It's just another indication of how far we have to go: how free "good liberals" felt to rip Sarah Palin a new one over her child bearing choices. And, trust me, I'd have probably agreed w/ Son and DiL and moved to Ireland if Palin had been elected. There were a million and one policy reasons to want Palin to lose the election. Yet a great way to get yourself blasted on a number of v liberal blogs was to suggest that if Palin wanted to deliver her Downs Syndrome baby in Alaska, that was her choice.
But everyone in America, and I mean everyone, feels free to criticize women for their reproductive choices. Why? It's a way to keep women down and fighting w each other instead of fighting together against patriarchy. The "helicopter moms" can feel superior to the woman who gives birth blackberry-in-hand, and the women who choose not to have children can spend their lives explaining their choice to relatives who think those women are "selfish." Women who breast feed can look down on women who don't, and women who don't have a second child can spend their lives explaining why they "denied" their child a sibling. No matter what reproductive or child-rearing choice a woman makes, someone, somewhere, can criticize her for it. It's interesting how this sort of criticism always seems to focus on the woman, isn't it?
As Ericka notes, the latest target is a woman who gave birth this week to octuplets. I'm a huge advocate of population control and I'd probably go along with measures to remove the "tragedy of the commons effect" of big families that would give a lot of liberals pause. I think that we should, at the least, be doing everything that we can, educationally, socially, etc. to convince people to limit the size of their families. I can almost, in the words of the song, hear the planet groan every time it registers another birth.
But choice means choice. If society and the government can tell me not to have more children when I'm poor or whatever, then they can tell me to have more children than I want if that's what the government -- which we've all seen is way too vulnerable to take-over by Christianists -- decides that it wants to do.
And I refuse to engage in the game of tearing down and criticizing another woman --whatever her religion, politics, financial situation, class, etc. -- for her reproductive choices. I want to support other women, not tear them down. Shawna Carol's lyrics:
"When you look in your sister's eyes, Praise her, praise her, For she's been laid down For centuries, "
ring v true for me. We'd be a lot better off if all the energy devoted to hating on this woman went into changing the pressures that society puts on women to make them believe they're incomplete w/o a baby.
And, requisite disclosure: I love kids. I had one who is, still, 35 years later, the absolute best thing that ever happened to me in a life blessed every day by mystical joy I don't even know how to describe, a great career, financial success, a circle of amazing witches, poetry, art, gardening, tea, and great and good friends. (Perhaps part of my great commitment to choice is the realization that many would have said that, at 17, uneducated, spinning out from a dysfunctional family, poor, I shouldn't have been allowed to bear. Yet Son turned out to be a wonderful, kind, caring man with a sparkling sense of humor. He's a wonderful lawyer who does amazing pro bono work and complex litigation. He got an Ivy League education and married a wonderful woman and lawyer. My reproductive choice was better left to me; how can I say less for any other woman?) Spending time with his son is the absolute high point of every week for me and I've been looking forward all week to taking him to the nature center and library tomorrow. I was at a sister-witch's house on Sunday and playing with her bright three-year-old. When I said that I had to leave to go to work he said, "But I will miss you!" and snuggled up next to me. All week, I've remembered that moment fondly when I was pulling all-nighters at work or slogging through the ice and snow. It's possible, really it is, to, at the same time: love kids, want there to be fewer of them, and support other women in their reproductive choices, even if I wouldn't have made the same choice.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."