[ed. note: forgive the myspace syntax. i get lazy sometimes]
last week, when the hate mail was at its peak, i really wondered why the hell i'm doing what i'm doing. why do i continue to stand up for a group that no one cares about?
i never doubted my message. i stand by all my words. it's wasn't that i was doubting myself. it was that i got so fed up with the world, and how nobody cares. and how birthmothers are the expendable women, conservatives love to either saint us or villify us (god forbid we fall somewhere in between), and feminism has turned its back on us. science hasn't bothered to study us much, which is why the reporter had such touble supporting her argument. we're just not important enough to warrant any attention.
as i sit down rewriting query letters, i get stuck in the same place. why is this hypothetical book important? a few thousand women make this choice a year. who would anyone outside of adoption buy this book, why should anyone care?
i'm not sure what i'm trying to say, exactly. there's this missing piece, this leap i haven't made. it has something to do with the question- "why does Juno find motherhood so unappealing?" why did i, at the time? why is that the obvious, foregone conclusion? what's wrong with motherhood? i know all the answers: school! freedom! your own life! blah blah blah.
never mind all the women who had kids young and were more stable, more accomplished, more motivated, because they had a kid there to focus them. ariel gore comes to mind. and people i know in real life, women who had their kids as teenagers or slightly older and redefined the entire insitution of motherhood for themselves, eschewing the traditional family structure and getting what they needed by going against the cultural tide.
there is this underlying belief that the best mother is one who martyrs herself and kills her own dreams. this belief dogs mothers who did everything right, were never in a position to consider adoption. this is the belief that drives the placement choice of women in more precarious circumstances. what 16, or 19, or 22 year old would willingly kill her own dreams?
the assumtion of this belief as fact is what keeps us from looking at the state of motherhood in the culture. only the most rebellious can do what ariel gore did. motherhood is punishment for wayward teenage girls, and adoption is seen as a way to sidestep that.
motherhood doesn't have to be punitive. instead of reacting to pregnant teenagers by shaming them for having sex, kicking them out of school, firing them from their jobs, thinking of them as trashy and isolating them from their peers, withholding support and gifts that older mothers would get as a matter of course, why don't we accept them and celebrate them? what the hell is wrong with a teenage mother anyway that we have to make sure she has it as hard as posssible? nothing inherent, nothing that society hasn't imposed.