The “me” generation is now having children. This is not the contradiction that it appears at first, since the self-absorbed parents of today will have their children only when the presence of children enhances their own self-image. Think about it.
She could be anyone you know; I’ll call her Jenny. She was 20 years old in the early 70s, sucked in by anti-life feminist rhetoric. She staunchly said, “it’s my body,” as she swallowed her pill; she bravely endured stomach cramps when her womb tried to reject the IUD. Or she “accidentally” became pregnant, which situation was reduced to a mere inconvenience when she was looked after by a friendly, caring abortionist. She pursued her goals – a good career, the right life-style, despising those of her women friends who opted for a more traditional path.
Jenny is closely matched by her friend, Al. He, too, was involved in his career, created his own life-style and never worried about his girlfriend’s attitude to her fertility. After all, that’s a woman’s business.
At some point, marriage seemed the right thing to do, an attractive way to enhance each of their images. The thought of having children was not part of the attraction – there were the two careers, vacations, a mortgage and the all-important life-style to support. Jenny’s fertility is still suppressed. Any accidents – no problem, abortion is still an acceptable solution.
By the 80s, however, Jenny’s aspirations have changed slightly. She feels the need to have a baby. Jenny is now pushing 30, and to put off having a child for much longer will be running a risk of a genetically unacceptable child, and that would be more than the image could stand. Those images are very delicate.
Jenny and Al go on to have two children: after all, responsible parenting is expected. These children are expected to be attractive, undemanding, reasonable, and very intelligent small people who will fit into the already created life-style. Little aesthetic objects.
The children are planned to enhance the image the parents have of themselves: they will turn the perfect couple into the perfect family. Perhaps Jenny and Al will be strong enough to be able to manage the inevitable transition that children bring to a marriage. Perhaps they will be able to become a true couple with ideals and values that go beyond material things. Perhaps their children will give them the strength to become secure enough in their own identities to enable them to nurture others.
However, if their “me-ism” is a set pattern, the introduction of children can cause a complete breakdown. Jenny will farm her children out to day-care. She will do this not only because she is bombarded constantly with propaganda telling her life will pass her by if she stays at home to take care of her children, but also because by now her income is necessary to keep up their life-style: she is a life-style addict.
The kids must have their mini-designer clothes, must have their exclusive nursery school educations, and their extra lessons. The children are expected to perform as super-kids and Jenny is, expected to be super-mom.
Al, by now, is also in trouble. Super-mom and super-kids require super-dad. He has to climb his corporate ladder, or else: no wonder Al often disappears completely. The Globe & Mail estimated, in May this year, that in Ontario alone, unpaid child and spouse-support is $42 million a year.
Jenny and Al are not the point of this biography. The point is, what will happen to the children?
It is no news that most children strive to emulate their parents and, frequently after a period of rebellion, settle down to live their adult lives much in the same way as their parents did theirs. But it is surely fairly new that we have a generation of young parents bringing up their children with an easy acceptance of abortion – and all that that implies.
An item which really struck me recently was this: following the Irish referendum on the abortion amendment to their Constitution, a journalist reported that the subject of abortion (either pro- or anti-) was now a matter familiar to every 6-year-old child in Ireland.
Indeed, the subject of abortion, and what it does, is a frequent topic of conversation in our house. While my children are still very young, I cannot, even in my more optimistic moments, imagine that the subject is going to go away, and I can be confident in assuming that as they grow into their teenage years, they will not have any problems understanding the principles their parents subscribe to.
What will happen when my children meet Jenny and Al’s children? Will my husband and I, as parents, have managed to instill proper values in our children, strongly enough for them to draw on as a resource to counter the attacks of the merely worldly and selfish? Or will our children, as adults, choose an easier route and state that they are “personally opposed to abortion” but that each person has to make up their own minds?
Will anti-life peer pressure sway my children to the extent that they reject totally their parents’ values as too old-fashioned for them?
I hope and pray that the way we are teaching our children today is going to give them the courage to live as pro-life adults in the years to come. Perhaps they will be able to help those who have not had the same upbringing.