We live in interesting times.
We advocate choice, but if we choose a certain way, we upset people, cause confusion, and inspire the most ridiculous and often mean spirited attitudes. But hey, it is our own fault, we chose and deserve what we get! We won right?
I have two wonderful rascally boyz. One big one doing desert training as part of the Canadian Forces in California. His choice. I am a peace activist. He explained it succinctly, “mom, sometimes people have to put their bodies on the line for what they believe in, I believe in justice, and at the moment, this is the only way I know how to bring it about”. He followed this up with “you know mom, the Dalai Lama has body guards!” Right then. I love him and respect him no less for his choice.
My second, a handsome rascal, born at a very difficult time in my life. But I chose him. To this day, my journey of motherhood has been fraught with isolation, lack of financial resources, being busy, no boyfriends, tons of judgement, limited choices as to where I want to live and do with my time, few friends around during the most difficult times, and so many nights alone, so alone. But I chose him. Not the grief that came as a result of it. Some say it was all my own fault. I could/should not have chosen him. You obviously do not have the means. You deserve what you got. My favourite was a Reform party member telling me I should have aborted! The irony. Why should the system support you? Sitting on the bus with groceries, 2 kids, no wedding band, telling stories, people looking, often reluctant to give up the seat at the front, cuz, well, I do not deserve it. The multitudes of little punishments to remind you of your choice. I am the scourge! Harris, remember him? At every turn, there was the Common Sense Revolution, pushing me more and more at the margins, to the edge my back slammed against the wall. Fortunately, I was too busy with the rascals & school to think about it all the time. But, when the kids were asleep, and I too tired to work, and unable to sleep, there was incredible despair. So I pay because I chose? That is the price of choice. Ah Freedom! The individual chooses and the society punishes.
Is that what we fought for? Individual rights but no collective responsibility? No wonder so many women do not choose children. We support the gal who leaves the abortion clinic, as we should, but it is an easy kind of support. You take her home, make her tea, console her and after a week or so, she is back at the gym and we all move on. But if she chooses a child, then, well, people are busy, they will babysit once or twice, no one visits, the cab driver taking you home from the grocery store does not bother to help you pack your stuff, cuz, well, you are just another single mother, there are no more party invitations, no more dates, you are not welcome in public spaces with the kids, in my case I could not afford to go out anyway. So I studied and worked.
Oh! yeah! we were talking about freedom and choice.
Today I read this article, about a mother with a down syndrome child who was asked by other mothers, why she didn’t get prenatal testing. In other words, why did you not find out and then abort him, and now, why on earth are you imposing his imperfection upon us, why does he have to be in my kids kindergarten class and more so why are expecting us to care, be inclusive and understanding. Can you imagine!
The cost of freedom and choice. We think we are in a free country, yet we remain trapped in conformity. We scorn the Hijab but have no issues with 12 year olds wearing spiked heals and mini skirts and g-strings! Cuz, well, it is her choice. Pole dancing to liberation. Asthma rates are incredibly high in Ottawa, one of my neighbours died a couple of years ago on a poor air quality day, yet we are free to idle our cars, drive gas guzzles and divest in transit, cuz we are free. And so on!
Where did compassion, empathy, and love go. Is this social eugenics in action? We cannot institutionalise it, instead, we shun, push people to choose or to pay for the choices they make. Purifying the gene pool as we go along.
Sure we choose, hey we won the right to, and I am glad we did. But often, the alternate choice, the choice to have a child is economic, cultural and social suicide. Dammed if you do and scorned if you don’t. So we choose, but it is not really a free choice.
A parent asked why I didn’t get prenatal testing. My son is the same as other kids. He just happens to have Down syndrome