The title was meant to be a warning.
I am going to write about something about which I puzzle. I am not an expert. I do not necessarily have strong feelings, but I have a set of feelings based on my life choices. What I say and question will sometimes, then, seem to those who have made a different set of life choices as judgemental ... and they will take it personally.
It is not offered or meant in that way, but I understand if you don't keep reading. Not meaning to be cryptic. This is about birthing children.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I do not want to birth children. I cannot remember a time in my life when this seemed like a path I would entertain. I have a lot of different reasons for not wanting to do this. On one level, it is about not wanting to create a mini-me. I love children, would love to raise children. But, the experience of being a mother, for me, is not tied to the experience of carrying a child or expelling one through a birth canal. My experiences lead me to believe that love for a child doesn't need to form in that way, and that, indeed, it does not necessarily follow that love will form just from the act of making a child physically. I feel that there are so many children in the world, in our country, who have not had that experience and are now living without permanent homes or families as a result.
All that preamble to say that I often do not understand the choices women make regarding having children. For instance, having them close together because it will be easier to care for two infants rather than chasing one while the other is the infant. I get it. But if you are carefully planning for the children you want to love ... on some level should it not be about them?
I think in the world where we get to plan things such as maternity, though, of course, for some it is difficult if not impossible (more on that later), that we ought to get all the facts first.
How long does the female body need to recover before it can make the baby with the best chances for being healthy? My sister happens to work in this arena and tells me from the reports she has read it is much longer than most women who want their two wait. Something close to a child being fully one year before starting to plan for the next. Since it is nearly another ten months before one can appear, that would mean that the two children would be 22 to 24 months apart, not 14-18 months apart. Sometimes you can't plan or you don't plan ... but if you are planning, it seems like this kind of information should be considered.
In the stages of development for children, at what point do they start to achieve a kind of independence ... that is to say, when are they less reliant on their mothers? When might it be less psychologically traumatic to have a sibling that will monopolize mom and dad's attention? I don't know the answer...but I am sure someone out there has thought of it. Just a consideration ... perhaps one in a constellation of considerations when you have the luxury to consider.
As someone who wants to adopt, potentially as a single mother, I do have to consider carefully what I can handle as well as what is best for the children. For a long time I didn't even allow myself to consider being a single mom... I thought, what right do I have to make some child's life more difficult. I have reconsidered this position since I have seen that the lives most children have in foster care improve when they get permanent families regardless of the composition of that family.
But, I will admit that it still seems like a selfish choice on my part. Many of the choices I have contemplated are either selfish and/or considered.
I want school age children because if they are going to be my children, I want to be able to raise them, not drop them off at the home of someone else for the better part of the day.
I want a sibling group... after all I have seen and read, it is just less complicated than adding different children at different times into the mix. Not that it can't be done successfully. I have seen many families who just keep adding children into their loving homes without any more of the bumps and bruises you might imagine in any family. My own concerns come from my fear that alone I will have less resources for building that stable home ... perhaps these fears are completely unfounded. But, I am trying to make decisions based on what I think is best for all around, not just what is expedient for me.
This brings me to the even more controversial of my rant. If you know that you or your partner have a life threatening or other genetic disorder (physical or mental) that you might pass to a biological child, why are you willing to risk that child's life, future, health?
I cannot wrap my head around the idea that a mini me in more important than the well being of the child you so desire. I cannot.
I hear women say, well I want the experience of being pregnant. You can just imagine how well that goes over for me... so, let me get this straight. You are willing to have a child that may have a life time of suffering so that you can have the experience of being pregnant for nine months? Oh, yeah, sure, that sounds like a completely fair trade off.
I have nothing against children with special needs. I find them full of life and joy and a tremendous spirit that is truly inspiring. For the most part, I have met parents of these children who are equally inspiring. But I have also seen the pictures of countless children waiting to be adopted because their birth parents weren't up to the job.
So, given a choice, would you endanger your child just to have the experience of being pregnant?
I am talking about the people who know, the people who plan for their children like another accessory. I am not talking about people who don't have any idea of the ticking time bomb in their DNA. I am not talking about the people who don't plan and get pregnant ... though in this day and age, it is difficult to imagine the "innocence" of that statement. I am not even talking about the people who genuinely don't care which child they get because they will be equally loving and devoted. Those kinds of parents are a gift to the universe in the same way that their children are.
I am not advocating for the kind of world in the pages of The Giver where only certain people were able to birth children and others were allowed to raise them. There is a middle ground. There is the time to consider life outside one's immediate needs or desires.
But, somehow, that is not the world we live in ... we have people who WANT children so badly that they take every medical recourse until they get one or four or eight. It is easy to see the self-centeredness bordering on lunacy in those people, but how are they really different than those who knowingly have children with a high likelihood of disease or health issue or who jeopardize their children and themselves in order to have one more, right now?
Good thing I am not putting policies on maternity in place, huh?
I haven't even talked about the other half of the DNA... that's a whole other long ass blog post. I have to get some reading done...
4 AM Shower
15 hours ago