Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Reproduction is Psychologically Messy

Gloria Steinem also said, "every child has the right to be born loved and wanted." This and the Dr. Tiller quote of "Trust Women." have become the cornerstones of my opinions of reproductive rights. 

I also found this article from Sociological Images about young adult attitudes about unplanned pregnancies. I find it interesting that of the young adults (ages 18-29) who say it is very or somewhat important to avoid pregnancy right now, an overall third of them would be pleased (very or a little pleased) to find out they were pregnant. Also, the men are much more likely to be pleased than the women, and that holds true in every categorical breakdown included in the graphs. The analysis in the SI article really just points out how the data contradicts some of the stereotypical assumptions our society makes based on gender and race and then asks for ideas about why.

This all goes back to my growing suspicion that we as a society feel terribly conflicted about reproduction, above and beyond the "abortion debate." Gloria Steinem also pointed out how our society very much withholds support for parenthood and creates a hostile environment for it. So on the one hand, we would love to believe the fiction that all babies are blessings, loved and wanted, and on the other hand, we hate having to face the fact that there is no logical rational reason to have a child because in our society they are a financial dead weight for at least 2 decades and have far reaching consequences on our social lives, living arrangements, health, and every other aspect of our lives. 

So, sure, all babies are good little blessings, IF they have the right timing: right parents, right financial stability, right circumstances for love and welcome, etc. Not that any of us potential parents are ever going to get those circumstances exactly right, but given the proper impetus (hormonal urge to procreate, emotional/spiritual desire for kids, terror and excitement over an unplanned pregnancy, falling in love with your biological child that is in your arms), if we have the right tools to work with, we can figure a lot of it out. 

It is just hard to admit, I think, that there is that much play in what is right and wrong in these reproductive situations. It would be easier on our psyches if there were a clear cut rubric of Yes, have baby, No, do not have baby, or even better, Yes, you may be fertile, No, you will be temporarily infertile until the timing is good. But that's not the way our evolution-programmed reproductive systems work, and I think the best way to deal with that is to Trust Women to best decide if their pregnancy will produce a child that is Loved and Wanted, as is that child's right.

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