ROE VS WADE: THE WORM TURNS
Thirty years ago when I was pregnant I was very amazed at the responses, unexpected, that I received from any number of people. I learned that in pregnancy, somehow the whole world seems to own you.
Firstly, I got a referral to an OBGYN from the medical board and went in for a visit. After suffering for 30 minutes with an older male doctor cracking jokes about sex and older women, I had to go to the counter and speak to the nurse. I did that, got my brochures and was told that “pregnancy was a disease” and I needed to treat it like that. Shocked, I rapidly found another doctor.
I was getting my hair cut at an inexpensive salon. The young man cutting my hair told me he thought I was too old to have a baby. I should have reported him to his boss, instead I changed salons. At an outdoor gathering/barbeque with ‘friends”, a friend advised me that ‘she knew someone who could help me out of my problem.’ I looked at her like the Angel of Death and quickly moved away. In addition to that remark, other ‘friends’ (mostly male) worked hard to make me feel ashamed and embarrassed about my condition. Because I was 38 years old and not 18 years old; I was not embarrassed, I got angry, finally.
Recently, when that baby turned 30 and got married, I was again faced with some similar comments. The baby, now a young lady, was engaged to a fella who got a job offer overseas. He could go but she couldn’t go unless they were married. So, the engagement was followed quickly by marriage.
I shared this good news with a ‘friend.’ Her first response was “Did she have to get married?” Unless you have lived under a rock for the last 50 years, you understand that translates into “Was she pregnant and they had to get married?” In other words, my daughter isn’t good enough to get a guy without being pregnant. A year and a half later, I’m still not a grandmother. I am also not talking to that ‘friend’ much these days.
Since I’m the age that I am; I can remember the days before Roe and the days after Roe. I have known girls who ‘had to get married’ and I have known girls who gave up babies for adoption. In addition to that, I have known women who have gotten pregnant and have been ordered by husbands and boyfriends to get an abortion. I have known the ones who resisted the man’s wishes and said “No, I’m having this baby.” Also, those who buckled under the man’s pressure and got the abortion. Guess who, after all these years, are the happiest and the most unhappy? Spoiler alert, the women who stuck up for themselves and their babies are the happiest.
So, what does this all mean? After centuries of men having children whether they wanted to or not and often more children than they wanted; we have situations where men are not getting the children they want. Women are using birth control, the birth rate has dropped dramatically. Add in abortion rights, the number of unwanted children around has dropped to almost nothing. The worm has turned. Men are having to take responsibility for wanting to have children. They are having to ask, for the very first time ever, asking the woman to please carry their children. How different is that?
Famous couples that broke up over the child issue: Here are three very famous couples that broke up and then remarried, apparently over the child/childless issue. Bruce Springsteen and Julianne Phillips; they got a divorce when she wanted to focus on her career. He remarried Patti Scialfa and has three children now. Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johanssen, they got a divorce and he remarried Blake Lively and they have three children. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston; they got a divorce, he remarried Angelina Joie. They have 3 adopted children and 3 natural children.
My feeling is that if there are 3 very famous couples who have broken up over this issue, there are probably hundreds and hundreds of other couples who have broken up over the very same issues.
For hundreds of years, girls who ‘got into trouble’ were sent away to homes for unwed mothers to have their babies and then shamed into giving their babies up for adoption. These numbers of unwed mothers and ‘unwanted’ babies, at least in this country, have dropped to almost zero. I personally know of couples who are unable to conceive. Couples who desperately want children and are faced with a country where ‘free’ babies are virtually impossible to find. I have seen couples suffer through fertility clinics, surrogate mother scams and painful adoption proceedings.
Roe v Wade will make a lot of people very unhappy. The one sector of our population who are heaving a secret sigh are married couples looking to adopt a baby. I don’t know, maybe the universe is calling out for more babies.
As a society we need to consider why it is that so many young women of childbearing ages don’t want to have children. Why? Is it just the cost? Well, the cost is of course part, but not all. Could it be that we are still caught up in the shame-blame cycles of shaming and blaming pregnant women for their ‘condition’? Do we ever consider that men (of all ages) use women to satisfy their sexual needs? Does it take two generations of women refusing to bear children for men to finally realize that, yes, they too want children? It’s like a thousand country western songs, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
Pregnancy is not a curse or a disease. It is a gift. A lot more people need to start thinking that way. If you don’t believe me, sit down and have a chat with a childless couple. If we supported women and their children more as a society more, maybe there wouldn’t be such a rush to the abortion clinics.