Last Saturday I took the advice of my pregnant editor and went to the store to purchase pickles and egg nog. I like strange food combos so this was right up my alley (I’ve told her to keep the suggestions coming). When I went to check out, the cashier seemed slightly puzzled by my purchase. I explained that the pickles and egg nog were suggested by my editor. She seemed more confused so I told her my editor is pregnant. The cashier’s response? “I’m sorry.” I was thrown for a moment. I politely shot back, “She’s excited about it and so am I.” Her only response was, “Oh.” Since when is an apology the response to the beautiful news of a baby? In a world where people are daily murdered in astronomical numbers in and out of the womb, and countries are struggling with birth rates so low they won’t be able to sustain their country, why is bringing a miracle into this world worthy of “I’m sorry”? Here’s a hint: it’s not. It’s not deserving of “I’m sorry.” Period.
This isn’t an isolated incident. Noooooooo, not by a long shot! Unfortunately I’ve encountered this attitude more and more and in every corner of my life. This week (while minding my own business thankyouverymuch) my ears were perked by talk of how many children someone had and what ages. Any guesses as to the response of “4”? Hm? How about contempt, derision, pity, and groans? How’s that for a response to the lives of human beings?
Another incident involved news that someone was pregnant for the *gasp* third time with two toddlers already at home. The common response was pitiful sympathies for the parents and gratitude it wasn’t them having to put up with that mess. Excuse me?
I have a friend who’s a stay at home dad to young twin boys. I’ve met those boys and they are full of life. Yes, they are a handful, but they are also a delight. Their parents love and cherish them. Their parents have rules and boundaries and are rearing them right. But how are they treated by the outside world? These happy parents receive apologies. APOLOGIES!
Too often children are held in intense disdain by people not the parents and dismissed by the parents as a burden to be contemptibly tolerated until the children FINALLY! WHEW! move out. Excuse me while I go old school, but once upon a time the view of a man’s wealth was partially determined by his ability to father strong, successful children and his wife’s pride was in her ability to raise up strong, healthy, hardworking, productive young men and women. And at that point in time children were called a heritage unto their parents. But oh have we made marvelous strides in human civil rights since then! Yes siree! Women are no longer chained to their ovens. Men are no longer relegated to just one woman for the rest of their days. Technology has made life less hardwork-y.
In all that time since “once upon a time” what have we done? What have we accomplished? We’ve made bags reusable and fuel more efficient. We’ve made houses more eco-friendly and food and clean water more available to desolate regions. We’ve made computers fully portable and batteries in iPhones last almost as long as Androids’ batteries. We’ve made travel easier, faster. We’ve put a Starbucks on nearly every corner. We’ve produced amazing and awful entertainment. We’ve discovered new species. And babies; what of our babies? Well, we’ve made babies- our future, our legacy, our heritage- disposable.