Norma Jean: The Dice Are Loaded

The Dice Are LoadedI've been feeling ambushed lately by thoughts about parenting solo and all of its social and personal ramifications. Abortion, teen pregnancy, welfare, deadbeat dads -- each issue comes into focus before my mind's scrutiny, mesmerizing me as if from within a kaleidoscope. Haunting, perhaps, since I'm living the path of having a child out-of-wedlock with an indifferent other.In my 20s I only wanted to "be free." Never considering having a child, I inadvertently devastated more than one boyfriend by choosing abortion over motherhood. Well into my 30s, I suddenly become baby crazy. After a few "loves" ran their course and years slipped away, I viewed every man with a new hunger, seeing them as "genetic specimens." Sorry guys, but this can happen with women as the ticking gets louder. Five months of drunken, "vacation sex," gave way to motherhood with an infatuation, not true love.Most women need to reproduce "by the book," preferring marriage, financial stability, in-law acceptance -- the whole insurance package. Some women remain childless into their 40s because the deal never came together in some euphoric gestalt as planned.Men can't save the day and make parenting some idyllic experience with their presence in the house or in the bank account. It's always complicated and painfully real to be present to all the needs of a growing human. At least five women I know started out with the "package" intact and are now in a living hell fighting with an ex, and facing the exact same challenges as their single counterparts.What if men were the ones who got pregnant and bore children? What if a woman had a casual, hot affair with a man and he told her four months later (as she is hip deep into the next love) that he is pregnant and having her child? "But ... but ... I want it the way I want it, not like this!" she might shriek. "Sorry," he could say, with great resolve, "I'm keeping this child! You slept with me ... I think you'd make a great mother!"I don't know about you, but I can think of a few men who would have jumped to entrap me in this fashion, and I'm not sure what I would have done. I've dated men who wanted a baby because they were older and "ready." One SWPM, 38, actually offered me $100,000 cash (and a house) to have his baby and then legally turn it over to him at birth. NOT! How cold -- knowing your child lives somewhere and not be allowed into their inner sanctum, nor have the privileges of a primary parent.Have you ever considered that men have reproductive rights and might feel this way, too? Hold all the sob stories for a moment and let's think about it. Men are human and deserve to enjoy all the wonders of parenting too. They also should be allowed to start a life with someone new if they so choose without the overt/covert punishments.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.