To all my friends and loved ones who have children in their lives. So many amazing women I know have chosen to have children in the last few years and it is wonderful and amazing. In the buildup to mothers day I have been thinking about how much I am grateful for.
Smart, active, brilliant women have chosen to have children and:
- They are all alive. I am most grateful for this. They are all alive to live and rock on and change the world and I am in a better position to live in this world because I am not grieving for sisters I lost along the way. They are all alive and none of them are horribly maimed by giving birth either. This is wonderful and amazing when you look at statistics throughout the world and history. There may be complications, but I am so grateful not to fear for my friends lives whenever I hear that they are pregnant – fear born from this kind of tragedy is not part of my lived reality.
- Wonderful children are engaging to the world who 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago simply would not be alive. That’s an amazing kind of diversity to now have in the world. Premature babies are living and living stronger and better with human contact much sooner than in past times. I have never had to loose a child, but I know of women of older generations who carried the guilt and pain of loosing a child, still-born or “failed to thrive” or brain damaged by birth or early fever or fracking measels. I love that friends that I love do not have to carry this kind of loss. I love that if a child has problems it’s less blame invisible forces and the eve-like mother and more “hmmm this child has a hole in their heart” or kids are delicate and SIDS happens sometimes, this is how to reduce the chances. I am so glad many burdens of sadness have been reduced or at least made comprehensible.
- I think of the psychic impact of these two things alone. The impact of reduced mother and child mortality is clearly shown in numbers in developing countries especially, and I think we often think of physical impact. Communities and women especially have so much more potential when there isn’t as much grieving business to do.
And beyond death:
- All of the women I know chose to have children. Some by luck and making a choice in the moment, some by planning, some by years of determination, medical intervention and more grit than I have. Some have had abortions in the past to allow them to make this choice now. Some have had miscarriages along the way (I’m sure many/most have, though it’s not something spoken of that much, though more than it used to be)… because that is the way of things and building a child is a fricken complicated thing – most of us take a few practice runs to do something that complicated. Some women I know have chosen not to, not now not ever and they have not been forced to bear children.
- All of them chose to have children and many had help. And no one I know has been forcibly sterilized because they were a lesbian or an angry feminist or suffered from depression or were teen mothers or rebels or were of the wrong caste/class/ethnicity. Women’s reproductive rights are still forcibly taken away in some places (not too far from where I am in fact), but not as much as it used to be and it’s slightly less of a dirty little secret.
And now to happier stuff of community
- I love the diversity of communities of support my wonderful friends are getting. In meatspace, on-line, through the fracking postal service and telephone wires. Communities of choice, of blood, of association, of need. I love my friends who are not silenced by their pregnancies and children. They write of the joys and complexities and sleep deprivation. There’s a lot of blogging about the freaking weirdness of breastfeeding and lactation consultants and getting the little bugger to feed isn’t always as easy as the stories say. This depth of knowledge hasn’t always been there, or gets lost or was only passed down in certain ways. I think of some of the terrifying isolation and fear that existed for some women only a few decades ago who had broken away from traditional spheres of womanhood and didn’t have support there – and before support for women who chose professional lives had started in any form. While support for women to have children and professional lives is still developing at least it is in development and at least there are more women who have dealt with the challenges of profession and children.
- I love that men are doing more in the domestic sphere. I think this is good for mothers, for culture, for children, for the men themselves and for their relationship with their partner. Different people are good at different things and a burden shared is more than a burden halved… making more space and energy for the joys that are in parenting.
This week I have been thinking a lot about the wonderful women I know who are having children who are being raised in all sorts of different globules of community.
So many are far away, I wish I could be part of their village in a more physical way. It is good to be part of a small person’s village. I am thinking of you my dear friends, as individuals with so much to you as well as rearers of small interesting people who will live and do in this world when I am gone. I don’t know if having kids will ever be a choice Mike and I make, but I never want my village to be without those small and marvelous people that mothers bring into the world.
To the women and tribes I know and don’t know who do their darndest to raise children of marvelous capacity – I salute you and think of you and am proud of you.
Love and hugs and happy mother’s day