Friday, April 1, 2011

Chill. It’s not a Winnebago.

The term “crisis pregnancy” gets overused. I understand some pregnancies qualify as crises. I am thinking here of those that are the result of abuse or that occur while the mother is in prison or twelve years old or, God forbid, all three.

Instead, every time someone gets pregnant out of wedlock, or below the age of 24 or so, or without specifically trying to, the word “crisis” rears it head. Really? I’m not making light of the gravity and responsibility of motherhood, but honestly, people, it’s just a baby. It’s not like a Winnebago or anything. I mean, you can take it into restaurants. It fits in the car. You can feed it with your boobs (honest to God; I’ve seen it) and it’s incredibly portable and relatively lightweight.

What’s so terribly scary about a baby? It’s a baby, the symbol for innocence, sweetness, and joy. It’s not like you’re getting your house re-carpeted. You’re going to have a baby. The natural reaction is not annoyance or fear or abject panic, but joy and excitement. In fact I would go so far as to say even in (the rare) pregnancies that warrant fear and panic, joy and excitement still seem pretty natural.

What has happened to us as a culture that we’re afraid of babies? Are we that worthless, lazy, and selfish, that so many of our young women find themselves too busy, important, or cowardly to handle a tiny infant? Like Mother Teresa said, “It is a poverty that a child must die so you may live as you wish.” Think of the word she chose there: poverty. It means, of course the state of being poor, but more specifically a lack of something. So what is it we lack? Courage? Common sense? Morality? All of the above?

Of course radical feminism indoctrinated a generation of women (and now their daughters and young granddaughters) to see children as a ball-and-chain, a barrier between ourselves and happiness, sometimes the one thing standing in the way of our remarkable career as a Freelance Graphic Designer or some other job that is just far more important in the grand scheme of things than nurturing and raising a human being.

So now that we’ve pretty successfully trained the totally natural God-given desire to produce offspring out of young women, especially the smart ones with smart parents who are encouraged to go to college, we’re also working on getting rid of a young woman’s natural maternal instinct. Because babies aren’t feminist! Babies are oppressive! They have all these NEEDS that aren’t MINE!

Couple that with the postmodern cult of Self (everyone’s favorite person AND women’s magazine!) and you have a typical young woman who accidentally gets pregnant (that’s a whole other topic) and finds herself (a) upset because babies are not cool; if they were, Lady Gaga would have four in assorted colors; and (b) unwilling to sublimate her desire to do whatever she wants for the basic needs of another human person who happens to be her own offspring.

CRISIS!

Well, guess what? The world around us is teeming with solutions for every last “crisis” pregnancy, real or imagined. I promise you, if every sixteen-year-old girl in the tri-county area got pregnant tomorrow, there are enough waiting couples in this country to adopt the hell out of every last baby. There is a staggering shortage of infants and a waiting list that makes childless couples sick.

Being afraid of childbirth because it will hurt your vagina does not a crisis pregnancy make. Being scared because your dad will yell at you or take away your Blackberry doesn’t do it, either. Being annoyed at missing a semester of college, or disappointed because your boyfriend is mean, or anxious because you don’t make much money, these things are not crises or tragedies. A brain tumor is a crisis. A toddler with HIV is a tragedy. Your pregnancy is probably, sorry ladies, not all that damn big a deal.

Isn’t it time we expected a little more of our young people than to know how many tracks Weezy dropped this week? Shouldn’t we be teaching our daughters to respect themselves enough to keep their legs closed or accept responsibility if they don’t? Shouldn’t our young women be taught to view family life as something timeless, beautiful and fulfilling, and children as gifts from God?

And by the way, those gimmicky Home Ec programs in which high school students are given egg, peanut, or flour sack babies to “scare” them out of procreating don’t help at all. It’s supposed to be a big dose of reality that teaches you how hard it is to care for a child, but I call B.S. I left my egg baby in a mini-fridge for three weeks. I’m pretty sure you can’t do that with a real baby. But I’m also pretty sure human babies are a little bit more rewarding to be around, take care of and love than babies made of dry goods.

This is the kind of indoctrination I was talking about. They’re teaching our kids that babies are about as worthy and interesting as a sack of flour with a pierced nose – (I was rebellious) – in other words, a lump of unrewarding responsibility whose only redeeming characteristic is you get to name it something cool. (“Reznor.” Again, rebellious.)

As a matter of fact, let’s get these stupid programs taken out of schools. But meanwhile, let’s stop reinforcing the usually unfounded fears of the accidentally knocked-up, which are supported mostly by postmodern angst with no basis in reality. Let's encourage young women to make positive, moral choices, to respect themselves body and soul, not out of irrational fear, but out of virtue and intelligence.


Post written by Kristen Walker

16 comments:

  1. I tried. I tried not to start reading this, I tried not to finish it, and I tried not to comment. I failed at all three. What can I say, I'm a sucker for dissenting opinion.

    I think you ARE, at a fundamental level, making light of the gravity of having a child. Is having and raising a child impossible? No, obviously, because every mammal does it. But it IS hard, and when people are unprepared to raise a child, they very often do an awful job of it, and give us another asshole adult to deal with.

    You bring up adoption, which is a valid avenue. However, there is no shortage of babies. There are millions of unwanted, un-cared-for children in this world, but adopting couples pick children like puppies, and only want the cute little white babies from well-groomed parents (or children from exotic countries they can give mohawks to). There are plenty of children of poverty and war that are passed over daily. Considering an immediate adoption by fit parents to be a safety net for an unborn child is a dangerous presumption.

    Moreover, I feel that eliminating abortion because it is often abused is like abolishing all welfare, public health, food stamps, etc., simply because they are abused. That's cutting off a weed at the top, not the roots. Abuses of legitimate safeguards are a symptom of our society, not of the safeguard. Besides (and this is not a new contention), banning abortion doesn't stop abortions, any more than banning drugs stops drug use, so clearly this has to be approached from another angle.

    My last (and I think best) point is that we ARE facing a genuine crisis in the form of overpopulation. We have 7 billion people on this planet, and about 90% of them aren't being properly fed as it is. We're rapidly approaching shortages of oil, clean water, and food, and yet we continue to breed. I have no difficulty seeing the moral objection to early-term abortion, but I see a greater moral dilemma in compulsively bringing more people into a world where we can't (or won't) care for the people that already exist.

    "So why don't women just close their legs, make good decisions, and behave as sane, moral beings?" you say? Well, I have no answer for that.

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  2. You don't have an answer for that?

    I do. Because we've been taught there are absolutely no consequences for our actions, except for perhaps a gyno appointment that's a bit messier than usual.

    While I'm not denying abortion is unpleasant, 9 months of pregnancy and the subsequent birth of a child hurts worse. However, that being said, 9 months is also a fair amount of time for you to get your $#*! together and reevaluate your "choices." The 20 minutes it takes to get your baby sucked out of you is not- and now you're reentered the world as an even more wounded person. You really think she's not going to do it all over again tomorrow?

    I got pregnant when I was 16. Was I ready? Um, no. But like I said, 9 month is a long time. And in the end, because I decided to give my child life, I was able to be gain something from the experience too. My son held me accountable for my 'choices' and made me a much stronger woman because of it. Too many people discount the power of these "unwanted children." And you know what, if in the end if a mother is not made better by choosing life for her child, then there are a myriad of other options available that can help others rather than hurting anyone.

    If more of us (and not just the women) were forced to man up to our "crisis pregnancies" I surmise we'd see a whole lot less of them. Consequences- crazy little (and even sometimes awesome) things- are good for society.

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  3. As an American Indian I just have to ask...
    What's wrong with having a Winnebago? They're a very fine people.

    haha, had to do it.
    +Pax

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  4. Killing babies is not the solution for overpopulation. Overpopulation is a problem (if it is) because of a lack of resources, i.e. poverty. Resources exist for people, not the other way around. You don't kill people 'cause there aren't enough resources anymore than you cut a little length off your legs if your pants don't fit. That's Hitler-y and awful. Eugenics is not cool.

    Also, when you spend a few years in pro-life you learn a lot about adoption. Here's a little tidbit: if you have an infant, of any color, it's gonna get snapped up. Somebody wants it. Trust me.

    And you're right, banning abortion doesn't stop abortion. This is a non-argument. Murder is illegal and people still murder. It's illegal because it's wrong, because there should be a deterrent, and the people who do it should be brought to justice.

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  5. 50,000 kids adopted each year; 2 MILLION couples on the list waiting to adopt.

    As for overpopulation, here are 4 really cute videos addressing the "problem":
    http://overpopulationisamyth.com/

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  6. I know this really isn’t the subject of the post, but in regards to adoption, I wish, just really wish the pro-life movement had more of a heart for children in the foster care system. These are children are orphaned either by death or irresponsibility, and they are not getting snatched up. My parents gave a home to two young boys who changed my life forever and I wish all couples would consider this route.

    As for the actual content of the post - I agree that having a baby isn’t a crisis, but the pro-life movement has zero to gain by ostracizing girls who are terrified. Raising a child is hard. I became unexpectedly pregnant and chose to keep my baby and love her very much. I didn’t just lose a semester at college. I surrendered any more education, period, for the foreseeable future. I gave up friends and most of my social life. I gave up ministry opportunities. I gave up all those things for something I believe is better: motherhood.

    But it is the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. It is not about not having money, but about being scared that I can’t provide my daughter with the proper food to keep her healthy, or the proper education to make her smart, or the proper home and car to keep her safe. It’s not about being annoyed that my boyfriend is mean, it’s about making the decision about whether my daughter will benefit having him in her life, or if she would be better with no father at all. It’s not about childbirth being painful and damaging my vagina; it’s about the fact that my body will never be the same — I will never have the self-confidence I had before. Its about the fear that maybe my body isn’t good enough: something will go wrong, the baby will die, I will be injured, I’m just not strong enough, the baby will be hurt.

    To minimize the huge epic-ness that is being a parent and giving birth is foolish in the same way Planned Parenthood calling an unborn baby a clump of cells is foolish. If being a parent wasn’t a big deal, if a baby wasn’t a big deal, then abortion would not be a big deal. But the truth? It is all a huge deal. Pro-lifers would benefit by coming alongside these frightened women and helping them, rather than bullying them for having a perfectly natural response of intimidation and fear. The pro-lifers in my life prayed for me, gave me food and advice, and mentors that let me know I was not alone and gave me the confidence to do what is and continues to be the #1 most difficult and rewarding thing in my life.

    Pregnancy is scary. Being a parent is scary. It is a big fucking deal. This post has truth in it, but it’s hard to hear over the ignorance.

    I do like this blog, really. I just don’t like this post.

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  7. Eliz,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. I totally get what you are saying, and unfortunately I think some of our callousness might be showing in this post.

    If you read my comment above, I also experienced a "crisis" teen pregnancy, and I totally agree- it's huge. It changed my life forever.

    I guess what eventually got to me though were my peers in my high school and the women I saw so cavalierly smoking a cigarette, popping their gum and then walking into the clinic hand in hand with their BMW driving boyfriend to slaughter their baby. This post is addressed more to them.... stop acting like murder is easier than birth, ya know?

    It actually started out as a mid-converstation rant that Kristen went on. I thought it was brilliant and forced her to put it in writing. In the context of the conversation we were definitely talking about adoption. This was not a "bully women into parenting" thing, it was a "your body's got this" thing. So many women will avoid childbearing because, according to them, they "could never give their baby away." So.....they kill it? To me this is just crazy logic. It's no logic at all. And I worry that a lot of it has to do with us getting so inside our dang heads sometimes. Kids today (my generation included) can be so freaking dramatic. Yeah, this is a huge deal, however, one our body is completely capable of handling. That was the point Kristen was making...that we need to get outside of our head and just man up. You created a human, now give that human life. It should not be a choice, it should be a no brainer. We MUST change this way of thinking.

    And as for fostering, I TOTALLY AGREE! That's where the need is at right now, and that's where we can make a huge impact!

    Thanks again for your thoughts,
    D.

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  8. And its so true! I agree with the heart of the post, 100%. That's why I'd like to see more mentoring going on in the "crisis" pregnancy community! It's so important to have someone countering the pro-choicers who say "Your kid will be a welfare baby, will probably not graduate college, and will be poor and suffer -- so why don't you check out abortion?" I want to step up, take these pregnant girls out for lunch and tell them "Yeah, it's tough. You might have to ask the government for help, to get on your feet. Your education and career might have to take a back seat for a bit. But you know what? You can be a great mother, and your child's life is worth living! You are physically, mentally, and emotionally tough enough to do this, and you know what? If you don't think you are, you've got nine months to get on a plan to help you get there, and I'm going to be there for you every step of the way."

    Or if adoption is the goal, there could be women who had previously given their child up for adoption to help the other girl along her way, to reassure her its possible and encourage her.

    These thoughts (that an effective way to get girls out of the drama and into the the real world would be through direct one-on-one mentoring or conversation) have been bopping around in my mind a lot, and I'm glad to dump them here. :) Thanks for responding! And keep up the thought-provoking posts!

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  9. No you're right, it's not a Winnebago--it's only about a million times more important. I can only assume that the author is either very young and/or has no experience with children (babysitting little cousins doesn't count), but here's a hint for you--they don't stay little, cute and portable for very long. And yes, they are a big deal.

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  10. What's so scary about having a baby? For more women than you might think, it poses health risks that can be lifethreatening. Don't trivialize my reasons--or any other woman's-- for not wanting to have more babies (if any). Having a kid is a big deal and full of unknown risks even for the healthiest woman. I chose not to have more babies *because* I am prolife.

    http://www.allourlives.org/node/227

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  11. I like this one. Will bookmark it for future use.

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  12. I think you really hit it on the head with this one. I really like the comment about Lady Gaga. Young women are so worried about their appearance and being "cool" that they miss out on a lot and try to catch up later in life. My Aunt was trying so hard to be like the Sex in the City women that before she knew it she was 40, unmarried, unhappy, and longing to have children. I guess she became just like the Sex in the City women! It is really sad the way children are viewed in this society now. They are seen as liabilities instead of gifts and "arrows in the hands of a warrior" (Psalm 127). There are so many problems with this country and this generation. Thank you for being brave and speaking your mind. I love it!

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  13. The thing is that these young girls do not know it could all work out. As adults we have seen, whether first hand or through someone we know, that having a child doesn't have to be the end of the world. Allot of these girls may have considered adoption if there was more infornation about adoption available. Instead of attemtpting to to pass laws to force these young girls to have a vaginal intrusion before commiting to abortion how about forcing them to speak with a counsler who can give them all their options straight?
    Lets be real ...being a mother is tough. Whether it's physically, financially, or emtionally.... Not to undermine the rewarding aspect. I was 19 when I had my son.
    I guess I just don't understand the "suck it up" mentality.

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  14. I apologize now for my terrible touch phone writing. I'm a terrible writer in general but my phone adds some depth to my inability to peace together simple words;)

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  15. Things you say are "not a big deal":

    "Being afraid..it will hurt your vagina"
    --No, but being afraid you could suffer serious and lasting physical complications (which, by the way, is not uncommon), or even die, does.

    "Being scared because your dad will yell at you....or disappointed because your boyfriend is mean..."
    --What about being scared your dad or boyfriend will beat you the second he finds out you're pregnant (which probably wouldn't end well for you OR the fetus)?

    "Being annoyed at missing a semester of college...or anxious because you don’t make much money"
    --Most women who get pregnant young do not "miss a semester of college." Many drop out of school and never go back, thus limiting their ability to get a good, high-paying job for the rest of their lives. And are you SERIOUSLY saying that not having enough money to raise a kid isn't enough reason not to have one? What if you already have kids (most women who have abortions do)? Should the kids you already have be forced to live in poverty because you certainly shouldn't choose not to have more kids because you can't afford it? That seems like terrible decision making to me. Yeah, nevermind that *money* nonsense. "It's not like you can't just live off food stamps and collect hand outs and go dumpster diving, why do you think you should make sure your kids have food and shelter and healthcare? Pssh, just have more kids and be more impoverished!" Horrible. (I have NO problem with people who need assistance, and they absolutely should be able to get it, but to say that one should never try to avoid poverty if they can is stupid.)

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  16. (Continued, because it was too long for a single comment)

    As for adoption, do you have ANY idea how many kids are waiting to be adopted? So there's an "infant shortage" (you claim; I'll choose to accept that unproven because it's irrelevant); why don't those parents who are "desparate" for kids adopt OLDER kids, who are available by the thousands? White, healthy, infants are the only children who get adopted with ease in this country. Any minority, disabled, or older kids are just plain out of luck most of the time. I understand that most Americans are white and want kids that look like them, that kids with special needs have...well, special needs, and that older children often have behavioral problems that can be difficult (and occasionally even impossible) to overcome. But the fact is, they are there. They're in the system, being passed from foster home to foster home (and many are suffering abuse at the hands of foster parents, an especially cruel joke for kids who are in foster care to escape abusive parents), until they turn 18 and get turned out into the streets to fend for themselves. They need parents FAR more than these so-called "desperate" parents need healthy, white babies. If you really, really want kids, adopt a kid who really, really needs a parent.

    You're right, a baby is not a Winnebago. A Winnebago costs $50-300k to buy and can be completely neglected with no real consequence. A baby costs upwards of $10k to DELIVER and an estimated $235k to raise (a disputable number, but that's the claim); requires near-constant attention for the first few years and very frequent attention after that; must be taught right from wrong, as well as how to read, write, use the bathroom, tie their shoes, dress themselves, be polite, take care of themselves, be responsible, and ultimately be a productive member of society; requires you to make decisions that are LITERALLY a matter of life and death; frequently get sick and require care (including you using YOUR sick time from work to stay home and take care of them, which may mean having to work when you're sick because you have no sick time left); oh, and they never go away, they're still you're child even after they turn 18 and move out (assuming they don't stay longer, which they very likely will since if they go to college they'll probably live with you when they aren't on campus, meaning they'll be at least 22).

    But yes, let's trivialize the time, money, and effort that go into raising a child, because babies are CUTE and therefore can't actually be a big deal.

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