For decades a debate has raged in our country over women’s uteri and what they can/should do with them. I have yet to meet an individual that does not claim allegiance to one side over the other. Both positions are passionate and have fought to the death for their cause. The Pro-lifers advocating for the lives of the unborn by explaining that every life has value and that life begins at conception. The other side of the coin, Pro-choice, disputes when life actually begins, contesting that a women’s body belongs to no one but herself, and she should have complete authority over what she wants to do with it. Battling over lives and prerogative, the two sides seem to stand unbending. Their backers just as resolute in their stance, or at least it seems that way, until it comes to uteruses like mine, uteruses that have more babies than deemed “normal” by 21st century American culture. Then some, not all, begin to back away from their steadfastness.
I am currently pregnant with our seventh child. I haven’t really announced it, announced it, until now for a couple of reasons. First of all, my last pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage and I didn’t want to have to say those words again to those outside of my immediate family. Telling someone, “I lost the baby,” is more difficult than I had ever anticipated. Secondly, as our family and close friends celebrate with us over our new addition, many do not. It’s exhausting coming up with responses or faking laughter yet again, when strangers and acquaintances alike creatively share their witty comments regarding our sex life, my lack of hobbies, or my ignorance about the facts of life. Not to mention, it makes me a bit angry that I have to defend my family’s size. Really, I shouldn’t have to. After all, it seems that everyone falls into one of the two “pro” categories. Yet, the less-than-humorous comments continue and sometimes even out right mean things are said by individuals of both parties that seem to have lost their bias.
As a woman, is it not my right to do with my body what I want to do with my body? We with larger-than-most families could really go without the “it’s a uterus, not a clown car” comments. If we want to rival Michelle Duggar, shouldn’t that be our choice? Our choice. Yet the words of some Pro-choice women to a preggo mom with multiple children in tow are as strong as the incense one has been burning or the power in which another grandstands in her corporate heels. Words that don’t mince the belief that birth control is an option that should have been exercised. If it had been used they assume the world’s problems could be avoided, after all we are contributing to the world’s overpopulation, a growing carbon footprint, taking tax dollars for government assistance, and perpetuating the belief that women should be uneducated birthing machines. At this point, they no longer believe the choice is the individual woman’s, it’s theirs, because our choice no longer matches what they want for themselves, our gender, or our world.
Having a Pro-life bent myself, I would like to say that my family of soon-to-be seven is celebrated by all on my “side”, but it’s not. Often it doesn’t appear as offensive, but anyone that can read between the lines, a.k.a., everyone, can see the slight disdain in a curled upper lip. Although the church-going financial supporter of the local pregnancy center with no more than two Baby Gap attired children would never want a mom to terminate, they are bewildered by a mother who would sacrifice comfort to have gobs of babies. Her concern for moms of many often revolves around the work of more than the number of children she has and the ability to live as comfortably as she would like. The value placed on life is great as long as it doesn’t interfere with her contentment. Do you sense a disconnect?
I’m not saying that everyone needs to have “a lot” of children, what I’m saying is that if you believe life is of value and begins at conception, then you celebrate life. Period. We don’t need to hear that this isn’t the life you could handle. Heck, half the time we can’t handle it. Remind us of the what you believe to be true–every life is a gift and has value. If you truly believe that a women’s body is hers to do as she chooses, but you think she’s crazy to have a more than three children, then admire a women who is going against societal norm and embracing the beauty and power of what a women’s body can do. We mamas who make the choice to allow baby blessings in our lives don’t need criticism, supposedly funny comments, or even belly rubs (okay, that last one is my own personal preference), what we do need is the truth. And regardless of what point of view you agree with, to a mom pregnant with her seventh baby, there is truth to be found in both.