Dear Fellow Feminists,
It occurred to me that we are often very good at criticising what others are doing wrong but do not often take the time to consider what we can do better. While doing some research for my previous post, I browsed a lot of pro-choice websites and websites that are designed to inform women about abortion. I think that generally we are very good at giving detailed information about abortion: describing what it entails; reflecting on the effects on women both physically and psychologically; acknowledging both the pros and the cons of having an abortion. Yet, I noticed that there is very little discussion of what having a child entails. Most websites that describe women’s choices usually list them as abortion, adoption and keeping your child, but, whereas when you click on abortion you are given a plethora of information, when you click on ‘keep your own child’ you are usually directed to the family planning association. The FPA can give advice on what to expect from pregnancy and information on pre- and post-natal care, but there is an implicit expectation that you have made up your mind to keep your child at this stage. Where is our advice on the pros and cons of keeping your child? Where do we discuss that keeping your child can bring you great happiness, but also entails great responsibility and perhaps loss in other areas of your life? Where do we describe the psychological and physical effects? Where do we say if keeping your child is what you want, then we can give you advice and coping strategies? Are we doing our fullest to help women make a fully informed choice? I think we often assume that women know what child-rearing entails, but, in a world where people live in smaller families where children are often clustered around the same age, is there the same opportunity to experience living and being involved in looking after children as may have been the case in the past? Being pro-choice means helping women make informed decisions and supporting them in that choice. Are we doing our best?
Just some thoughts.