Sunday, August 5, 2007

Things My Mother Taught Me About Being a Woman (#1)

"Don't put a tattoo there, you will regret it when you get pregnant!"
"That belly ring will ruin your belly when you get pregnant."
"You won't be pro-choice once you get pregnant."
"You have to get married, I want grandchildren!"
"Don't worry, you will still be able to breast feed."

I am so sick of people constantly assuming that I am a breeding machine. I am not. I am a human being, I have thoughts of my very own and a body of my very own, or so I thought.
Since "I do not like children" apparently is not an adequate reason not to reproduce, I have decided to make a list of conditions under which I would consider becoming a fetus incubator.

When responsibility for child care is completely equal between parents.
When I can maintain a life of my own AND be a mother.
When I and my child are guaranteed adequate lifelong health care.
When my child is guaranteed high quality, affordable care while I (and my partner...) are working, etc.
When I know that my job will not be at risk if I become pregnant.
When I know that if my fetus has a major defect (or if I change my mind) that I can get an abortion without restriction or shame.
When my child will have access to good schools and higher education regardless of my income.
When being a single mother is no longer equated with living in debilitating poverty.
When it is socially acceptable for children to NOT be gendered from the moment they spring forth from the womb.

This is just a short list, I could go on and on. The point is, I am going to print this onto business cards and hand them out every time someone says one of the above things to me. (I have noticed an increasing incidence of these things as I am getting older.) Even if these were my only conditions, I don't think that motherhood would happen for me in my lifetime. It would require radical social change and I have seen more retreat than progress in my adult life. Ergo, my body remains a fetus-free zone


lauram said...

I understand your points. I hope that these things can change in the next few generations and that as a society we start to really care about children instead of just pretending that we do. We have to let go of the notions that mom was put here to deal with the kids and dad was put here to work. Until we are willing to move beyond that to a society-driven childcare paradigm, we will keep just wanting mom to get back to the kitchen so things could be the way they were.

Cortney said...

Right, I think it is so interesting that so-called pro-life activists are so interested in saving fetal lives yet they appear to have little interest in actual living children (see my list). It is very hypocritical.