Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pro Choice Because I Am A Mother

I very firmly decided my pro choice beliefs at the age of 14; however since becoming a mother those beliefs have become even more solidified. I will never forget being handed each one of my boys moments after their birth.  I will never forget the overwhelming joy I felt, and it is because of these moments that I know that the decision I made all those years ago to support pro choice was correct.

Motherhood for all of its joys is not easy.  It is not  fun in the way that playing house was when you were a kid.  When your child rubs an entire tub of vaseolineimage into your 50 pound beagle, someone has to clean that up.  When you wake up at 2 am to find out that your 3 year old has turned your foot into a plate, and is busy eating ham and cheese in your bed, no matter how tired you are, you have to get up.  When you hear the words oh oh from the smallest voice and feel an overwhelming sense of panic, you have to look, even though you really want to run away.  For the record, oh oh usually involves something like shampoo being flushed down the toilet.

It's the little things like, looking around your house to find rocks everywhere because your child has developed into a real rock hound, and not wanting to squash the future geologist, or archeologist you turn a blind eye.  How about image those times you find yourself alone singing the theme from the wiggles because you have watched so many episodes it has become the sound track to your brain. Then there is realizing that Blues Clues the only show you really liked has been ruined because Steve has gone off to college.

There are also times when you find yourself at the dinner table trying to remember what it was like to have a meal without someone saying, "I don't like this", or my personal favourite "you know since people in Africa are starving can we ship it to them, they need it more than I do?"

There are duties that you will really wish to never do again, and this includes cleaning puke, and wiping noses and bums.  Yes body fluids and children are generally speaking yuck. I have been pooped on, peed on and  I don't even know how many litres of puke have landed in my hair.  I remember when I actually owned white clothing, now when I purchase something I wonder how long I will be able to  avoid a sticky hand print somewhere.

Then there are those magazines that tell you what a home is "supposed to look like" and you find yourself dreaming about not having an elmo chair that giggles and rotates as the centrepiece of your living room.  How about discovering that your child has their own taste in decorating as they scribble on walls and peel and eat your wallpaper.  No need to be on trading spaces with kids, they'll do the work for you.

image There are also times when you will  fantasize about the day when walking down your stairs is not going to constitute an act of bravery because of the toys left there; who knew breaking a finger could hurt that badly. How about learning that no matter how amazing the lego structures looks, stepping on one early in the morning hurts like hell. 

The above are just a few of the adventures that I have had in motherhood, during the times I had to actually leave my secret shelter of sanity, the bathroom, which btw they will stand outside of screaming mommy until you want to lose your mind. The Calgon commercials lie, you cannot take a bath unless the children are sleeping.

Motherhood is not like a flowery hallmark card,  and it is certainly not for the ambivalent or uncommitted.  Children are not like a dress you can take back to the store if you suddenly decide you don't like it.  Not everyone is fit to parent, or wants to.   When I stand in the middle of the living room with my hair turning grey screaming. "there is no touching in this house, no one is allowed to touch each other" as I try to keep them from mushing each other, I understand why some people have opted out.  Yes I could list them on ebay or craigslist and regain some sanity; but hey in this economy they have become my retirement savings fund.

My point in all of this is not to make my little guys seem horrible because in truth they're not. They are active engaged curious little boys who live their lives in high speed with me just barely hanging on for safety reasons.  Since becoming a mother and realizing the work involved, I firmly believe that if someone is going to have to live through this insanity they should be able to choose it willingly, instead of being sentenced to it because we refuse to acknowledge how difficult it is.  There is nothing natural about parenting; it is hard work. Now go and call your mother and say thanks for not listing you  for sale in the classified section.



zakstar said...

ham and cheese off your foot? interesting times in your home!

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

You mean Steve went off to college, unless Joe has too now. I always thought Joe was hot, whereas Steve is a little nerdy.

And I so totally know the Fruit Salad song. Yummy yummy.

Renee said...

I meant Steve, that what you happens when you blog at 3am.

Hybrid Hopes said...

"When your child rubs an entire tub of vaseoline into your 50 pound beagle, someone has to clean that up."

this made me giggle. my brother once put about half of jar of vaseline on his own head. that stuff does not come out very easily.

My mom never listed me for sale in the classified section, but she'd actually tell me that she was going to sell me to the gypsies. It worked until I decided the gypsy lifestyle sounded pretty cool...

You sound like an awesome mom.

Villager said...

The vaseline was put in the fish aquarium at our house. The fish didn't survive the scientific experiment!

I loved your post ... and I truly agree with your more serious conclusion. Parents (mother especially ... but also the pops) need to make serious decision about bringing a new life into the world.

It ain't no joke or game...

peace, Villager (father of 3)

sparkle said...

thank you for this. i appreciate it more than i'm even able to articulate.

thewhatifgirl said...

I obviously don't know you personally but I can imagine you telling these stories when your boys are older and laughing about them. Seems like that's how those things work - they're awful moments while you're living them but later when you have more leisure time, you can remember and enjoy them.

I think the moment I decided I would never have kids was the moment my little brother projectile vomited into my face. Or maybe it was the exhaustion screaming fit he threw when hanging out with me and a boyfriend that ended in him falling asleep in his chair in a restaurant and having to carry him home (he was heavy!). I love the kid to death but I am so glad that he's old enough to mostly take care of himself now!

tigtog said...

What a wonderful post. I'm sure every parent who read it has immediately flashed back to some of those "special" moments that our children have foisted upon us - how about not one but two full bottles of cordial poured over the living room carpet? Eeek!

The idea of someone trying to cope with such events when they resent the child as something forced upon them appals me. Not just for the parent's misery, but how can those kids be confident in the love of an obviously resentful parent?

Ashley said...

I'm almost 8 weeks pregnant and, in the throes of morning sickness, have even further solidified my pro-choice beliefs. Bottom line, pregnancy sucks, a lot, and it is absolutely inhumane to force someone through it. I wouldn't wish this unwillingly on my worst enemy, and as much as I want this child and I'm thrilled to be pregnant (2 years of infertility will do that to you), this is NOT. EASY. And why the right-wing ignores the incredible difficulty of a normal pregnancy I will never understand.

Scott said...

For the record, it was my finger the broke!

Anonymous said...

I wish you had focused more on the "sanitizing and glorification" of motherhood that goes on in society. And no , I dont believe motherhood is "natural" and may be somewhat narcissistic ( okay that last sentence is kinda heavy, but its what I've head and come to understand).

It sickens me that my body is tied to an infant somehow. Its always, women and children never men and children. That so dangerous for women.

Burning Prairie said...

I laughed my butt off through that whole post! My 3-year old daughter found a pump bottle of hand lotion and thought the pumping action was really cool! But her hands are small and the excess had to go somewhere-my bed, the carpet, the dresser, her hair, her clothes, good times.

I remember the moment I became pro-choice--I was 19 and my mother told me that should I become pregnant, she and Dad would kick me out. After dealing with years of fertility issues, miscarriages, and high-risk pregnancies, I am even more firmly resolved in my pro-choice-ness. No one has the right to decide what goes on inside another person's body. Full stop.

cchiovitti said...

O.M.G. My kiddos are 3, almost 6, 9, and 13.

I am so in love with your post right now. I think fate must have made me read this right now - as I'm hiding in the garage while they eat breakfast.

My dog is vaseline-free thankfully, but my son did blow-up the microwave a few days ago. Life is fun.

saraht43 said...

I loved this one---too funny, I still have a dresser my son drew pictures on with an indelible marker, my oldest daughter ate a leaf off my ivy plant on the mantle while in her playpen (I didn't realize she could reach it) fortunately it just upset her stomach a little, my youngest hasn't gotten into too many scrapes, but she is 10 years younger than the middle child so they helped keep her out of trouble most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Adoption is a choice. SEX is a choice. ALL choices have consequences, and I really don't see how you can justify murder with the idea that parenting is tough. If anyone thinks it is easy they are sadly mistaken. I don't have children, but I do CHOOSE to have sex, and I realize that becoming pregnant may be a consequence of that choice, but I don't believe taking an innocent life is something that should be an option.

Renee said...

Whatever you choose for yourself is fine, however everyone should have the right to choose for themselves.

Emma said...


Sorry, but if the innocent life is surviving by taking the nutrients I need for my own body (parasitism), as well as seriously endangering my health and lowering my quality of life... yeah, I'm going to kill it.

Self-preservation isn't murder, mmkay? After all, if a mother dies in childbirth, nobody calls the baby a murderer, do they? (Though, really, it would be involuntary manslaughter.)

That said, I think (good) parents are amazing and seriously don't get enough credit in our society. Parenthood sounds so easy because all the bad stuff is always a punchline and the good stuff is plastered on every item in Hallmark stores.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you believe you were a parasite. I also think that if you can't deal with your choice to have sex then you shouldn't have it, or you should get your tubes tied. Obviously I can't reason with you. But I am proud to say I would rather save a life than be a liberal who promotes abortion but cries when trees are killed.

Renee said...

@Anon you know what gets me about all you pro birth, cause really that is what you are, is your lack of concern for the welfare of the child after it is born. Your type never think about how it is going to be raised, who is going to pay for education, clothing, food, shelter etc. Nope your answer is that women should just shut out damn legs.
Where is your call for male responsibility? Women don't get pregnant by themselves. I notice you advocate tube tying for women but say nothing about mass vasectomies. Yeah your anti-woman hatred is obvious to all.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon

Unfortunately, even some people who want to have their tubes tied, cannot. Mostly either because of age or lack of already having children.
I would personally love to have my tubes tied, and have not been able to find a doctor to perform the procedure because I am 23.

Anonymous said...

I'd also like to know what makes humans so much better than trees.. All we're doing is destroying the world, trees are actually important.

I'm exaggerating my point a bit, but my question still stands.. Unless you don't support the war, don't eat food (plants are living things, too), donate to charity actively, etc, then you CAN'T call yourself pro-life.

I'd personally only care to hear an anti-choicers opinion on abortion when she or he has gone through pregnancy, or raised children on welfare.. or raised them at all. And I'd only like to hear your opinion about how people should "choose to put the child up for adoption" when they've adopted a few children themselves. Why would you only think about the kid before its born? Children that are already in this world need to be taken care of aswell.

Crystal said...

Renee has a great point above:

"You know what gets me about all you pro birth, cause really that is what you are, is your lack of concern for the welfare of the child after it is born. Your type never think about how it is going to be raised, who is going to pay for education, clothing, food, shelter etc. Nope your answer is that women should just shut out damn legs."

Another thing worth pointing out is that anti-choicers usually are against birth control. It's funny how you can be so against abortion yet not support birth control which saves thousands of women from getting pregnant and ultimately having an abortion.

The fact is, most people who are anti-choice only have one thing in mind - punishing women who have sex. Whether they say it or not. It's no coincidence that the first thing Anon brought up was not the need for contraception, better health information, family planning, etc., but the fact that women (and only women) need to stop having sex.

Sarah said...

I love your post. It is how I see things, I am not a mother at the moment, though I hope to be in time, but I know it's not for everyone and certainly not for anyone that isn't sure.

Aria said...

I like this post, my mother agrees with you whole-heartedly.

"I don't have children, but I do CHOOSE to have sex, and I realize that becoming pregnant may be a consequence of that choice, but I don't believe taking an innocent life is something that should be an option."

That's what bothers me most. Since when is a human life reduced to nothing more than a consequence? I am not a consequence of my mother's actions. My brother is not a consequence. We are CHOICES our mother made.

I do not believe a bunch of cells is a human life, because the body spontaneously aborts quite a few fertilized eggs on its own. If abortion were murder, most women would be "murderers" at some point in their lives. And so, to me, abortion does not equal murder, whether the abortion was a conscious or unconscious decision.