A Mother’s Cry for Her Son’s Reproductive Rights
“Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father!” -Lydia M. Child, Philothea: A Romance, 1836
My son and nephews mean the world to me; like many other mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and matriarchs of the household. I have so much aspiration for them and their children that, from time to time, the thoughts of their worlds of tomorrow catch my breath, heart, and spirit. Although my nephews did not come from me, they are of me, via the shared DNA of my brother. He, my brother, bestowed upon me an honor of hearing the word, “auntie”. “Auntie” is an extension of “mommy”, for me, personally. As I long for the days and nights to the crowned “grandma,” I, too, equally long for the days to hear “great auntie.” Yes, I want to hear the words “great” prior to the word “auntie” from my nephew’s children. It is because I know I’ll strive to live up to the word “great” as I’ll strive to live up to being “grand” (grandma).
All this is at future time, for now my boys range between the ages of 7 and 11. At present, I want them to enjoy as much of their youth as possible. Experience life: both ups and downs. I want for my boys the same as I wish for my girl (I have one daughter and no niece, so far): to enjoy being maiden and young gentlemen, to achieve academic success in their current academics of primary school, moving on to secondary school, and further taking those achievements beyond secondary to be in a trade or college. Post-education, I want them to live a post-intermediary life, a life of balancing work and personal acquaintance of who they are, what they want in life, and what they want in a family. That is if they want to have a family consisting of spouse and child(ren). If they do want the family, they must know that, as parents, “we die in order for our children to live.” That is what I constantly tell my children—that my former life “died” (symbolically, beautifully) for me to begin a new life as a parent. As individuals with terminal illness or at the end stage of life who find out they have several months, or years, to live, they make a bucket list of things they want to do, places they want to go, and people they want to make amends with. So is that with becoming a parent or entering a long-term relationship with the potential of marriage or long-term, domestic partnership (again, whatever appeases them). One does, or shall I say, should do, things that seem appropriate with singlehood. Ever thought of taking a single cruise? Do it, now! Ever thought of dropping everything at the last minute and taking your beloved off somewhere romantic? …do it now. For, trust me, transitions of bringing another life into your world is an act of selflessness not selfishness. Decisions that one will make affects all—even the defenseless all (as in children) who need parents aware of what transitions call for.
My boys are coming of age for that “talk.” I’ve found myself frustrated in thoughts and stumbling over the “spiritual, moral” words to relay those thoughts so they can place them into actions. With my daughter, I speak of many forms of birth control, when she is ready, that is readily available at her request when it is that time to allow her beloved to sow the seed (or mend wild oats). On the other hand, my boys don’t have such options in our society. The only options they have are abstinence, condoms, (which I stress for both my girl and boys for number one disease prevention control) and vasectomy (which is all too permanent). The world I choose to live in and bring forth my children in is a world where family planning is a shared responsibility of both genders. Women/girls are responsible of what goes in their womb as men/boys are equally responsible of where and with whom their seeds are implanted into.
The world I create for my boys is the world where the words “reproductive” and “fertility” are gender-neutral. As I will try to eloquently place it, (since this is a family site) I, as woman, am just as responsible of which male seed is implanted into my womb: as the male is just as responsible of where his seeds are implanted and who would host that seed. Submerging under “deeper layer” WHEN will the seed be implanted. I speak to my children, both males and female, that they, each, have individual responsibility when it comes to reproduction rights: not one greater than the other. As parent, they will have greater responsibility to their offspring: not one greater than the other, as I have a greater responsibility to them. That when considering to “lay garment” with an individual, they must deeply take into consideration if they would humbly be honored to be parent and/or co-parent with that individual. Yes, co-parent. As in, if the intimate relationship goes astray or not withstanding for “the mortal forever” would they know with certainty that their offspring, the fruition of BOTH their labor, will be taken care of with deep devotion, unconditional love, and joyous servitude? As they’re my precious heirloom (containing not only my DNA, but the DNA of our ancestors), the gifts of the Gods and ancestors, so are their children and their children’s children.
When we think of the word “provider,” many think of males. As a mother and aunt to male children: the word provider is gender neutral. Nor does it designate to male = financial bearer. Males are (and/or have the potential) nurturers: we know this for we’ve seen males’ nurture their spouses with deep devotion and affection. Prior to their spouse, we see their capacity of little boys being affectionate to their kinship (advent of indoctrination of societal and/or parental gender roles). Why can’t it be the same devotion and affection to their offspring? If males have the ability to express to their beloved love, attention, time, patience, understanding, compassion, and kindness—sure enough they have that same element that is applied to their offspring.
As mother/aunt of male children, I guard my words when it comes to the discretion of the male gender. Words hold power, especially to the young and impressionable. A woman/mother who states:
– “All men cheat” would have a male child believe that is required of him. As well, a female child to believe that is expected of him. We all know that isn’t true.
– “All men are chauvinistic” would have a male child believe that is required of him. As well as a female child to believe that is expected of him. We all know that isn’t true.
– “Men care for one thing and one thing only” would have a male child who believes that is required of him. As well as female child to believe that is expected of him. Again, we all know that isn’t true.
Likewise, in reverse, as mothers and fathers who state:
– “All women are jealous, catty, insecure, materialistic, and the list goes on” would have a female child that believe that is required of her. As well as male child to believe that is expected of her. We all know that isn’t true.
Words like these can lead to self-fulfilled omens and/or prophecy. Not all children think alike. There will be children who don’t believe these gender roles, as I challenged them, to prove them inaccurate. Yet, there will be children who believe that what is told is truly so… unconsciously or subconsciously, never challenging them.
The anti-choice debate does seem to be loudly echoed by males. We all know there are women anti-choicers, nevertheless, I find it intriguing that individuals within the anti-choice debate are not as equally pushing for male reproductive contraception. If the proverbial “they” resent individual women for making individual choices regarding their own wombs, then combat that with vigorous education and affordable contraception options for males, and boys, to take control of their reproductive rights. Create more options for males to take control of their offspring birthright prior to implantation. I’ve heard individual men echo the sentiments that they don’t trust an individual woman on taking birth control on-time. Well, right now the choices are condoms and abstinence. Those are their choices. Give them more choices: the pill or injectable fertility drug; allow them the sense of control and peace. I profoundly believe that the most important step of parenthood is having the divine conscience to make the decision when desiring to bring life into life: that is equally applied when to bring life when one life is “in order.” Therefore, it is my personal belief that those who choose not to be parents and take proper actions from preventing to bring life into “life” are sublimely individuals who take parenthood as equally serious as those who dream of parenthood. One who acts on such accord of using contraception to prevent “life” due to their own personal convictions is indeed, the bearers of life.
In plea of the Gods; Min, Bacchus, Dionysus, Osiris, and all divine male fertility Gods…give our boys options as much as we give our girls.
“You will find that if you really try to be a father, your child will meet you halfway.” -Robert Brault