Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog for Choice Day 2008

First, I'd like to give a shout-out to Latte Mommy for letting me know via her blog about Blog for Choice Day! I think the email probably got lost in all the election emails I've been getting lately.

Blog for Choice Day

I come at this issue as a mother. Now, I was pro-choice before being a mother, but my stance on being pro-choice has only gotten stronger as a mother.

I know now how hard it is to be a mom. I know the sacrifices I make daily for my kids, the amount of times I have to bite my tongue, the amount of times I screw up and have to make reparation for it. Every day, I'm faced with the challenges of nurturing these two human beings into people that I will hope will be liked and respected, strong yet sympathetic, and idealistic enough to reach for the stars, yet realistic enough to not be shattered by disappointment.

These are tough waters to navigate. As a single mom, it's even more difficult as we don't have the benefit of someone to carry the load on occasion.

Being a mother comes with huge financial responsibilities as well. Providing food, clothing and shelter is just the beginning. I want them to have the chances to explore the world outside of our four walls and their schools. I want them to have times to be care free and simply enjoy themselves. I want them to have every book they want to read, and while I know that money cannot buy happiness, a healthy dose of it can keep me from freaking out if they eat another bowl of cereal or if my tire goes flat.

Every single day, as any mom blogger can attest to, difficult choices must be made. Patience must be found from the deepest depth of your inner core. Financial resources must be created out of next to nothing. A stong sense of self and humor must be utilized.

And even the "good" moms can make devastating choices. From the choice of father to the number of chances you give a child to the type of punishments or consequences in order to instill in a child their own moral compass. Love is simply not enough.

I love my children with all my heart, and being their mother more than anything else in the world. That isn't all that sustains me, though. It's still too early in the game to know whether or not, despite my best efforts, despite my worst mistakes, I have done a good enough job in being their mom.

In one of my single mom internet groups, we often refer to the absentee dad as the "sperm donor." In all honesty, there are "egg donors" out there as well. There are women who are not up to the job. We see the devastating results of that in our playgrounds, in our juvenile justice system, in our adults who do not contribute to society. And even if a mom was more than just an egg donor, even if she did all that she could do, it still might not have been enough to make that child feel whole.

I could not, under any circumstances, put myself in the place of a woman who finds herself pregnant and doubts her ability to be a mom, and pretend to know what's best for her...and that child. That is a decision every woman must make for herself, because every woman who makes that decision must live with the consequences of it forever. Not just 18 years, but forever. One never stops being a mom.

Yes, every life is precious. Every life deserves the best possible chances. Every child deserves a mom and a dad to take their roles seriously. As it is, we have too many children in the world who are surviving with less than that. If I have any regrets, it is that I could not give my children the father they deserve. I hope that they can make it without it, but there are times when I'm not absolutely convinced of that. It never gets easier.

Were a woman to ask me my advice, I would try to stress just how much it means, and just how hard it is. I would want her to have all the possible knowledge of what motherhood means, and if she still wanted to have it, great. But if she really believed she was not ready, emotionally and/or financially, to commit to this lifetime endeavor, I would respect her decision to abort.

I was asked recently if I would support my daughter's decision to abort. Absolutely. Probably the only people who understand single parenthood outside of single parents are the children of single parents. If she did not feel she had a supportive significant other, and she did not want to become a single parent, I would be right there with her to hold her hand during the procedure. I would want it to be safe, legal, and leave her with the option of having children later in life if/when she felt ready to do so. I would not begrudge her the mistake of getting pregnant in the first place, because I'm sure the experience itself would be enough for her to learn her lesson. I would not want another child to pay for her mistakes, much like I agonize over how much my own children have paid for mine. That price is too steep.

I not only support a woman's right to choose, I support a child's right to have the best possible chances of thriving. That starts with a mother who is up for the job.

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