A Woman’s Fertility is Her Own Business, not Everyone Else’s by L. Bates
I may have blogged on this before. I apologize if this is a repeat. I’m pretty sure I already read this, or something very similar to it, about a month ago, and I may have blogged on this before.
(Link): A Woman’s Fertility is Her Own Business, not Everyone Else’s by L. Bates
Excerpts (I have a few comments to make below this long series of excerpts):
We obsess over fertility as if women are slot machines who simply need to be primed and pumped at the optimal socially acceptable moment for a baby to shoot out like a prize
When Michigan-based writer Emily Bingham took to her Facebook page to vent her frustration at intrusive baby questions, she probably expected a few of her friends to share or “like” her post. Accompanied by an ultrasound photo she had found online, (Link): her post implored:
Before you ask the young married couple that has been together for seemingly forever when they are finally gonna start a family … before you ask the parents of an only-child toddler when a Little Brother or Little Sister will be in the works … before you ask a single thirtysomething if/when s/he plans on having children because, you know, clock’s ticking … just stop.
You don’t know who is struggling with infertility or grieving a miscarriage or dealing with health issues.
You don’t know who is having relationship problems or is under a lot of stress or the timing just isn’t right. You don’t know who is on the fence about having kids or having more kids.
You don’t know who has decided it’s not for them right now, or not for them ever. You don’t know how your seemingly innocent question might cause someone grief, pain, stress or frustration.
But instead of reaching a few dozen of her friends, Bingham’s post went viral, shared by more than 77,000 people and liked by more than 42,000. It’s not surprising that Bingham’s message struck such a chord.
Being a woman of childbearing age can feel like being stuck in a glass pressure-cooker; the heat is rising, the pressure is on, the timer is ticking (or so we’re constantly told) and it seems as if the whole world is watching.
… (Link): Women are bombarded by bossy and contradictory diktats about what we definitely must or absolutely must not do with our reproductive organs, while companies such as Facebook offer egg-freezing as an employee perk.
..Meanwhile, the Daily Mail confidently informs us that the best age to have a baby is (Link): 26, 34, and (Link): 29 (which perhaps explains another headline: (Link): “Half of women are confused by pregnancy advice”). We obsess over fertility as if women are slot machines who simply need to be primed and pumped at the optimal socially acceptable moment for a baby to shoot out like a prize.
Ironically though, perhaps the reason Bingham’s message resonated with so many women was not only the constant stream of diktats about pregnancy, but also what isn’t spoken about.
Despite the endless public discussion of baby-making, relatively little is said about fertility problems, even common ones.
The erasure of these issues from the public consciousness, combined with the “don’t leave it too late” narrative, directs a heavy and unnecessary sense of blame towards those who struggle to conceive.
While the coverage of maternity fashion and post-partum weight loss is endless, we rarely discuss miscarriage, which can make it a very lonely experience….
…Moving away from the idea that women are mothers first, and people second, would be a positive step. This insidious narrative can make those who don’t have children feel (Link): less valued, like second-class citizens….
…Bingham is right – we should think twice before asking nosy questions about people’s baby plans, no matter how friendly or well-intentioned….
(Link): Women are bombarded by bossy and contradictory diktats about what we definitely must or absolutely must not do with our reproductive organs, while companies such as Facebook offer egg-freezing as an employee perk.
— end excerpt —
I just wanted to say this is also true of dating and marriage advice. Christians are especially bad at issuing high pressure, contradictory advice to single women who want to marry.
(Link): Hypocrisy: Conservative Christians / Catholics Pressure Women To Feel Their Only Worth is in Becoming Mothers, But If Women Try to Use Medical Technology to Get Pregnant, the Women Are Condemned by The Same Groups
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
(Link): Pro-Life, Yet Anti-Celibacy, Anti-Childless Christian Site Tweets Story about Mother Who Slit New Born Infant Son’s Throat to Save Her Sex Life (Christians equating single or childless / childfree women to women who murder their babies)