Women have the power to give life. Don’t let misogyny steal it.

Women have the power to give life. Don’t let misogyny steal it. April 2, 2022

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons by Aneesha Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Children are a gift that keeps on giving. 

I remember when I was young and the world was green that young women my age talked a lot about how having a baby was a 20-year sentence. This was a response to the way that childbearing had been used as an excuse to discriminate against women in education, career and every other life opportunity. 

The anger about the discrimination was totally justified. But the conclusion about children themselves was just hyperbole and nonsense. Childbearing has been used as a club to limit women, persecute them and keep them shoved into a tight second-class-citizen box since the Fall. Religious leaders have deified this cruelty with all the power of their positions. 

That is better now, but it is far from gone, and there is a constant struggle by right-wing clergy and their political pals to bring those bad old days back again. However, no amount of discrimination and unjust treatment of women can lessen the pure delight and joy, the overpowering love, that women feel when they look into the face of their newborn child. 

There is nothing else in life that equals the mother and child connection. Nothing. Here’s a small for-instance.

My youngest son is a grown man with a family. He recently took a job that requires him to work nights. A couple of weeks ago, I woke up with a feeling of fear about him that was so strong I couldn’t go back to sleep. 

I got up, got out my Rosary and prayed. For hours. Then, along about dawn, the fear went away and I went back to bed and slept. 

A few days later, my son told the family about a perilous couple of hours on his job when his life was in danger. He commented that when it was over and he was fine, he said “Thank you, Jesus.” 

I asked him when this happened, and guess what? It was the same time I woke up fearful for him and began praying the Rosary. The sense of relief I felt was the same time he got through the danger. 

I’m not psychic. I’m a Mom. And Moms know things like that. 

I spent a lot of time in nursing homes when my mother had to be there because of dementia. I learned a lot of things from that experience. One of them is that people call for their mothers when they are in fear and pain, and when they are dying. 

The mother and child connection is for life, and I’m pretty sure, it’s goes past this life and into the next one. Nothing, not even the extreme cruelty of forcing women to give their children up for adoption because the baby was conceived outside of marriage, can sever that connection in a woman. 

Our society has used this connection and the fear of being forced to give a baby up for adoption to terrify young women into a fear of sex. I lived through these times and I saw what the experience did to young girls who were forced to give their babies away. It was a wound that never healed. 

Child bearing has been used to deny women gainful employment, fair wages and job opportunities. 

Child bearing has been used to keep women out of professional educational tracks and even to deny them an education at all. 

Child bearing was once used as an excuse to deny women the right to vote. 

Despite all that, women still want children. Because holding your own baby in your arms and looking down into the bleary, trusting eyes of your own newborn is as close to heaven as you will come in this life. 

Children are their own gift. They take a lot of time and effort, work and sacrifice to guide them into stable, productive adulthood. But every day brings its own miracle, its own moment of wonder, and its own episode of laugh-out-loud comedy. 

Grown children are their own reward as well. Suddenly, without you quite knowing how it happened, those precious squishy babies turn into intelligent adults who call you at random times and talk for hours about everything from politics to their dreams for the future. 

They give good game in the conversations you have with them. They are even able to teach you a thing or three. The exchange is adult to adult with a love so strong that it takes reason and time and sets them aside.

Grown children bring another blessing. They give you grandchildren. If there is something more poignant than watching your baby hold his baby in his arms and look down at her with love and wonder, I have not felt it. Grandchildren are like Christmas when you were two every single day and their parents are like friends you never thought you’d ever have.

Children are the gift that keeps on giving, throughout your life. They are the reason for everything you do. 

But there is a small catch. You have to do the work. If you want your children to become stable, productive adults who can commit to a spouse and raise their own children to become stable, productive adults, you have to pay your dues.

You can’t toss your kids around, drag them through your many marriages, multiple affairs and the continuous chaos of your self-indulgent narcissism and expect them to grow up good. If you do that, you’ll end up spending a portion of their adolescence in courtrooms and the psych ward of the local hospital. You’ll be going before parole boards and raking together money for attorneys and cashing in whatever savings you have to pay for rehabs. 

You’ll be reaping what you have sewn, with interest. 

And, given that you messed up your kids with your endless narcissism and lazy refusal to put in the work of child rearing, you’ll also be whining and poor-poor-pitiful-me-ing about how they weren’t “raised that way.” 

Back when I was young and the world was green, we talked about how having a baby was taking on a 20-year sentence. I can tell you that we were wrong. Having a baby is a gift, the biggest “yes” to life you can possibly say. And it is a gift that pays dividends right up until you leave this life. 

The fact that child-bearing has been used to harm women, to limit their lives, to punish and diminish them as people is one of the core evils on which many other evils, including abortion, are built. The other fact that this evil of misogynistic abuse of mother’s of humanity has been sanctioned and enforced by our religious leaders is not proof of its righteousness. It is rather proof of how fallen these religious leaders are as human beings. 

Instead of amputating themselves from the opportunity to partake of the beauty of motherhood, women need to unite against this evil and refuse to settle for less than its total annihilation. We need to stand up to our religious leaders and tell them to stop pretending to a righteousness they obviously do not have and speak for the love of Christ instead of their own atavistic sinfulness. 

We should never allow anyone, least of all people who want to use our great power as women to give life, to bully or bamboozle us into foregoing the wonder and the work, the life affirming gift, of motherhood. Because children are the one gift that never stops giving. 

Raising your precious babies to be stable, productive adults who can commit to and love their own spouses and children is a gift from you to the ages. It places you among the generations. 

And the love you give, never stops coming back to you. 

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