Recently, I was watching Philomena, a film based on the true events and story of a Irish woman trying to find her son 50 years after he was adopted to an American family by the nuns that cared for both Philomena and her son. Near the beginning of the movie, there is a flashback of young Philomena watching her son be taken by the American couple and it’s unbelievably heart wrenching to watch her sorrow and loss as the Church sold her child.
All of that really got me thinking about parenthood, children, and family, and how hostile the world can be at times (especially to single parents). There’s the pressure to have children but almost no support once you do, especially for single parents. And there are so many other issues about the way we treat and support single parents, like why we martyr single dads but demonize single moms or how difficult shaking the stigma is for single mothers. Rachel Simmons wrote about how you’re not a single parent if your significant other is gone for a week and there are plenty of things that aren’t helpful to single parents according to Ellen Friedrichs.
One thing that I’ve known about myself for quite some time is that I don’t want kids. I get a lot of comments that I’ll change my mind, that things will be different in the future when I tell people about my desire to not have kids. It’s frustrating and condescending to be on the receiving end on these comments because it takes away my own sense of independence and control over my life. There are so many valid reasons to not want or have kids, despite much of the shame that comes along with that decision. And all of this doesn’t even begin to talk about the things we need to stop saying to single women.
I am definitely and fundamentally pro choice – I fully believe that people should have the choice about when or if they want to be parents. I think that comprehensive sex ed and accessible health care can be revolutionary and necessary but that access to services like abortion is also needed. I’m not trying to say every single pregnant person should be getting abortions but that there should be access to a wide range of resources to help people make the best decision for their own life.
I’m here for people who do get abortions, for people who keep the child, for people who put the child up for adoption. I’m here to see the end of a stigma around abortion or being a single parent and I’m here for supporting families and individuals in all facets of life. I’m here for helping single mothers and many other parents and families out of poverty and I’m here for a welcoming environment for mothers, one free from the hostile ways we treat them. I’m here for chosen families when everyone else has left; I’m here for the survivors and the ones still struggling.