Tag Archives: Finding a Voice

Why I March – A Woman’s Right To Choose

pro choice

I was raised in a fundamental Christian home. I learned early (and often) that a woman’s place is in the home; that God is vengeful; and that without knowing John 3:16, a person’s eternal destiny would be Satan’s hellfire and damnation. Those were mostly lessons from my father, with reinforcement from the pastor on Sundays.

When I was about six years old, my dad told me that, without his intervention, I would have been aborted. This story was originally shared with me around 1976, and retold many times, just in case I might forget. My father felt it was important to enlighten me on how he saved my life.

His side of the story went something like this… in 1969, when my mom first found out she was pregnant, she was so distraught that she wanted to have an abortion. According to my father, he saved my life by promising her that he’d take a more active role in parenting and that God promised him that I’d be a blessing in their old age.

He’d always wrap it up in a nice red bow, close it out with a prayer to our Heavenly Father, and send me on my way… probably to go play with baby dolls,  run through the sprinkler, or something like that.dolls
To recap… in 1976, as a six year old, in a very religious conservative home, I learned four epic life lessons:

  1. my mom didn’t want me
  2. abortion meant killing a baby (yes, he explained that as well)
  3. my dad saved my life
  4. it was my life’s destiny to be a blessing in their old age

That’s a lot for a six year old to take in. In fact, it’s a lot to carry with you for four decades. But, we all have our cross to bear.

1976 was then… this is now…

Fast forward to November 2016. Shortly after the election, I decided to join the Women’s March on Washington. My reasons are many, but I’ll focus on a woman’s right to choose in this particular post.

Over the years, thanks to inspirational mentors, insightful friends, and surviving 25 years of marriage and raising two kids of my own, my worldview has changed dramatically.  However, in my heart of hearts, there is still a fundamental little girl trying to make sense of morality and life while also desperately seeking peace, light, and universal love in the process.

zen girl

Recently, the little girl inside led me to searching for deeper personal meaning in a woman’s right to choose. I couldn’t remember the historical facts of abortion law so I did a quick Google search on the topic. Within a few clicks, I learned that Row v. Wade changed the laws in 1973.

1973.

As in, Nineteen Hundred and Seventy-Three??

Wait a minute. Stop the presses. You mean, my mom wanted an abortion 4 full years before it was even legal?!

This was cause for some meditation and discernment.

The result, I believe, may well be the OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY,
and it goes something like this…

In 1969, after two miscarriages and giving birth to five children, my mom found out she was pregnant again. Professionally, my father was a traveling salesman. He was home about 50 days a year… the running joke was that he “was home just long enough to knock her up, and then he’d be back on the road.”

For all intents and purposes, my mom was a single mom during those years. The cooking, cleaning, shopping, homework help, cheering at football games, shuffling to ballet, mending socks, up at 3 a.m. dealing with fevers and vomit, diapers, tantrums, house repairs, and discipline were all on her shoulders — except about 50 days per year. On those days, Dad expected Mom to have seared steak (rare) and potatoes (mashed) on the table, his laundry and ironing caught up, and time to watch football and WWF. That’s a lot of parenting, with little support, and even less self care for my mom.

large family

In 1969, four years before Row v. Wade, my mom (who by the way was also on birth control) found out she was pregnant for the 8th time. Suffice it to say that she’d had enough. She had reached her breaking point.

In addition to legal issues, she also faced the heavy hand of my father, as well as a vengeful God who would curse her for making such a savage and selfish decision.

Desperation cannot even begin to describe the fear and panic she must have felt.

At that time, she had the strength and courage to verbally articulate her desire to end the pregnancy. Please note that her option would have been a hanger, back alley clinic, or driving countless miles to find a physician willing to help her out. She’d need my dad’s financial support, no matter which option she chose.

If I haven’t already mentioned it…
I’m Pro Choice.

And,

in the life that I’ve lived,
I choose life.

But, I haven’t walked down the path my mom walked, in a time when women were submissive to their husbands. I haven’t faced harsh medical consequences of pregnancy that made me choose my life over the life of a developing fetus. I haven’t been the victim of rape which resulted in an unwanted pregnancy. I wasn’t in high school dealing with a decision of college or motherhood. I didn’t have to make a choice between pregnancy or promotion (or travel, or or).

What I do know is that it’s not the government’s (church’s, husband’s, society’s) job to dictate how a woman is to deal with pregnancy. We live in a world where men can have as much sex as they want, and they are never forced to pee on a stick and deal with the outcome.

WomensMarchWashington

On January 21, 2017, I will lace up my shoes and participate in the Women’s March on Washington. I’ll march in honor of my mom, who against all odds in 1969 decided to unleash her inner warrior and articulate her desire to take control of her body.  I march in honor of her conviction to keep me to term, and the hours she spent in the depths of birthing pains, like only a woman can do.

I march in solidarity with women across our vast nation who will not sit silent and allow laws to regress to pre Row v. Wade norms. Let’s save the hangers for our shirts and the back alley for wandering Tom cats. Too many women (and men) have fought the tenacious fight to give a woman complete control of her body.

Period.

My Body My Choice

© 2017, The Musing Maven, all rights reserved.

Make Room At the Table

When words of truth come pouring out…
the best I can do is share.

Make room at your table today!

Our Kids Are Watching At Christmas

Claire Davis. Another victim in a senseless shooting…

Our heart breaks as we ponder what the family is experiencing during this difficult time. Amidst loss and pain, they are forced into funeral preparations just days before Christmas. Packages are now filled with haunting memories that will, no doubt, resurface every Christmas for the rest of their lives. No amount of tinsel and holly will masque this grim reality.

As bystanders, questions resonate into our collective consciousness: Who could do this? What was the shooter thinking? Why did he do it? How could such an atrocity take place? Could this have been avoided?

Unfortunately, no amount of rationalizing, judging or questioning will bring Claire Davis back.

Our community is paralyzed by another act of violence. There’s no way to make sense out of the senseless. A young, beautiful, vibrant, caring, smart and thriving flame blown out. Extinguished. Vanished.

Flame

And yet, Claire Davis leaves a reminder that in a world of perceived darkness, hatred, fear and loss – there is a beauty, peace, love and kindness. In the midst of grim stories making headlines, it’s touching to see a community, nation and world rally and send love to Claire’s family during this horrific time.

The Davis family has taken a huge blow, and yet they released a statement of appreciation for the heart-warming embrace from those near and far. While they mourn, they feel an overwhelming sense of love. That part of the story is beautiful.

According to what I’ve read, the shooter snapped as a result of being ousted by the high school debate team. Evidently, he decided the best way to cope was to go all G.I. Joe one afternoon.

I guess my takeaway, if there is one, is to do an internal audit in my life. Am I teaching my kids how to deal with adversity? Do they realize that they won’t always receive a medal for simply participating? Will they be able to cope if they are demoted or fired? Will they have the tenacity and work ethic to push through hard times at college, work, marriage, parenting and life in general?

As parents, we have a limited time to teach these lessons. For the Davis family, that time was cut short.

I believe that everyone is capable of snapping at some level. For that reason, it is so important that we share our hearts authentically with our kids. We must teach them that it’s okay to fail. We must love them even when their dark sides rear their ugly heads. We must teach them that light always shines after darkness. Most importantly they need to know that they hold a source of light within them… even in the darkest moments.

Flame of Hope

Our kids may not have the name “Karl Pierson” and their passion may not be debate. However, they feel pressure to perform on the soccer field, TCAP (state testing), in popularity contests and the other “debate clubs” that we create for them.

As a community, it seems that instead of pointing a collective finger outward, perhaps it’s time to look inward. Hug a little firmer. Love a little deeper. Forgive a little more.

Most of us will never experience the grief that the Davis family is going through. However, we can’t help but question if or when a shooter will take the life of our child. For that reason, today is a great day to spread some love, joy, kindness, patience, tolerance, peace and acceptance to this kids in our life.

They are watching and they need us.

Looking outside

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© 2013, The Musing Maven, all rights reserved.