One of the best protest signs I’ve seen lately was at Saturday’s ‘National Protest Against the War on Women.’ It reads: “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit.” I”ll amend that in my response to the question, Katie Roiphe raises, of whether or not there’s a taboo around being childfree. Yes, there is, and I can’t believe we’re still having this conversation.
While reading Elana Sztokman’s recent Sisterhood post about her friend who had decided to have an abortion, I found myself responding very strongly. While I’ll admit that I am stubbornly pro-choice, it is not the actual decision to have the abortion that filled me with admiration for Elana’s friend — it was her decision to be a childless, married, woman living in Israeli society.
A friend of mine had an abortion this week. She wasn’t raped, she is not underage, and she is not experiencing a mental breakdown. She simply does not want to have children. She is not mean or cold or super-ambitious. She’s lovely and smart and funny. She just never felt the “urge.” She is 38-years old, has been married for two years, and says simply, “If the rest of my life is spent with just my husband and me, I would be really happy.”
Women cannot win.
The personal is political, said feminist writer Carol Hanisch back in 1969, and while reading Renee Ghert-Zand’s recent blog post on childbearing, I couldn’t help but think that procreation is political, as well.
Somehow, I am not surprised that just as I find myself at what has for me been the hardest stage of parenting (working mom with three boys, ages 9, 14 and 16), studies are showing that fewer women are choosing to be mothers.