Monday, May 3, 2010

Motherhood and Homelessness

Below I am posting a great video by Katerina Cizek entitled “Unexpected”.  Over the course of the last week we spoke a lot about adoption and I think that this video is particularly relevant, because it examines the issues that young poor women face when they decide to raise their own children.  Though we claim a universal love of all mothers, it should really be qualified to mean that we sometimes respect White women of class privilege who have children.

Talking about Sandra Bullock’s adoption of a Black child, was enough to have this blog set upon by trolls.  I was told to kill myself and many were not shy about suggesting that I should lose my children.  Ironic isn’t it?   I think that we should be very aware that there are many factors that cause women to make the reproductive choices that they do.

If a woman decides to opt for adoption or abortion, because she feels that she will not receive the support needed to raise her child, how can we reasonably say that a choice has been made?  I will agree that there are certainly women that don’t ever want to be mothers, but for the purposes of this conversation, I would like to focus on those whose motherhood has been complicated by outside factors. Too often, the women that choose to remain childless are held up as a defence to the outright kidnapping of children, because you cannot know a baby’s history just by looking at them.

In the video, one woman had CAS (Children’s Aid Society) called on her because she carried a big duffle bag and looked exhausted.  This is of course after giving birth to sick twins.  I think that the fact that she was also young and Black played a significant role in what happened. I have always said that while I am pro choice, I believe that we need to offer more support to motherhood, because it is the other side of the choice.

I think that it is great to talk about the child in the system that is getting a new/good home, but what about the mothers who were not given a choice in this matter?  What about the fact that race/class/disability often play a huge role in this so-called decision? What about the fact that if you are poor, of colour, or disabled, you are more likely to have intervention by the state, regardless of how good you are as a parent?  These are the realities that White liberals don’t talk about while they are busy adopting our kids.

Next Sunday is mothers day, and no one deserves to celebrate it more than poor mothers, disabled mothers, or mothers of colour because we are the women that have had to fight for our children before they were even born.  From forced sterilization, to stealing them for the best interest of the child, to coercive programs like workfare, we continue to parent in some of the worst conditions. To even bring up the issues we face is enough to have liberals sputtering because they are thinking about saving the children and how the system is going to take to long to fix. Yes, the system is going to take serious work to overhaul, but you have not even begun the journey and instead use the dysfunction to justify your actions.

Well, I charge you for using the system as an excuse for GENERATIONS.  I charge you for reducing us to brood mares for your pleasure.  I charge you with delegitimizing our motherhood while you steal our children, and disconnect them from their culture -- when in fact, you have never once really given a thought to best interest of the child. 

How can it be in the best interest of the child to have a system designed to remove them from mothers that love them?  How can it be in the best interest of the child to purposefully under educate them?   How can it be in the best interest to  set up programs like workfare that takes their mothers away from them for long hours, leaving said children without support?  I will retire happily to bedlam if anything in this perverted system is in the best interest of the child.

I have one question left to ask.  If you can be angry when women are not given the right to choose an abortion, where is your rage when women are denied the right to choose motherhood?   Where is the angry rhetoric for the women that are attempting to parent in the worst situations because they love their babies?  It does not exist-- because all of these White liberal women know that one day,  they will walk into their mommy and me classes and be accepted.  Vagina solidarity my ass, marginalized women have always been on our own, and the silence on this issue convicts White liberal women.