So, this post has been bouncing about in my brain for about a day. I don’t know why or why now, but it has come to my attention and I need to write about it.
Back when I went to college, I had a lot of female friends who were education majors. They all wanted to be good teachers. They wanted to inspire their students ala Jaime Escalante, Louanne Johnson and Pat Conroy. Many wanted to work in impoverished neighborhoods to help reinvigorate the importance of education. Some wanted to light the spark that was lit in them by a good teacher. None of them was going into education for the money. And many were even realistic about the amount it cost emotionally as well as financially. They knew about politicking. They knew they would have to take part-time jobs in the evenings and weekends and over the summers. And they realized that parents could be stumbling blocks as well as building ones.
Of the roughly 50 women I knew personally who were education majors in college and entered the teaching field after graduation, less than 10 are still in the profession. Some left because they got married and started families and wanted to homeschool their own children or be a stay-at-home mom while their children where younger than school age. Some felt callings to other fields. But most left from burn-out. They could no longer abide endless budget cuts, RIFs, unsupportive administrators, and parents as agitators, not partners. Beaten down by the system many of them chose to walk away.
I immediately contrasted that with the life of a mother. On even some of best days, we can feel the burn-out coming on. We don’t get summer vacations or even uninterrupted bathroom breaks. We are on-call 24 hours and we are asked to sacrifice our health, well-being and sanity for little people who need that cup of juice RIGHT.NOW. But we can’t turn in our resignation letter, we can’t quit. We can’t walk away. Motherhood bonds us to those little ones who grew under and/or in our hearts. No matter how rotten the day is, we must simply get up and do it all over again. We don’t get sick leave or any kind of regular pay for the hours we put in and complaint department is always closed. No, there is no option to quit and start over somewhere else.
Except their are mothers who check-out. Who up and quit. Some of them abuse their children. Others neglect them. Some are on crack which can make a mother not love her child. And some murder them.
And some murder them.
The difference between Andrea Yates and a woman who walks into Planned Parenthood is that one is behind bars literally while the other has bars in her heart that none of us can see.
The biological/scientific consequence of sex is a baby. The biological reason for sex is procreation. To propagate the species. Look at the mating patterns of cows, dogs, etc. When a female is in heat is the only time a male will engage her. But, us humans, with our superior brains, well, we’ve decided we are so much more special than animals that we can alter biology. We can change our functions.
And as a result, we’ve tricked ourselves into believing that biological consequences can be damned. We can take a pill or use a small piece of rubber or get a shot and avoid all those biological consequences. And if those fail us, because they can, then, well, because we can’t physically see the person, it’s okay to murder them. It’s awful when a celebrity’s dog get’s taken by coyotes, but it’s a celebration when a woman has her child’s skull crushed within her own body then vacuumed out with a suction not unlike a Dyson.
And artificial birth control can and does fail because it is a human invention. And humans are far from perfect, where as God, well God is the only designer of perfection. And some doctors and some selfish human beings who feel their claim over this human body that will be rendered to dust in the end no matter what, well, they’ve decided that perfection isn’t perfect. And while the instant gratification that sex “without consequences” and abortion provide to some, is not lasting. I’ve listened to heart breaking stories over the years of women who aborted because while ready to have sex they were “not ready for a relationship” and “not ready to have a baby” now finding themselves ready, cannot because of problems related to the abortion. A mangled uterus no one ever detected. An incompetent cervix from false dilation. Those are two of the stories I heard most recently.
The side effect we get from this trivializing of abortion and sex. From how easy it is “not” to become a “parent” is that we denigrate the roles of those of us who are parents. We make it seem as though parenthood is something we can put on and take off. We can go out with girlfriends without our kids and take off our wedding bands because we “deserve” a night off. Well, really, why DID you become a mother then?
While motherhood does not mean the complete sacrifice of one’s identity, motherhood does require continual and constant selflessness. It means when we are sick, we are still expected to live up to our duties, in some strain or fashion. It means that most days, sitting on the throne is not glamorous. It means that we were given the awesome task and responsibility for guiding young souls. It is a privilege, not a right, as any woman struggling with infertility will tell you. It is not about convenience or instant gratification but it is about retying shoes for the 30th time in as many minutes and scooping and rescooping that same spoonful of mashed sweet potatoes into a slippery baby mouth confused by the texture and being thrown up on while carrying a child so hot you can’t believe he’s not glowing.
Parenthood is not a job. It’s a vocation. And it’s one that desperately needs to be taken seriously these days. And one of the first ways that needs to happen, is that people who don’t want to become parents, don’t. And that happens, by not having sex. If you’re not ready for a baby, you shouldn’t be having sex. You may want to believe the lies the world tells you that it’s just a bunch of cells and you won’t have any regrets, but your life will be forever and irrevocably altered. If you could not imagine taking a two year old and leaving him in the cart in a large big box store, how can you reconcile having that same child crushed while inside your own body and sucked out? If you plan on feeding your “eventual” children hormone free food, skip the hormones in pill form now. Motherhood will change you whether you hold the child in your arms or allow him or her to be thrown in a dumpster. You don’t get to leave it behind.