“All women want….”
“If you ask any woman, she will say….”
“No woman would ever….”
When I hear any of these statements, it immediately sets my teeth on edge. Why? Because I know what is to follow is usually something with which I do not agree. For example, I was reading this wonderful TNC post on how difficult labor was for Kenyatta, his lifetime partner (and mother of their son). The whole thing is powerful and moving, especially his last paragraph:
Every day women choose to do the hard labor of a difficult pregnancy. Its (sic) courageous work, which inspires in me a degree of admiration exceeded only by my horror at the notion of the state turning that courage, that hard labor, into a mandate. Women die at performing that labor in smaller numbers as we advance, but they die all the same. Men do not. This is a privilege.
The discussion was, for the most part, thoughtful, engaging, and respectful. As is my wont, I came late to the thread and spent a good amount of time getting caught up. I found myself nodding in some places, yelling in others, and then I was hit with this comment:
Being able to have a child without incurring the risks is a privilege in many ways. Yet ask any woman and they will tell you the privilege is theirs (sic, and bolded by me for emphasis). Despite the risks, pregnancy is a gift.
After a little back and forth, she (and it’s a she. I admit I thought it was a he at first until she explained her reasoning a bit more):
I agree with the sentiments below, and I’m not suggesting every pregnancy is a gift. What I meant–what I should have said–is the ability to carry a child and give birth is a privilege and a gift. That’s it.
Others engaged with her before I got there, but I had to add my two cents because that’s how I roll. I said I didn’t consider it a gift and neither did the woman who commented before me, so that was two women (more added on later) who didn’t consider it a gift. The OP went on to explain her point of view and how, because of her difficulties, it was impossible for her to not see the ability to give birth as a gift.
I empathized. Her experience was horrible. However, as I pointed out, two women had explicitly said they didn’t feel the same way. In fact, we all want to return the gift to Babies R’ Us–Oh, HELL NO! My point was that just because SHE couldn’t fathom it not being a gift, it didn’t mean that her own personal experience was universally true. I even allowed that many if not most women would probably agree with her–just not all.
(Click to learn more about women)