Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kids Don't Just Change Your Life, They Change Who You Are

It's amazing how much being a parent affects your beliefs.  Some of mine are stronger now, others have weakened.  I don't know if any have completely changed, but only because I haven't taken the time to sit down with an arbitrary list and tick off boxes.

That?  I suppose I still believe in that, though not as much. *marks the "I still care, just less" box*

If you're wondering if what happened last night in Texas and the SCOTUS's decisions today are what have got me thinking, they are.  And the topics they concerned are indeed perfect examples of what I'm talking about.

Pretty much since I started forming opinions of my own (instead of automatically assuming those of my parents), I've been a supporter of equal rights for the LGBT community.  I've had gay friends since high school, and as I aged and started paying more attention to the big wide world and less to when one of the popular boys said "Hey, will you help me with this assignment?", I became more and more aware that local bullying and bigotry were just the tip of the iceberg. These equal citizens of this country were being denied safety, denied benefits, denied rights.  I thought it was appalling and unfair and just total and utter bullshit.

And then I had my son.

And I thought, what if he's gay?  And all of the sudden, this unjustice that I had already been against took on a whole new light.  It might not just be my friends being denied equality, it could be my CHILD.  And when someone very close to me expressed one of the most reprehensible opinions I've ever heard, it made me mad enough to finally speak out.

I'm not one of those soapbox people.  Hell, I rarely even share my opinions about controversial issues unless asked--and even then I'm still ridiculously careful about what I say.  But my love for my son and my utter disgust with hateful ignorance made me put my opinion out there for the world.

I believe in equal rights under the law for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

Now, before anyone starts cheering, here's the other side of the coin.

I used to be straight up, pro-abortion.  I saw it as a woman's right.  I knew I could never get one, but I didn't think that I still shouldn't have the option.  My body, my choice.  Yes, I had some prejudices--I wasn't crazy about people who were continually careless and end up needing multiple ones--but I still believed in the over all idea.

And then I had my son.

Now, I'm horrifically conflicted.

I used to just think about the women.  No one should be forced to carry a child she doesn't want because the condom broke or antibiotics messed with her birth control.  And when I could get the judgy-wudgy shutters off my eyes for a bit, I even admitted that no one should be forced to carry a child she doesn't want just because she got swept up in a moment of passion and forgot the condom..

However, I still can't bring myself to be okay with someone who intentionally never uses any sort of birth control.  Do I think that a woman who acts in that manner should be "punished" by being forced to carry and birth a child? No.  (And let's face it, that's another facet of the situation.  People can scream that anti-abortion laws and legislation are "only meant as a deterrent!" all they want, but that's not going to make it true.)  But it still doesn't sit well with me.  Sorry folks, but if you're looking for someone completely free of judgementalism, you've come to the wrong damn blog.

Now that I have my son, I think about the children too. I believe that the unique "spark" of life we each have (the soul, if you want to call it that) comes from our brains. (Sorry mom; just know it's not your fault I'm going to hell.)  After a mind-numbing amount of research into when our brains are "viable," I found that this excerpt from The Ethical Brain resonated with me most.

Basically, neurological viability hits at around 23 weeks.

There, done.  Right?  I've found my number and as long all abortions are performed before then, I can be okay.


The problem with that nice, logical, and medically accurate number is that it has absolutely nothing to do with potential--and potential is pretty much the bitch of it all.

Like any parent, one of the absolute worst nightmares I can think of is losing my child.  And like any mentally masochistic person, I have allowed myself to dwell on this situation many times--in detail.  (Because sometimes you just need a panic attack, amIright?)  I've realized that while the loss of my child in my daily life would be agony, what would be even worse would be the loss of all his potential.

Maybe potential isn't the right word, I don't know, but that's what comes to mind.  I would not only grieve for no longer having my son in my life at that very moment, but for all the moments to come.  I would grieve for him not getting to grow up, experiencing the positives of life and overcoming the negatives.  I would grieve for my not getting to see him experience all those things.  I would grieve for the significant other he never got to find and enrich, and the (possible) grandkids I never got to meet.

I had the same types of fears when I was pregnant and the specter of a miscarriage always lurked in the back of my mind.

And that is what has caused such conflict in me over something I used to be very clear about--potential.  For me, that potential started the second I saw a blue line . . . and for me that potential starts EVERY time a woman sees that blue line, or hears the doctor say "you're pregnant."  And even if that woman didn't plan that potential, doesn't want that potential, has NEVER wanted that potential, it's still there.

And it is the thought of  intentionally snuffing out that potential that breaks my heart.  Because even if she doesn't want that potential, someone does--and as long as someone wants that potential, it deserves a chance to fulfill itself.

But we don't have the science to remove an embryo or fetus from someone who doesn't want it and give it to someone who does.  And I still don't think it's okay to force a woman to carry a child who does not want to.  We have no right.

We. Have. No. Right.

And whenever it comes down to me casting a vote on this subject, that is the idea I will lean on . . . even if I'm having to vote through my tears.

Kids, man, they just fucking change everything.



  1. I can appreciate your views alter a bit after having a child, and you can appreciate my views as someone who does not want to be a mother. It's so sane it's insane in this crazy political climate. I think you're right; what it comes down to is having the right. You don't have the right to tell me, I don't have the right to tell you, and the government doesn't have the right to tell either of us. Our lives, our bodies, our decisions. If the day comes when they can implant from one woman to another, then I'll most certainly choose that route if (God forbid) I have to make the decision. (Though, there are so many children who need homes already...but that's another argument.) All in all, I gotcha.

  2. Thank you for sharing your exploration of the issues, Amanda! I don't even have a kid, and yet I, in all my fervent women's rights/pro-choice glory, truly share some of your hesitations and concerns about abortion. It's an icky, icky topic with implications that remain firmly in a gray area for me (how can life NOT begin at conception? But if that's the case, then how is abortion NOT murder? Reading about late-term and partial-birth abortions made me positively ill! And yet I still support a woman's right to have one...see? Ahhhhh!), and it's good to know I'm not alone in feeling this way. I will have some of those same niggling doubts as I cast my vote alongside yours, dear! <3