There’s this thing that I know about from work. I’m breaking my almost a decade’s long avoidance of writing anything related to work. Although, the connection is, I hope, tangential enough with the good will outweighing my fear of big brother.
It should also be mentioned I now work at a place in which the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and even a group of women swapping stories about their abortions are all allies. I haven’t polished my resume to get those choice gigs at Hobby Lobby or the Catholic Diocese, despite my obvious qualifications.
So, far from my old job and the shadows of Boston, here I go.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has a thing going on to thank birth control. Like almost everyone with a uterus, it resonates, because I know the birds and the bees and that the stork doesn’t bring babies.
To be fair, I didn’t have real sex education in school as a kid, and my mother never really gave me the straight skinny, and my 50-year-old uterus the doctors assure me is probably not at risk of occupation. But, with my memory of things past, and a swell exhibit at Boston’s Science Museum that my aunt took me to somewhere during the 70s, I’m gonna try to hype the cause.
One of my head-scratchingest moments from my current place of employment was around a very committed and truly feminist leaning co-worker, who is also chockfull of Y chromosomes and gender privilege. He might be the most committed person I have ever met on the issue of choice among men, women, and all other currently recognized genders, bar none.
Still and all, he had never lived the life of a young woman and, I dare guess, probably didn’t go to the same types of parties I went to back in the day.
Statistics show the U.S. leads the developed world in teen pregnancies. So, our country is newsworthy across the Atlantic, including links to detailed explanations of our crazy foreign ways, like this one.
By the way, how fucking unfair is it that birth control is finally free right about when my pre-menopausal body is saying “whatever.” I could have used that extra cash flow some nights when beer money was low and CVS raised the price on contraceptive sponges.
Hell, when they went off the market, sponge-worthy was not just a Seinfeld episode.
Anyway, back to the point and the head scratching. My coworker couldn’t quite get over or understand that while teen pregnancy is definitely going in numbers, a good thing for our nation, unwanted pregnancies among 20-somethings remains at the top of the charts and rising.
For better or worse, I can understand it. I didn’t just see the movie, my friends and I, back a quarter of a century ago, were living it. Most of the time, everyone tried to do her level best to stay ahead of ovulation and use anything and everything they could. But, life, as John Lennon may not have been the first to say, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”
Condoms break, people forget, passion and illicit substances trick your brain into magical thinking. Many of my friends and myself held each other and held each others’ hands on trips to clinics or the drug store to find out if a night of fun had resulted into cells dividing inside our young bodies.
Many of us were, as we would all sigh and say, “lucky.” Sometimes we weren’t. I know of both abortions and babies that were part of those years of our lives.
We fought about it, cried about it, and shared a lot of wine. I had a long, long feud over a friend’s crazy boyfriend and too many sleepless nights worrying over her drugs and reckless behavior within our small, shared apartment.
In one of life’s cosmic gifts, though, I ran into her literally one of my last days in Boston before moving across the country. We talked, laughed and left each other with a hug of reconciliation to each other and our former not always well-played youth.
Today, I feel fortunate. I was always ambivalent about my own suitability or ability for motherhood. It’s very complicated and would require a long-winded and long-winding explanation from my own childhood to now as to why I never had a child of my own.
Suffice it to say the man that I finally, truly felt like I could spend the rest of my life beside, the man I finally consented to marry, came into my life rather late in the game. Also suffice it to say, that I had the wherewithal to not imagine something better with a baby among the rogues gallery that had come before M.
Other friends have married, divorced, stayed single, had children, haven’t had children, recognized a non-heterosexual lean, earned advanced degrees, wrote books, acted in films, were celibate, became celibate, and survived. A great number, I think, are living their own sort of happily ever after.
I consider myself one such lucky woman. And, I am grateful I was born into a time in which I really could choose.