people love each other, and they want to get married, it’s their life, their union, their wedding bed. We have no business interfering, and they’re not hurting anybody. Some people disagree. They say things like,’if your parents were gay, you wouldn’t exist. And it’s true, I wouldn’t. But how many straight couples are there that choose not to have children? How different are they from gay couples?
Yes, my parents were straight, that’s who they are and how they were born. There are also tons of straight people who gave birth but didn’t, wouldn’t, or couldn’t raise their kids. Some of those kids will be adopted by gay couples, and guess what, they’ll have a good life that their straight parents couldn’t give them. How is that a bad thing? And by the way, in case you haven’t heard, gay couples can have biological children. Because science.
Now, that same argument *pointing* is sometimes used to refute abortion. That whole, ‘You are here because your parents didn’t abort you.’ Again, true. I am. But … there are plenty of evil people in this world that weren’t aborted either, so how is that a valid argument? And … there are plenty of people that weren’t aborted but they’re not here either. They died of sickness, accidents, natural causes, all sorts of things.
Killing a baby before they’re born is cruel, because the baby can’t speak for themselves. For the first three years of their lives – and that includes the 9 months they soend in their mother’s belly – they can’t speak for themselves. They can’t defend their rights. they can eat, or speak, or pee. Their mother does it for them.
And THAT is exactly my point.
For three years, a mother is entirely responsible for her child. She has to feed, clothe, change, educate, entertain, and care for this child. For the first nine months, she has to do this completely alone, because the baby is inside her body. After delivery, she might get help from the baby’s father, or friends, family, nanny, babysitter.
In fact, after those nine months, other people may take over entirely! Shout out to single dads and adoptive parents. But those first nine months, a biological mother entirely on her own. No matter how much her we love her, we can’t help her.
Your friends can drive you places, your man can cater to your cravings, your neighbour can forgive your crankiness, strangers can let you cut the line. But when it comes to caring for that baby that is growing inside you, nobody can do it but you.
So what happens when you can’t do it? What happens if you’re too tired, or too weak, or too traumatised, or too busy to take care of that baby? What happens when you can’t be pregnant … especially when you already ARE pregnant?
See, it’s really easy for someone else to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, to explain how you should or shouldn’t feel. What isn’t as easy is for them to take that growing baby out of their belly, put him/her into their own belly, and gestate them for nine months.
As parents, we often make decisions for our kids. They’re not always the best decisions, but they are decisions that we – as parents – are mandated to make. A baby in a womb can’t speak for themselves. That is true. Only their mother can speak for them. And we – as non-mothers to that particular child – have no right to make those decisions for that mother – or her child. We are not responsible for that child. His/her mother is. And as long as that child is in her tummy, the choice of how to raise him, or whether to have her at all, is nobody’s business but the mother.
♫ Wide awake ♫ Katy Perry ♫