Every day I hear about another elected official trying to pass a law restricting family planning. It makes me so angry. There's nothing more personal than someone's choices about whether or not to start a family, and what I do with my body should not be up to anyone else. It's not just politicians, though. Everyone seems to have an opinion about everything, from family size, maternal age, and child spacing, to birth control, fertility assistance, and abortion. It needs to stop, because there are more than a few reasons why my family planning is none of your business, or anyone else's for that matter.
First and foremost, it's not your business because it's not your body, your family, or your life. Why do you care what I do with my body or how I live my life? It's not up to you, it doesn't impact you, and it's really not any of your concern. It's also important to remember that life is relative. My partner and I are happy with our family the way it is, honestly, and your opinions about what constitutes an ideal family really don't impact how I feel about the subject.
Also, my pregnancy is not a joke. No one's is. We joke about things like unplanned pregnancy, large families, birth control failure, and "shot gun weddings" all of the time in our culture. Heck, before I became a mom, I used to joke about them, too. However, when you make a joke about someone having a large family you are subtly shaming parents of multiple kids. If this is intentional, that's a really crappy thing to do. Likewise, when you joke about birth control failure, you imply that unintended pregnancy is not a big deal when, for someone else, it might be the worst thing imaginable (or the best surprise ever, depending).
There are so many reasons why my family planning choices are so not anyone else's business, but here are just a few to get you started:
Because It's My Body
Because You Don't Have To Walk In My Shoes
Seriously, you don't have to get pregnant, carry a fetus for 10 months, go through childbirth, or raise my baby. Pregnancy is a big deal and being a parent is about the most important thing I've ever done. You don't get a say because you don't have the life my choices will impact.
Because Life Is Relative
Life is relative. While you might go completely unhinged in a house with five children, most of the time my partner and I are pretty freaking happy with five loud and chaotic kids. Likewise, I am totally OK with other people deciding to be child-free by choice, even though that's not what I would do personally. In other words, to each their own.
Because All People Deserve To Be Able To Choose When And Whether To Become Parents
Whether or not you want to become a parent is seriously such a personal and important choice, maybe even the most important set of choices you'll ever have to or get to make. I'm so glad I decided to wait until my 30s to have kids, while other people love being young parents. People deserve to make these choices on their own, free from judgment and shame.
Because I'm Happy
I am seriously happy with the choices I have made. Your critique of my life is not helpful or kind, and it's so not important to me.
Because It's Not A Joke
I'm talking to you, random stranger in Target, who thought it was funny to direct me to the condom aisle when I was pregnant and herding four children through the store. Shame on you for making me feel embarrassed about something that is neither funny nor worthy of feeling shame about. See also, anyone who asked me if my pregnancy was planned. Comments like that are so cringe-worthy and so not cool.
Because It's Our Family
That's right, it's our family, not yours, and I totally don't care how you feel about it.
Because You Don't Have To Be Pregnant
My last pregnancy was complicated and risky. I was so sick for most of it that I thought I was going to die (and even wanted to at times). Even low-risk pregnancies are a big deal, though, and can be mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing. The choice to get or stay pregnant is not something to be taken lightly, or to be made by anyone but the person who will carry the pregnancy.
Because It's So Personal
There really is nothing more personal than someone's sex life, contraceptive use, or whether they decide to grow a tiny human in their uterus. It's no one's business, let alone a topic that should be politicized.
Because I Don't Care What You Think
I really don't care what you think, and I don't want to hear about it. So, I will ignore you when you share your opinions about my family planning. Unless, that is, I find out you are trying to control my (or anyone else's) family planning choices. If that's the case, well, you will have a fight on your hands, because it's none of your freaking business, and everyone deserves to make family planning choices for themselves and their families.