This Is Far Too Important (a letter to my children)

Darling Daughter, Darling Son, 

It pains me to say that we are living in some wicked times.  We are living in times of turmoil and confusion.  We are living in times of social wars and injustices.  We are living in times that are proving dangerous for you, and me, and the family that your father and I are striving to raise.  But I pray this will not be the truth of your future.  I pray we can reach for the light, and I pray that, together, we can choose a different path.  The truth is, we are living in a time of war against men and women.  One that is breeding mistrust of the masculine, and rejection of the feminine.  One that seems to be confused in the root of its very own argument.  So, my dear children, I am writing this to you, and for you, so you may always know why I – your mother, your protector, the one who gave you life – feel the way I do, and why I feel the need to stand up for it.  Please read on, and always remember that you two are the ultimate reasons for my every choice, belief, and passion. 

It is not often that I speak out on charged issues beyond the privacy of my own home.  This is not out of apathy, or lack of information, but simply because I value my relationships more than my need for political debate.  But right now, in our current cultural climate, and amidst the rising heat surrounding this particular topic, I cannot stay silent.  I care too much.  I care too much about our family, my children, and you, my sweet daughter, for your future as a woman in this country.  I owe it to you to speak out.  This is far too important… 

Like most mothers (and parents), I want nothing but the best and brightest future for you both.  I want to empower you to achieve your greatest potential, to find your place in this world, and to move through it with strength, resilience, grace and humility.  I want you to find your voice in the face of adversity, and recognize yourselves as individuals within a community.  I want you to learn respect, in both giving and receiving, and to be thoughtful in your words, your actions, and your practices.  I want you to know the growth that comes from taking risk, and the self respect that comes from staying cautious.  I want you to know there is a time and place for most things, but not without careful thought and true intention.  But most importantly, as the mother of a son and a daughter, I want to raise a bright young man and a bright young woman; distinctly different and distinctly equal beings.  I want you to understand your intrinsic similarities and equal differences as something only to celebrate.  My sweet boy, I want you to know, understand and respect your male nature. Baby girl, I want you to know, understand, and respect all the parts of you that are naturally and inherently female.  And I hope and pray that you can understand each other, to the best of your abilities, and carry that with you through life, and into all your other relationships.  Yet in this moment in time, I fear for the day when I or your daddy no longer carry the greatest influence.  And I hope, in the way we are raising you, we can start change the course of this particular fight.  

So now let’s talk about Abortion…

In recent weeks, as I wake up, make my coffee and prepare your breakfast, I listen, I watch, I read.  I wake up and hear the uproar of millions of women fighting for their rights as an “oppressed people,” seeking validation, freedom and “complete body autonomy.”  I hear the uproar as a number of states in our country try to make it deafeningly difficult for a woman to “choose her own fate.”  I hear, loud and clear, the anger and vitriol over the callous “lack of respect” towards women that seems to be sweeping the nation.  I hear the fear in women’s voices as they see their “freedom to abort” being stripped right out of their hands.  And each time I hear these voices rise, and the battle cries roar, the burning anger inside me grows, as well. 

In my life, I have always aligned myself with the “pro-choice” movement.  I am, after all, a modern woman.  While I knew deep down that ending a pregnancy would never be my personal choice, I never felt right telling a fellow woman what she could or couldn’t do with her body.  But as I’ve grown older, as I’ve learned more, and most notably, as I have become a mother, I have developed much more clarity and understanding of my beliefs on the matter.  

I still don’t think it’s right to tell another woman what she can or cannot do with her body.  That will never change.  But I no longer believe that’s what the Pro-Life movement is about.  What it is about is respect for the self and respect for human life.  What it is about is and acknowledgment, responsibility and accountability.  And what it is about is empowerment, and the right to knowledge.  Does the idea of banning all abortion under all circumstances feel humane, right or safe? Not entirely.  I do believe there are times of medical necessity, when pregnancy termination is, unfortunately, the best option.  I do believe that a victim of rape should have resources to help her heal and recover, even if that means taking immediate precautions to ensure she is not carrying her attacker’s baby.  Allowing abortion at any time, for any reason, until the moment of birth?  That is something I cannot support.  Why does that need to be the choice?  What does that teach our children?  How does that empower or justify or validate a woman’s place in this world?  The more I listen, the more I read, the more I learn, the more I hear a different cry.  This war is no longer about the right to choose.  It is, simply put, about the right to kill.

As your mother, it is my honor, and my life’s work, to lay the foundation of a moral code for you who are too young to yet understand, but who learn through watching, listening and following.  If you hear the truth, my hope is that you will live by it, as well.  So here are some things I know to be true.

I know the importance of healthy women and healthy mothers.  I know the power of growing and giving life. I know the importance of freedom.  I know we have the freedom of choice.  We can choose to not get pregnant; we can choose to abstain; we can choose to protect our bodies; we can choose to treat ourselves with dignity; we can choose to respect one another; we can choose to value another human’s life.  I know aborting a pregnancy at 40 weeks is murder.  I know aborting a pregnancy at 20 weeks is murder.  I know life begins with a heartbeat, for if it ends with the absence of one, how can we ignore the opposite?  I know there are always caveats and medical necessities.  I know that knowledge is power.  I know the system is broken.  I know that abortion is not the only answer. 

I believe in strength and resilience and living life with purpose.  I believe pregnancy and childbirth make a woman infinitely stronger than a man.  I believe this is empowering beyond anything else in this world.  I believe women and men are equally different, and should never be the same.  I believe in self respect and body respect.  I believe we should not underestimate our power in this world.  I believe fighting for life is one of the most female-loving, human-loving and empowering things we can do.             

So, Darling Daughter:  You will grow up to be a young woman, with hopes and dreams and passions of your own.  You will also grow up with the unique female ability to carry, grow and birth another human.  And, Darling Son:  You will grow up to be a young man, with your own hopes and dreams and desires, as well.  You also have the unique male ability to father a baby, and though this looks markedly different from the female role, it is equally important.  My sweet daughter, you are tough. And at a mere 2 years old, I can already tell you are one powerful being.  You run along side your older brother as if you are reaching to the sky to be as big (or bigger) than he is.  The competitive spirit between you two is fierce, and I don’t doubt that this feeling of equality, strength and power will follow you, and help shape you, throughout your life.  I don’t doubt it, because the current climate is perfectly suited for a strong willed, independent and hard-headed woman, just like you are proving to be.  And for that, I am eternally grateful.  There should be nothing in this world to make you feel belittled, used, manipulated, or shamed for being who you are, or doing what you do.  May you always garner the power to make everything of yourself, and use your body, mind and spirit for the betterment of this world, just as we all strive to do.  Yet let us not forget that by the nature of your womanhood, you carry the ultimate power of life.  You are built to withstand and endure one of the hardest, most dangerous, and most rewarding jobs that only half of humans have available to them: pregnancy and childbirth.  And I will not let you think, for one moment of your life, that this is anything less than incredible.  It is your ultimate right, and duty as a woman, to cherish, respect, and protect that gift. 

These may be wicked times, but they are not lost.  I will always encourage you to take a stand, and make your voice heard.  I will always hope that your stand be taken with the support of knowledge, information, and truth.  For knowledge and truth are the ultimate road to freedom.  I hope that I can set that example for you, one stand at a time.   

I love you forever and always,

Your Mama

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