Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Beautiful Burden of Womanhood

I feel like the abortion conversation has surfaced again, so I've just been thinking...

I think mothers are the strongest creatures on earth (Of course, I say this six months after becoming one myself). While making a baby takes two people, the responsibility of protecting and nourishing that baby falls on the woman. We do a job that no man, literally, could ever do. While women have so many options that those that came before us did not have, nothing comes easy for a woman. It is still a man’s world and breaking through the glass ceiling is still an unlikely task. The fact that our bodies are able to reproduce is one of the obstacles of making it in a man’s world.

This is the beautiful burden of womanhood.

Some face this fact by choice, others by surprise, while others by force. There is a certain power and freedom that men have from never having to face this. As women we have worked so hard for equality and rightly so; equal wages, opportunity, etc. However, the greatest thing that separates us from men is our ability to reproduce. This is also the most beautiful, amazing thing about being a woman.

We give life.

I have trouble understanding the pro-choice perspective because it just seems so ugly. The artistic beauty of a child being knit together inside a woman’s body is so incredible and destroying this seems like the ultimate lack of creativity. I can understand choosing not to raise a child, but I don’t understand choosing not to protect and provide a place for it to grow for nine months. I heard Emma’s heart beat for the first time at SIX weeks. At six months old, she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

Yes, we have rights. We've worked very, very hard for our rights. But, as women, isn't it the ultimate show of strength to set these rights aside? Doesn't humanity always shine the brightest when we choose to sacrifice? I think most people would agree that it’s best to choose love over hate, optimism over cynicism, giving over taking, creativity over status quo. At times we are asked to set our rights aside for the sake of another, to sacrifice our bodies (and I have the stretch marks to prove it!) which a man would never have to do, but it is the ultimate display of strength and dignity. As women, why would we ever choose less?


Susan said...

So...can you not understand the "pro-choice" perspective, or can you not understand making the choice to terminate a pregnancy? Because you're saying it's the "ultimate display of strength and dignity," to choose to continue a pregnancy to term--so do you agree that women should be able to *make* that choice for themselves?

Kstro said...

I couldn't agree more. I guess the difference between being pro-choice and pro-life is that pro-life people believe that the baby has inherent human rights and the mother's "rights" do not superceed those. Women have a lot of choices...they can choose whether or not to have sex, choose what BC to use, etc...they have a world full of choices available to them. Ending a human life should NEVER be one of those choices.
I've always been pro-life, but now, as a mother...having experienced the miracle of creating another human being 3 times, I am deaf to the pro-choice argument. That is not a choice anyone should ever have the "right" to make.

Kelly said...

Susan- Here's what I my perfect world, no, a woman does not HAVE the choice to terminate the pregnancy (Of course in my perfect world this isn't even an issue but anyway). As Katie said, I also believe that the unborn have inherent human rights. I think if I were to choose whose rights would supercede the other, I would choose the unborn.
However, I do not live in a perfect world, and I'm not sure if taking away a woman's choice at this stage of the game would actually significantly reduce the amount of abortions or just make people try more dangerous alternatives. I do think that women should be required to view an ultrasound before having an abortion and then have a 24 hr. waiting period to decide. I also don't think that teenagers should have the right to an abortion without parental consent.
So, I guess to answer your question, no, I don't "agree" that a woman should have the choice to choose BUT, a woman DOES have the right to choose, so I think the most important thing is to work to reduce the number of abortions.

Ryan Issakainen said...

Good blog entry Kel...very well said.

The Svoboda Family said...

Kelly, Kelly, Kelly...I know you haven't had this blog for too long, but I have to tell you that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your entries thus far. You are a great writer...and this post is probably my favorite...reminds me so much of WHO ultimately is in control of opening and closing our womb...isn't it neat how we have been given the gift of womanhood...I just think it is the most amazing thing...that God has allowed US to be a part of bringing a new life into this world...something certainly to be thankful for!!!

Susan said...

Huh. Well, I'm not unfamiliar with your viewpoint--I grew up with and around it--but I just don't agree. And of course you know that I speak as a mother, who has experienced the pleasure and the wonder of feeling a little person growing inside of me. But my little people were invited and welcomed. They weren't the results of rape, or failed birth control. And I was healthy and strong and these pregnancies did not jeopardize my health or threaten my life. I imagine it would be quite a different feeling, all those little jabs and kicks, if I had become pregnant as the result of violence. If continuing another pregnancy threatened to take me away from the two children I already have.
Terminating a pregnancy is *nearly* out of the question for me, and so it's really not a subject I often give much thought to. But if, God forbid, I should ever find myself faced with that choice, I certainly hope the choice will be mine to make.

EmilyJaneAllen said...

Thanks Kelly, that was really beautiful. I've been trying to put some of these thoughts into words lately, and you've done a great job!

Libby said...

Well said: "So, I guess to answer your question, no, I don't "agree" that a woman should have the choice to choose BUT, a woman DOES have the right to choose, so I think the most important thing is to work to reduce the number of abortions." Ironic to me that motherhood puts a woman in a place that makes her the most selfless she's ever been, without an option. And choosing to terminate a pregnancy is, in my opinion, basically choosing oneself over one's child. Much harder to do once the baby is born (almost impossible).

Anna said...

This is such a difficult issue, that I wonder if I will ever come to some kind of peace with a "position" on it in this lifetime. I am uncomfortable both with the criminalization of a difficult choice, especially in cases of violence when a woman has no choice to begin with, and also with a woman's rights superceding those of her baby. In my perfect world women who can't/won't raise their own babies are supported and given high quality services to allow them to carry a pregnancy to term for an adoptive family. But this is not our reality.

I think what I have the least patience for is that responsible choices regarding sexuality (and not just abstinence!) made by 100% of people 100% percent of the time could reduce the demand for abortions to the 2-5% of the time when high quality birth control fails. We are failing on many levels (both our society and the individuals in it) when so many pregnancies are unplanned to begin with, and when young people lack education about sexuality and access to reliable contraceptives and disease prevention methods.

Have you read Jim Wallis's blog on voting spritual conscience? I'm not a single-issue voter, and this is a great example of why.