Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Birth (infancy) (08/20/09)
TITLE: Oh, Dear Gabby . . .
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<em>Note to Editor: Hey, Mark—got several irate readers who want to know how I could espouse feminist/pro choice ideology and then decide to bring my own pregnancy to term.
Here’s one letter and a draft of my response—let me know what you think.
I couldn’t believe your column in todays paper. So you <em>find yourself pregnant</em>—unplanned—no husband—<em>don’t need one</em>, YET your keeping your baby and are <em>extremely happy and excited about the prospect.</em>
Where is the advice you gave me last year?
I even had a man who loved me, who wanted to marry me. Chris wanted our baby too. You should of calmed my fears instead of fueling them. Why didn’t you tell me to quit being selfish and that it was time to grow up? That money wasn’t the only thing in raising a child? That lots of parents were clueless in the beginning?
I cry every day over the ultrasound pictures you told me to ignore when deciding.
Every day I imagine what might have been, but <em>never</em> again will I be fooled by someone like you.
Misled with an Empty Bassinet
Dear Misled with an Empty Bassinet (MWAEB),
I can see where you might be confused as my previous words are <del>drastically</del> slightly juxtaposed to my current course of action. It is clear, though, that our situations are radically different.
When you first wrote to me as “Woman with a Dreadful Secret,” you expressed concerns about the father's ability to financially support a family as he was a <em>plumber in training</em>. You described your shifts at Perkin's as <em>unreliable</em>, your love life as <em>complicated,</em> your finances as <em>muddled,</em> and your personal life as <em>too selfish to own a hamster</em> (never mind sustaining a tiny, blubbering human being).
Obviously, I’m in no such predicament.
I, MWAEB, am a single, independent woman with a two-bedroom condo and a small dog. I’ve nearly paid off my college loans and have owned my car free and clear for the last eighteen months. I have a master’s in psychology and children tend to respond well to me if I happen to bump into one in a department store. I’ve had <del>numerous</del> a couple of long-term, committed relationships in the last fifteen years; ergo, I understand how to bond with people. I have enough important dinner parties to justify using my “good” china at least five times a year.
I own and <em>utilize</em> a juicer for Pete’s sake.
The fundamental difference between our situations is simply that kismet has dealt me a lifestyle conducive to parenthood at this juncture. I’ve never advocated that upon learning of pregnancy, one should automatically opt to terminate. No, dearest. My party line has staunchly remained that one should thoroughly examine the situation at hand and decide which option is the more <del>manageable</del> loving and merciful.
It’s no great mental leap to understand that tossing a baby into a whirlwind of pre-existing human strife is a detriment to his already fragile psyche. This is how we’ve managed to cultivate a generation of manic second-graders whose eyes we glaze with Ritalin. Is that what you wanted, MWAEB? To spend the next eighteen years of your life peevishly excusing yourself from your greasy tables at Perkin's to accept calls from your child’s principal asking why Timmy keeps sticking his gum in Rachel’s hair, whilst your sleazy manager threatens to cut your shift if you’re late to work <em>one more time</em>?
I didn’t think so.
Sadly, in this society, the individuals who are astute enough to differentiate between those capable and incapable of child-rearing are far too often the ones who have calculated their lives so carefully that they have (wisely) not budgeted any time for such things until at least age 35.
So dear, it’s not that you should <em>never</em> be a parent.
Perhaps just not right now.
Best To You,
<em>Hey, Mark—I'll be back to the three-letter format Monday. BTW, didn’t hear from you last night. Figured after I sent you the ultrasound pictures there’d be no keeping you away—Deborah, or no Deborah. Maybe you didn’t get them. I can resend. But whatever. Did some research—did you know being a single mom is comparable to buying a house come tax season? This bundle of joy and I should go pretty far.
Also, I made an effort to avoid those dangling participles you complained about last month.
Hope you noticed.
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