Thursday, November 26, 2009

Family Matters

Puss came home from her "fixation" appointment today. Amen and amen. No more kittens. As utterly appealing as they are, they grow up into cat-producing cats, and that's an endless cycle. Winter kittens are particularly bad up here. They tend not to live very long. That gives me the heebie-jeebies, thinking that there'd be kittens freezing to death in some frigid corner of the auction mart.

Forgive me, but through this gynecological ordeal all I could think about was something I read a long time ago, maybe a decade ago, written by a proponent of families "planned by God", and an opponent of birth control. She was walking with her legion of children, and some man came up and (very rudely, I agree), gave her a blast, declaring that people like her were the bane of the planet. And she said that she gestured towards her children, and asked him which ones of them he'd suggest that she should have done without.

Which sounds so pro-child, yes? Yes, I thought so, on first glance.

But for many people of the world, the question gets turned back, and parents find themselves a position to ask which of their children will go hungry, or be sold, or some other abomination, so the others have something to eat that week. Or perhaps there's no question. No one gets anything.

What if that same woman found herself in a very different economic landscape, where there was no safety net, how would she choose? Would she choose to watch child after child die while she continued to create more in God's name, if there was fertility control available?

When I was still plenty hormonal for about five years after the birth of my second, I desperately wanted more kids. Desperately. Everything in me screamed "Baby!" Now? I'm really glad my kids are growing up, more independent. I love them, and I love watching them as their own people. The hormones shifted. My perspective changed. I like this stage, for all concerned.

There's only so much land, so much fresh water, so much food. That goes the same for deer, cats, and people. Even if I'm easily able to take more than my family's share of those things, and so much else, by virtue of the fact that I live in North America, that's still what it is. More than our share.

I have more than my share by a long shot. My efforts to wean myself off this unfair abundance are pretty measly and I know it.

All things considered, I'm sure glad I don't have 10 kids. I wouldn't ever like to be in a position to have to choose between them in such a way. That's not something that every woman in Africa or South America or Asia, or even North America, can avoid.

And Puss?

No biggie. She took herself off to the auction mart for a long nap and now she seems right with the world.




No comments: