Explaining Abortion To My 9 Year Old

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

 Roe being overturned has cast such a dark and uncertain future for so many women in America. Including me. I will not leave my girls in the dark where their futures are concerned. 
I am doing it differently than my parents did. Parenting. I am parenting my children differently than I was parented. This means, having the "uncomfortable" conversations and making sure my kids aren't left in the dark about important concepts, conversations, or even laws that will impact their lives one day (potentially or inevitably) just because I might feel uncomfortable. Lately, a major topic in our household has been the Supreme Court Justice and their ruling -- overturning a 50-year ruling regarding guaranteed constitutional rights to abortion throughout the entire United States of America. I knew showing my outward reactions, emotions, and constant talks of why this reverse ruling is WRONG would require some sort of explanation on my part and on Justin's part, too. So, we did our research -- as we do with everything that involves our children where we might need a little more structured direction. We decided that it was completely okay and actually healthy to have an age-appropriate discussion with our eldest regarding reproductive healthcare rights and specific terminology *abortion* for the first time. 

When I was Ava's age -- no one talked to me about abortion... but then again, no one really talked to me about most things that involve the female reproductive system, sex, menstruating (until I was 12 and had my own menstrual cycle), etc. Those conversations weren't necessarily taboo but I was left to figure things out for myself which probably wasn't always the best thing. I wish my parents would have given me the information I needed to make more educated decisions or at the very least, I wish I would have felt comfortable coming to them about questions pertaining to all of the above. Because I know the harm and confusion a lack of knowledge can present for a growing little person, I vowed to never let my kids be those kids. This concept in parenting has never steered us wrong and has always allowed for a healthy space for dialogue, questions, comments, concerns, etc. The more we share with our kids (again, age-appropriate context and language), the more they understand.. but also, our children know they can trust us to be honest and help them through any big ideas or concerns they might have as well. 

Talking about abortion was so much easier than one might anticipate. I started with what prompted these conversations, we gave textbook definitions of what abortion meant, simply put "when someone is pregnant and chooses they don't want to be pregnant any more for whatever reason" and that was it. We discussed who can actually make the pregnancy not continue anymore "medical professionals" like doctors and we talked about how personal this decision is for every woman. My 9-year-old is no stranger to the fact that she has a mother that is extremely passionate about equality for all human rights, activism for social and political change in the best interests of the people in this country, and speaking UP when something is wrong -- even if no one else is. Justin and I both have modeled examples of being a good human but more than that, a human that exercises their integrity and constitutional rights when something is wrong.

If you have been struggling with how to start these conversations with your children, I urge you to do your research and prepare yourself for your own comfort. Children see and hear so much more than we know and they are so incredibly smart and totally able to handle these conversations. You just have to start one.

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