You are not sure whether it is a source of relief or a source of dismay but as you get older you do not seem to know everything.
Or rather, you still have the capacity to find out new things. Having children is one long learning curve.
But as well as new and useful skills such as the best way to soothe a screaming baby*, which children’s tv programmes to avoid**, techniques for having a poo all by yourself*** or how to make unlumpy cheese sauce **** the interesting thing is finding that you can still have revelations about things you have been thinking about for years (decades. Oh dear. Decades).
While you were pregnant you found yourself contemplating the world your daughter would be living in and the trials and tribulations she might find there.
As a woman.
And while you were musing, this happened.
This is an article about some law that someone introduced to the state legislature of Georgia (USA).
It’s an anti-abortion law.
But it’s also a law which wanted to criminalise women who have miscarriages.
Yes, every miscarriage was to be treated as a potential murder and investigated as such.
Now this is a whole world of appalling in its own right.
But what made it worse for you was you suddenly understood as you had never understood quite so viscerally before how the history of women is the history of women being treated as objects. As incubators with no rights or independence at all. Just a womb, and a womb which at all costs must be controlled, told who to associate with and how. And with no other worth than the ability to produce offspring.
You were thoroughly horrified. You were scaldingly angry.
But the weirdest thing was that you were not sure that you would ever have really grasped this fundamental aspect of feminism 101 had you not tried to become pregnant. Prior to this you were not in the habit of considering yourself as primarily a baby making factory. But there is no escaping it when you are in the middle of cooking one baby hard on the heels of remembering how producing another has been an act of subsuming your independence, your body and your every waking moment to the service of this new life.
Of course, it’s one thing to choose to do that and another thing to have that choice made for you by someone else, to have even the acknowledgement that it might be your decision to make taken away.
But hey, Georgia’s in America, it’s far away and they are all slightly cracked on the issue over there. Plus, it didn’t pass.*****
And then this happened.
This is an article about some amendment that someone introduced into the legislature of the United Kingdom.
It’s an anti abortion law.
Specifically it sought to insist that all counselling of women seeking abortions should be done by independent counsellors. And by ‘independant’ what they meant was religious anti choice groups seeking to reduce the UK’s abortion rate by at least 60,000 every year.
Now it didn’t pass. It was, in fact, defeated rather spectacularly.
But how dare, how very dare they seek to limit access to a legal procedure in this way?
Clearly we are not as far along the path to freedom as we might think.
*Hiss Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! in their ear more loudly than you might have expected.
**Balamory, the Tweenies and Big Cook, Small Cook to name but three.
***Sneaking up the stairs while the Star is otherwise engaged with Peppa Pig sometimes works.
****Use hot milk.
*****You are assuming it didn’t pass, because if it did pass and the howls of outrage did not echo around the world, well there is something seriously wrong.