Politics & Policy

Progressives’ Perverted View of Parenthood

(Dreamstime image: Fizkes)
Children are not merely a tool for their parents’ self-actualization, no matter what the Left says.

Think the pro-abortion movement couldn’t get any more despicable? Then you probably haven’t noticed its latest tactic: insisting that society must “end the taboo” against women who regret having had their children. From pro-abortion organization NARAL’s Twitter account:

This makes it sound as if NARAL simply wants women to be able to choose whether or not to become pregnant or deliver a child, but the Huffington Post article contained in the tweet insists that the next feminist battle will be fought for the right to express regret over having had one’s child without incurring judgment.

The Huffington Post column responds favorably to a piece in Marie Claire, which features a number of women sharing the many “unbearable” circumstances they faced after having children, whether or not they had planned to become pregnant. (It is worth noting that none of the women in the story became pregnant as the result of rape.) According to Marie Claire, the wave of women boldly expressing their regrets about entering into motherhood began with the book No Kids: 40 Reasons Not to Have Children by psychoanalyst Corinne Maier. Apparently, Maier gave innumerable women the cover they needed to declare their similar anguish at the existence of their children, whether because they turned out not to be “mother material” or because they would’ve been “more fulfilled” by a life without children.

But, of course, instead of merely presenting its stories of parental regret, the Marie Claire article concludes by decrying society for its sexism and narrow-mindedness, both of which harm these poor women by making them feel like failures for admitting their feelings; everything would be a whole lot easier for such mothers if we erased the “stigma” against them. Some mothers have even had to deal with the pain of wondering how their children would feel if they knew the truth: “I don’t want [my daughter] to know that I have imagined her out of existence,” one woman says.

While it would be wrong to claim that parenthood is easy, progressives have lost sight of the fact that it isn’t meant to be.

There are two central flaws with the underlying claim of these articles. First, it is ridiculous to assert that our society enforces a rigid code of proper parenthood. Politicians promise to institute governmental policies to allow mothers to more easily maintain thriving careers as their foremost identity, while putting parenting to the side. Women who choose to forgo a career and instead stay at home with their children are often dismissed or ridiculed by the same progressives who demand an end to the “stigma” against regretful mothers. Meanwhile, in all 50 states, women are given near-total permission to end the life of a child inside their bodies if they do not want to be a mother, despite the fact that they already are one. If society enforces any code of motherhood, it is one that portrays being a mother as a small aspect of the perfectly fulfilled life that women should desire and pursue.

This leads to the second flaw in these articles’ argument: They drastically misunderstand motherhood and, along with it, the proper attitude toward human fulfillment. Modern society, and progressives in particular, view parenthood as merely one of many possible pursuits that adults can undertake in order to make themselves happier and more fulfilled. If being a parent, for whatever reason, does not fit into a person’s plan for her ideal life, then she must be free to prevent parenthood using any means necessary, including abortion-on-demand.

This understanding of children — as merely one more tool to be used or abused in adults’ quest for fulfillment — has allowed “pro-choice” activists to gain tremendous cultural and political ground. This is why Obamacare contains a provision forcing employers to provide free contraception to employees; if a woman doesn’t want to conceive a child, then the government must give her the means to avoid conception. This is also why abortion-on-demand is the foremost plank of the “pro-choice” movement, and why Democratic politicians have enshrined federally funded abortion as a central part of their platform. If a child isn’t desired by its mother, then it must be disposed of immediately and without consequence: “every child a wanted child.”

Arguing for a woman’s right to openly regret her child’s existence — and to do so without incurring harsh “judgment” from society — is the logical extension of pro-abortion thinking. If a woman can regret a pregnancy and end the life of the child she doesn’t want simply because she doesn’t want it, why should she be criticized for wishing she had never borne and raised the child she does have? Their short answer: She shouldn’t. Aside from the lunacy of arguing for a woman’s right to societal approval as she mourns the presence of a child sitting across from her at the dinner table, these articles illustrate society’s fundamental distortion of human life and parenthood. Children are not an interchangeable item that women can demand or eliminate as their emotions dictate; the “fulfillment” of parenthood comes not from giving in to regret when times are tough but from committing to raising a child despite the tough times. And while it would be wrong to claim that parenthood is easy, progressives have lost sight of the fact that it isn’t meant to be.

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