Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Not A Winnebago

This was originally posted at the New Wave Feminists blog, which you should definitely visit. You should also check out our website and join already.


The term “crisis pregnancy” gets overused. I understand some pregnancies qualify as crises. I am thinking here of those that are the result of abuse or that occur while the mother is in prison or twelve years old or, God forbid, both.

Instead, every time someone gets pregnant out of wedlock, or below the age of 24 or so, or without specifically trying to, the word “crisis” rears it head. Really? I’m not making light of the gravity and responsibility of motherhood, but honestly, people, it’s just a baby. It’s not like a Winnebago or anything. I mean, you can take it into restaurants. It fits in the car. You can feed it with your boobs (honest to God; I’ve seen it) and it’s incredibly portable and relatively lightweight.

What’s so terribly scary about a baby? It’s a baby, the symbol for innocence, sweetness, and joy. It’s not like you’re getting your house re-carpeted. You’re going to have a baby. The natural reaction is not annoyance or fear or abject panic, but joy and excitement. In fact I would go so far as to say even in (the rare) pregnancies that warrant fear and panic, joy and excitement still seem pretty natural.

What has happened to us as a culture that we’re afraid of babies? Are we that worthless, lazy, and selfish, that so many of our young women find themselves too busy, important, or cowardly to handle a tiny infant? Like Mother Teresa said, “It is a poverty that a child must die so you may live as you wish.” Think of the word she chose there: poverty. It means, of course the state of being poor, but more specifically a lack of something. So what is it we lack? Courage? Common sense? Morality? All of the above?

Of course radical feminism indoctrinated a generation of women (and now their daughters and young granddaughters) to see children as a ball-and-chain, a barrier between ourselves and happiness, sometimes the one thing standing in the way of our remarkable career as a Freelance Graphic Designer or some other job that is just far more important in the grand scheme of things than nurturing and raising a human being.

So now that we’ve pretty successfully trained the totally natural God-given desire to produce offspring out of young women, especially the smart ones with smart parents who are encouraged to go to college, we’re also working on getting rid of a young woman’s natural maternal instinct. Because babies aren’t feminist! Babies are oppressive! They have all these NEEDS that aren’t MINE!

Couple that with the postmodern cult of Self (everyone’s favorite person AND women’s magazine!) and you have a typical young woman who accidentally gets pregnant (that’s a whole other topic) and finds herself (a) upset because babies are not cool; if they were, Lady Gaga would have four in assorted colors; and (b) unwilling to sublimate her desire to do whatever she wants for the basic needs of another human person who happens to be her own offspring.


Well, guess what? The world around us is teeming with solutions for every last “crisis” pregnancy, real or imagined. I promise you, if every sixteen-year-old girl in the tri-county area got pregnant tomorrow, there are enough waiting couples in this country to adopt the hell out of every last baby. There is a staggering shortage of infants and a waiting list that makes childless couples sick.

Being afraid of childbirth because it will hurt your vagina does not a crisis pregnancy make. Being scared because your dad will yell at you or take away your Blackberry doesn’t do it, either. Being annoyed at missing a semester of college, or disappointed because your boyfriend is mean, or anxious because you don’t make much money, these things are not crises or tragedies. A brain tumor is a crisis. A toddler with HIV is a tragedy. Your pregnancy is probably, sorry ladies, not all that damn big a deal.

Isn’t it time we expected a little more of our young people than to know how many tracks Weezy dropped this week? Shouldn’t we be teaching our daughters to respect themselves enough to keep their legs closed or accept responsibility if they don’t? Shouldn’t our young women be taught to view family life as something timeless, beautiful and fulfilling, and children as gifts from God?

And by the way, those gimmicky Home Ec programs in which high school students are given egg, peanut, or flour sack babies to “scare” them out of procreating don’t help at all. It’s supposed to be a big dose of reality that teaches you how hard it is to care for a child, but I call B.S. I left my egg baby in a mini-fridge for three weeks. I’m pretty sure you can’t do that with a real baby. But I’m also pretty sure human babies are a little bit more rewarding to be around, take care of and love than babies made of dry goods.

This is the kind of indoctrination I was talking about. They’re teaching our kids that babies are about as worthy and interesting as a sack of flour with a pierced nose – (I was rebellious) – in other words, a lump of unrewarding responsibility whose only redeeming characteristic is you get to name it something cool. (“Reznor.” Again, rebellious.)

As a matter of fact, let’s get these stupid programs taken out of schools. But meanwhile, let’s stop reinforcing the usually unfounded fears of the accidentally knocked-up, which are supported mostly by postmodern angst with no basis in reality. Let's encourage young women to make positive, moral choices, to respect themselves body and soul, not out of irrational fear, but out of virtue and intelligence.