Hi everyone. We'd like you to meet deliverance, who's graciously agreed to be our guest here for several upcoming Thursdays. As deliverance says, The name means relief from something, and sometimes liberation. Please extend your warmest welcome to our friend and colleague!
Hello, dear readers and writers. This is my first post in this special sliver of cyberspace, as I will be guest-blogging for the illuminating Daughter of Wands in August and September.
I started working in the honorable field of abortion care exactly one year and a day ago. Never had I expected to become so bonded with abortion. For quite a long time abortion was, for me, a distant political issue. I was committed as an activist to do my part in protecting abortion rights, but I never had any emotional investment.
When I reflect on how I thought about abortion before my days as an insider, I understand. Mainstream messages don't convey the heart that is in abortion care. That would be radical. Instead, we flaunt, we debate, we yell, and we condemn. There is no story-telling.
It is not new for women to have their stories and lives ignored. In my work, I have been able to honor the lives of many women. I have also come to this realization: Abortion care is soulful; it deepens the heart and opens the mind.
On a daily basis I get to discuss the "big questions" -- questions about life, death, rebirth, loss, and love. Recently, I have been thinking quite a bit about the topic of parenthood and how people make the decision to become parents.
I have been seeing advertisements by the Ad Council to encourage more foster parenting. Each commercial ends with the statement, "Kids in foster care don't need perfection, they need you." So basically, as long as your kid doesn't carry your genes, there's no need to do anything above mediocre. (You can find these ads on the right side of this webpage under "Campaign Materials"):
Choosing to raise a child is a huge responsibility, but these ads make parenting seem like it's something anyone can do, and it's not all that important to strive for anything above the ordinary. Perhaps we should consider the impact we have on our communities when we don't work to raise our children in the best way we can. Also, what kind of impact does it have on a child who hears, essentially, that they don't need anything special from a parent?
In my work at the clinic, I sometimes talk with women who feel obligated to carry out a pregnancy because they aren't in desperate situations. They often feel a bit ambivalent, and figure that if they try hard enough, they could accomplish being a parent.
Shouldn't parenthood be a conscious decision, one which involves a certain amount of desire and motivation? Parenting involves raising a person -- teaching someone about the world, helping them acquire life skills, and instilling values and morals. It shouldn't have the same weight as choosing which dinner entree you want from a menu.
I am not saying I support the ever-popular argument that "It is good to have abortion because there are certain people who just shouldn't have children." But I am noticing, partly through my work at the clinic, that sometimes parenting isn't seen as a profound act.
Recently I came across a poem which made me think of one way to look at parenting. It is from a book called Earth Prayers.
"I'm going to plant a heart in the earth
water it with love from a vein
I'm going to praise it with the push of muscle
and care for it in the sound of all dimensions.
I'm going to leave a heart in the earth
so it may grow and flower
a heart that throbs with longing
that adores everything green
that will be strength and nourishment for birds
that will be the sap of plants and mountains."
My work with abortion doesn't always have to do with the absence of children. It does, however, always have to do with love.