A Pro-Choice Poem for Mother's Day

This Mother's Day, as the antis try to use it for propaganda
(as they always do)
I want to thank my mother.

I want to thank my mother, not for simply having me -
But for waiting until she was ready to have me.
For having me when she wanted to have a child.
For bringing me into a home and a situation where I was planned,

I want to thank my mother, not for simply having me -
But for all the twenty-six
(and counting)
years that have followed.
For making Halloween costumes and prom dresses,
lunches and dinners and Christmas cookies,
and in the process, teaching me.

I want to thank my mother, not for simply having me -
But for all the times she went to bat against an unfair world,
stood up to bullies,
taught me I deserved better.
For instilling in me a love of reading that has made me into the writer I am today.
For quietly, subtly - just by being the person she is -
instilling in me a budding proto-feminist sensibility,
So that when, in college, I made my first fumbling steps into formal feminism
it was less like learning
than simply coming home.
(And that, too, has made me who and what I am today.)

And with these more usual gratitudes,
I want to thank my mother for something else.
Something the antis would see as directly antithetical to the spirit of the day.
But which, I feel,
is exactly right.

I want to thank my mother,
For helping me to not be a mother.
For taking me to her doctor to get on birth control when I started having sex at 15,
for making it so that I wasn't one of the teens who had to sneak around and buy condoms under cover of shame and darkness.
For taking me at my word when I said for the first time, at about age 12,
"I don't ever want to have kids."
For never pressuring me to produce grandchildren,
and for waving off family members who might have.
(It helps that I have lots of cousins who have had lots of babies already, I suppose.)

And, six years ago this past week,
For driving two hours down at 5 in the morning to my college apartment,
so we could get breakfast before my appointment.
Sitting with me in the awkward hush of the waiting room.
Then, six years ago this very weekend,
Laying in supplies of favorite foods and movies and lots of very thick pads,
shooing my brother out of the house to go hang out with friends,
so that I could bleed out the baby I wasn't ready to have -
will never be ready to have -
in privacy, and safety, and comfort, and support.

That year, we celebrated Mother's Day by keeping me from being a mother.
And I have been grateful, every single year since.
So the next time the antis throw out that tired line,
"Aren't you glad your mother was pro-life?!?!?!"
I will laugh,
as I always do,
because they don't know my mother.
I do.
And she has shown herself, in a thousand thousand ways, a wonderful mother,
and part of that has been in her respect for my body,
my choices,
my life.
That's her pro-life stance.
She's pro-my-life.  Pro-her-daughter's-life.
So I think, when I laugh in the face of the next anti to assign a political stance to a woman they have never met,
based purely on the fact that she has given birth,
I will also say,
"Yes, she is.  But not in the way you think."

Happy Mother's Day, mamana.  I love you.


Related Posts with Thumbnails