We live in a culture that talks a lot about women, but only wants to hear some of their stories, Jennifer Fulwiler writes:
A fundamental belief in secular society is that the female reproductive system is something to be feared and controlled. Thus, only women whose stories validate that “truth” have their stories heard. Look at any list of recommended books and movies that fall under the category of Women’s Issues, or spend some time perusing feminist blogs and magazines. You’ll encounter plenty of stories of women having unwanted pregnancies that cause them to suffer terribly. You’ll even run across tales that recount the suffering of women who experience infertility, with the female reproductive system ever the shadowy antagonist that needs to be forced into submission. But only rarely will you hear the story of women who saw their fertility as a blessing, and deeply desired to receive the gift of children, but were denied the opportunity because of their spouse’s use of contraception. You would think that Women’s Studies groups would be all over this issue, since it’s a deep source of anguish for so many women. Yet these stories only rarely get highlighted, because they don’t fit the cultural narrative in which contraception is the hero and a woman’s fertility is the bad guy.
We all have a desire to have our stories heard. Especially when we’ve been through something difficult, there is some small measure of comfort in knowing that the world is aware that the kind of suffering we’ve experienced exists, and is empathetic to our plight. And so the sadness that Jane and so many other women in her situation experience is compounded: Not only do they struggle with the pain of being denied the opportunity to mother more souls, but they live in a society that doesn’t want to hear their stories.
This of course brings us back to politics, doesn’t it? As this secularization is institutionalized with the Department of Health and Human Services abortion-inducing drug, sterilization, contraception mandate, redefining religious liberty in the process; as federal policy insists that fertility is a disease; we need a healthier approach.