As much as I relate to the seething anger implied by the “Pussy Grabs Back” and “Keep Your Rosaries Off My Ovaries” signs popping up all over social media, I’ve been hankering to try to say something deeper about what is at stake when it comes to the impending Supreme Court nomination, and any erosion of women’s reproductive rights. It’s easy to want to jump into a screaming match on this one–the pain is so personal, and it’s really hard for me to understand how conservative discourse can be anti-social safety net, anti-minimum wage, anti-choice, and proclaim to come to those perspectives from a place of concern for ‘the children.” The true stats for child welfare in this country are bleak, with 21% living in poverty, and many more close to the edge. Child poverty is correlated with low educational attainment and shorter life expectancy. In multiple studies, the decline in violent crime in the mid to late nineties has been correlated with Roe v. Wade, and a woman’s right to choose. This isn’t just about one gender, it’s about everybody.
Speaking personally, the strain of being a good mother stretches me to my limit, almost every single day. And this is the case even though I have ample social and economic resources, and had children later in my life after establishing my professional career. I definitely fall into the category of people to believe in attachment parenting, and who possibly throw themselves overly much into their children’s lives– but even for people who manage more regimented, less ‘crunchy’ forms of parenting, having children is a tremendous strain on patience, energy, work, finances, and physical reserves. It’s not a commitment to be taken lightly. I think we really need to talk about how we can set parents up so they can withstand this strain, and the first part of this is ensuring that people only take on parenthood when they want to, with an open heart. I’ve tried to encapsulate how I feel about this in the following sign. It’s probably a bit to fussy to use as a real protest sign– but I hope it will help us talk about this issue at least online in a more nuanced way.