So says feminist writer Lynn Beisner. She says this is not the typical I wish I were dead pleading, but a simple observation of how her mother's life would be greatly improved had she never been born.
An abortion would have absolutely been better for my mother. An abortion would have made it more likely that she would finish high school and get a college education. At college in the late 1960s, it seems likely she would have found feminism or psychology or something that would have helped her overcome her childhood trauma and pick better partners. She would have been better prepared when she had children. If nothing else, getting an abortion would have saved her from plunging into poverty. She likely would have stayed in the same socioeconomic strata as her parents and grandparents who were professors. I wish she had aborted me because I love her and want what is best for her.
Apparently her mother has had a very difficult life and having her just made those difficulties worse. But there is a great deal of jumping to conclusions in her theory. She says that her mother could have stayed in the socioeconomic strata as her grandparents. But she goes on to tell the story of how her mother was abused as a child, had a brain injury as a child, and her grandmother committed suicide when her mother was still in grade school. Her mother was also a child rape victim.
She believes that her mother wasn't strong enough to give her child up for adoption, so abortion would be the answer that makes sense. Her mother has led a very tragic life and Ms. Beisner believes that her presence in her mother's life was the reason she never was able to get the help that she needed to be happier. If only her mother found feminism, she wouldn't have been sexually exploited. Because heaven knows women today that consider themselves feminists are not sexually exploited.
As a child her mother abused her, she watched men sexually exploit her due to her poverty, and her childhood was an all around mess.
With that constellation of factors, there was a very high statistical probability that my mother would be an abusive parent, that we would spend the rest of our lives in crushing poverty, and that we would both be highly vulnerable to predatory organisations and men. And that is exactly what happened. She abused me, beating me viciously and often. We lived in bone-crushing poverty, and our little family became a magnet for predatory men and organisations. My mother found minimal support in a small church, and became involved with the pastor who was undeniably schizophrenic, narcissistic and sadistic. The abuse I endured was compounded by deprivation. Before the age of 14, I had never been to a sleepover, been allowed to talk to a friend on the phone, eaten in a restaurant, watched a television show, listened to the radio, read a non-Christian book, or even worn a pair of jeans.
It doesn't seem to occur to her that all those things could have happened to her mother anyway. It seems to me that her mother also have mental health issues, probably passed down from her grandmother. Her grandfather didn't seem all that interested in helping his young daughter or granddaughter for that matter. Abortion wouldn't have made her grandfather a better parent, would it? Her mother still had to survive all the odds that were stacked against her.
Sadly, according to her, her mother is still desperately unhappy to the point that they are unable to have a relationship. But, the writer has been able to find her way out of the circumstances that she found herself growing up in. She is happily married and raising two children of her own. She has found stability in her life and happiness. But she still believes that her life is a net loss.
The world would not be a darker or poorer place without me. Actually, in terms of contributions to the world, I am a net loss. Everything that I have done – including parenting, teaching, researching, and being a loving partner – could have been done as well, if not better by other people. Any positive contributions that I have made are completely offset by what it has cost society to help me overcome the disadvantages and injuries of my childhood to become a functional and contributing member of society.
What the writer is really saying is that poor children really don't contribute much to society; in fact they cost society, so there is no point in having them around. The truth is poverty is far from the only indicator of child abuse. There are many reasons why people abuse their children and it reaches through all strata of the economic ladder. The insulting nature of this story is that any child that has the misfortune of having an abusive parent should be cast aside. They are too much work.
There is just as much of a chance that the only reason her mother didn't commit suicide was because she had a daughter. Just because a parent is abusive, it doesn't mean they don't love their child. I am no way justifying that behavior, I am just saying that being troubled, doesn't mean you don't have the capacity to love. What it truly means is that you don't have the capacity to show it in a healthy and balanced way.
The most tragic part of all of this, is that she doesn't believe that her children deserved a chance at life. I am not sure how old her children are, but they have a lot of life yet to live. Who knows what contribution they are going to make to the world in their futures. Without her, obviously her children would never have born. It is a cold thing to say about your own children. A very cold thing.
***Her children and her discussed this article before she wrote it, and they are ok with it. Ugh.