Pro-Life IS Pro-Women

Perhaps I have finally discovered a label to describe myself – a pro-life feminist. At first glance theses two terms seem to oppose each other but true feminism is not the antithesis of motherhood or a pro-life stance. Contrary to standard stereotypes, one is pro-woman  precisely when one is pro-life. My story is simply a witness of a woman who discovered a liberation as a mother of a large family.0c180aa198ec631a5356b97d097eab45

I am a conundrum because I am a joyful mother of nine children. I feel vilified by modern environmentalists as well as ‘feminist’ career women and of course beatified by the religious right at the same time. Most people of all persuasions, expect me to appear haggard and  filled with regret or unfulfilled dreams

. For example, when a journalist interviewed me for an article on Mother’s Day a few years ago for our city’s major paper, she asked me if I ever regretted not using my degree to pursue a career. I simply stared at her in shock  for a few moments, my mind blank.  “No”, I finally replied, “ the thought never entered my mind”. It was then the journalist’s turn to stare at me in shock for a few minutes.

I realize that  I surprise people when they first meet me; their eyebrows shoot up, their mouths drop open, and they sputter,

You had nine children?”

This is because I am 5’ 1” and weigh 108 pounds. I was pregnant or nursing for eighteen years without a break. Even though I’ve lived through ten pregnancies, I am healthy, remain quite articulate, and have a quirky sense of humour.  This challenges the typical image of a woman of a large family as a grim battle­axe, efficiently marshaling her young charges with little time to coddle the poor, deprived dears. Surprisingly, I discovered fulfillment precisely as a mother of a large family.

By all outward appearances, I’m an old-fashioned sort of woman, a stay-at-home mother who raised her children on a small family farm, supposedly the antithesis of a  feminist. Embracing such an outdated lifestyle has meant struggling with confusion, guilt, and a perceived sense of public disapproval.

Of course, not everyone can stay at home these days with their kids. Not everyone is called to mother a large family but every woman should understand the tragedy of abortion. I have witnessed the life destroying effects of abortion on friends who have struggled to move past grief  and guilt for decades after;  abortion  destroys not only the life of the unborn but has unforeseen repercussions in the life of the mother. The effects are even more far-reaching because abortion is an injustice that affects all of society.

I don’t have all the answers. What would I have done if my thirteen-year-old had become pregnant? Yet, I do know that life does begun at conception. I simply wish to express that motherhood is a feminist career and abortion is not pro-women.

Read an insightful article on how feminism has evolved and how the author changed after marriage and motherhood in an article by Patty Perowski which she linked to this post


17 thoughts on “Pro-Life IS Pro-Women

  1. While I don’t agree with all that you have said, I do appreciate your perspective and your articulation of it. Wish you were closer so we could chit chat more in person. Actually, we have lots to talk beyond this. Hope you are doing well.


  2. Pingback: Mother of Nine |
  3. Hi Melanie, please pray for us. I’ve just asked Scott Hahn if he would speak at our Catholic Arts Conference. The New Evangelization fits very well with what we are trying to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel sad that you feel vilified by career feminists but I understand where that feeling comes from, I am not religious and I would consider myself pro-choice. I think I probably identify with was it Clinton’s line that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare”?

    I would like to see more support for women facing this difficult decision.

    I also believe abortion is the last of the great taboo topics, I don’t think women honestly discuss their experiences and I agree with you that in some instances there is grief involved. I hope that grief isn’t incited by the women’s religious beliefs making them feel they had done something wrong.

    I think that women who freely make their own decision on going ahead with a termination and are confident that they made the right choice for them at that moment of their life would struggle less in the long-term. However, I think if a woman feels any pressure to go ahead when it really isn’t what she truly wants would be at risk of ongoing grief and sadness.

    There has been a lot of debate here in Australia in the past on whether a pro-life stance means a woman can’t be a feminist. I think it’s one of the issues which makes the labeling of feminism problematic. I don’t want anyone excluded from the discussion and I also get angry when women’s mothering and stay at home experiences are discounted as not relevant.

    Thank you for making me think about this topic, thank you for all your beautiful support for my blog and sorry for hijacking this post with such a lengthy comment. xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this kind of hijacking- your response is written with your typical warmth, heart and intelligence. I agree with much of what you say, that at this point in society, Clinton’s response would be a feasible goal- Abortion should be rare- with lots of support for women in all stages of pregnancy. Perhaps if pro-life concentrated on support rather than fighting prochoice, more abortions would be prevented


  5. Somewhere along the line, feminism and pro-choice got linked. Feminism should empower women to act, pursue, strive, and be as we are designed: as individual and as beautiful as the flowers oIf the field. That includes pro-life, stay-at-home, small family, no family, large family.

    I came from a family of nine. My intelligent, witty, giving, discerning mother is reaping the benefits of her long-term investment. That said, I know people who recognize their own mothers were not cut out for motherhood.

    I am about as pro-life as a person can be, and I support programs at every stage of life that recognize the value of life.

    Thank you Melanie Jean for voicing your position so eloquently.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great article. I am a mother of 6, and my children have not hindered my passions or goals at all… If anything, they are actually the inspiration for me to pursue them. I agree with the things you said in this piece.


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