Thursday, 24 April 2014

Being pro choice doesn't mean I hate children

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The more I live my life, the more I see that the world isn't a black and white place. Life is knotty and messy. It is complicated and people live their lives in grey areas. Women are more than baby bearing machines, and men are more than sperm donors. No opinion holds more weight due to gender, and who am I to tell you what you believe?

This is not me telling you what women should do, or what you should believe. This is me explaining that the idea of a pro choice woman (or man) does not equal itself to a "baby killer" or a child hater. It's not about right or wrong. There are hundreds of situations I could use as examples but they are circumstantial, and they are personal to the individual who experiences them. Why should we comment on lives of people that we don't understand? What gives us any right to coldly dismiss, criticise or resent someone else's choice?

Being pro choice does not mean I have had an abortion, and it does not mean I ever will. It does mean that I support a choice that many do not. That I support someone else's decision, whether or not it is one I would make myself.

Yes, I do want a career and although I know from friends that you can have both I would rather place sole focus on that. You see, I don't want to resent myself for a decision made out of guilt. The stakes are too high. That said, who knows the decision I may or may not make when put in a certain situation. 

"But don't you want children?" I hear so many gasp at the discussion of such a taboo topic. So what if I do? It doesn't mean I have to have them now. I cannot even look after myself, I'm drowning in debt and I currently don't have a job. So no, I don't particularly want to bring a child into that. That is not even the worst case scenario, and I can't imagine the weight of the decision that many women face. Being pro choice does not mean it's an easy decision, and it doesn't mean that it doesn't burden the woman who makes it.

I believe that it is the woman's right to choose. Such decisions in a relationship should be made in the interests of both the mother and the father, but ultimately you cannot force a woman to see out a pregnancy that she is neither psychologically or physically prepared for. 

In the darkest circumstances, and in the worst case scenario I believe that no woman should have to carry a child that was forced inside her by rape. No, it is not the child's fault. Yes, you could argue it is a miracle that has emerged from the most traumatising of experiences. But is the damage worse if the mother is forced to bear a child that will remind her of it? Is it worse knowing that every time you look at your child that you might see a past horror? 

This isn't about the circumstances. The whats and ifs. We could argue all day long about when it's okay to do it and when it is not. This is about a personal choice that people are ashamed to admit, and that women are forced to feel evil for believing in. Being pro choice doesn't mean that we don't understand why people are pro life, we do understand. I understand you, and I respect you for holding on to your beliefs although they differ from my own.

I don't hate children. I like little girls in pretty dresses with red bows in their hair and dark blonde ringlets that catch the sunlight. I like seeing boys dressed as mini business men and I like seeing finger painting masterpieces. 

Last year, I lived with my friend's now 3 year old daughter and I adored her. She put a smile on my face on every single morning where she would ask me to watch "Horsey" (Tangled) with her. I loved seeing her grow, and I appreciated the little joys she brought into our home.

I want to bring a child into the world when I can give it everything it deserves, not when I can't even promise a roof over it's head. I want other women to do as they see fit. But you know what? It's nobody's damn business.