Are You My Mother?

baby clothesby Alicia Costa

My best friend gave birth to beautiful twin boys a month ago. And this has made me really look at the way I view motherhood, friendship with women, and my own fertility choices.

I’ve never really given much thought to having children. It was just never something I was interested in. And honestly I don’t really like children (I know, I know that sounds horrible but have you been to Ikea on a Saturday? Haunting). And up until I turned 25 I thought the whole “biological clock ticking” was some patriarchal construct to scare young women into having babies.

But it’s not, and over the past three years I’ve been really starting to reconsider my stance on shrugging off having a family. And it’s put me in a tail spin.

Growing up I always idolized my uncles. They left our small town, went to university, got amazing careers (one pilot, one engineer), lived in beautiful condos, and went travelling the world. They always drove new flashy cars and never had children. Very early on I wanted that life and not the one my mother had, which seemed filled with pain and sacrifice.

My mother is amazing. She is the most selfless and caring person I have ever known. She gave us everything she had.  She stayed in a bad marriage for too long and sacrificed her dreams of going to university to care for my sister and I.  My father was absent, abusive, and often gone for long periods of time out of town. Somehow she overcame all that to raise two productive humans. And I just know I am far too selfish to give everything I am to another being.

My friend who recently had the twins is one of the most amazing women I have in my life. We’ve been friends for eight or nine years (I’ve lost track of the time) and she has seen me through the most turbulent and complicated years of my life. The last 10 years since I left home and moved to the big city have been the most formative time in my lifetime.

I struggle with my relationships with other women. Very often they break down in a fog of competiveness, pettiness, politics, miscommunication, and mistrust. And I have been through all these things as well with this friend, but we somehow always manage to find our way back to each other. And I will ashamedly admit that when she told me she was pregnant my first thought was, “How is this going to affect me? How is this going to affect our friendship?” Read more

Posted on by Alicia Costa in Feminism, My Reality 1 Comment

Your Arguments Against Our Permanent Birth Control are Bullshit

Cover of 1919 edition of Margaret Sanger's Birth Control Review

Cover of 1919 edition of Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review

by Jessica Critcher

My spouse and I are seeking permanent birth control, and the entire process has been difficult. At this point, we are sick to death of unsolicited advice on the subject (Pro-tip: If someone you don’t know says they’re not judging you, they are judging you). Everyone’s heart is in the right place, I can only assume. People think they are telling us new information that will keep us from making what they perceive to be a mistake. I get that they’re trying to help. But we continually find ourselves defending this very personal decision to total strangers. So to keep myself from screaming, I’m going to outline why the condescension disguised as concern is totally unfounded. Trust us. We’ve thought it through.

Bullshit Assumption #1: But you’re so YOUNG! And it’s such a BIG decision!

We know we’re only 24. Thanks for telling us! No one says this to people in our situation who decide to have children, which is an equally big decision. It’s not the weight of the decision that makes people uncomfortable; it’s the fact that we decided against having children. If you’re going to offer unsolicited advice, at least be honest about why.

Bullshit Assumption #2: It’s permanent. You’ll regret it later and resent each other.

Why do they always pair those two? This “advice”  intrigues me the most, because there are so many layers and implications. Firstly, it implies that we do not know what “permanent” means. The permanence of a thing is not inherently an effective reason to argue against it. That’s actually the most attractive feature of this birth control option. Thanks, but we’re set. Read more

Posted on by Jessica Critcher in Feminism 4 Comments