Monday, June 7, 2010

Should this be the last generation?

I just read this eye-opening and provocative piece in the NY Times Opinionator.

The piece asks about choices to bring children into the world, not reducing our carbon footprint and having them live in a world sans enough resources to adequately address their needs.

Years ago - almost 15, to be exact, I found myself pregnant with my 4th child unexpectedly. My family was complete, my marriage in shambles and my husband at the time had just come out of the closet. I wrestled long and hard with the decision over whether to terminate the pregnancy, knowing that this child would not have the traditional family in which my other three sons had been blessed to live in. I knew that this child would be raised by a single parent. What I could not anticipate was that I would ultimately lose custody of that child after taking a job out of state - long story - another post.

While I love my 4 children unconditionally and equally, I feel empathy for the youngest son - my 12 year old son at the time, who was the eldest, said - "this baby is going to be so lucky - they will never know what it was like to live in a home with two parents".

This is not a question of reducing a carbon footprint, but the deficit and loss that this youngest child has suffered is heartbreaking to me - yes, he is growing into a fine young man, but I know that he will likely suffer in his relationships and will have to seek therapy down the road as he grapples with being essentially raised as an only chid, sans two loving parents and the security and comfort that would have provided.

Sure, he has food to eat and clothing, but he is missing the basics - he is blessed beyond measure, but I often wonder if I had taken the step to terminate the pregnancy what might have been - some food for thought.

Interestingly enough, I was tasked to write a paper on abortion in college some years ago before this last pregnancy. At the time, I was pro life and still am - after doing all the research and seeing the eye-opening statistics - I realized that in many cases, it is kinder to terminate a pregnancy rather than bring a child into the world with a single parent or without the love and financial support of a family.

I am now both pro life and pro choice - women need choices and as we continue to overpopulate the earth, perhaps it is time to take a long hard look at ourselves and our choices before we bring more - or any - children into the world.

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