I have a friend I admire–let’s call her Ruthie. Decades ago as a young mom, she worked to keep abortion legal. Her office was in a non-profit complex, and her toddler daughter was in daycare just down the hall.
Ruthie was set to go on local television to give her pitch about a woman’s right to choose. At that very moment, the toddler put a dried bean up her nose. Everyone tried to remove it, to no avail. The toddler shrieked, and shrieked some more.
Ruthie’s assistant took the toddler out of camera–and ear–range. Ruthie spoke to the cameras. Then jumped in the car and took the toddler to the pediatrician. Let me just say that toddler is now a grown woman, and her nose is fine.
There is no moral to this story, of course. But it does inspire reflection, and is still funny. Ruthie was in a classic working mom bind, but handled it well. There is something endearing about a women’s rights activist having to get a bean taken out of a toddler’s nose.
I think also that some of the unconflicted love the women of my generation–and after–bear our children is linked to a woman’s right to choose. These children were wanted. Even if not planned for, or desired at first, they were indeed chosen. Abortion has been legal most of my reproductive life–and for the whole life of Ruthie’s daughter. It is a real option.
Children can be a stress, or seem inevitable, but we do have the basic right to choose. And with that choice comes love.