From time to time I like to share this space, my space, as I call it, with articles and writings that I consider to be worth reading. This particular piece made me ask the question: Does life imitate art or does art imitate life. You decide after reading it. One other point to ponder is what part do we play in the blessing or cursing of another’s life? Bobby R. Henry, Sr., Publisher
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” James 3:9 (NIV)
By Kevin Palmer
Conception roulette is having unprotected sex. Likewise, Emily’s parents were going around and around having unprotected sex until there was conception. The parent’s gamble was the child’s loss. The short story, ‘I Stand Here Ironing,” written by Tillie Olsen, could be a case study for why certain humans should not have reproductive organs.
In the story, Emily’s biological parents were morally bankrupt and selfish, especially her mother. The mother’s moral lapse was not thinking about the consequences before sexual gratification. One major consequence was giving birth to a child when unprepared financially and emotionally. This lack of preparation needlessly subjected the child to a life of physical and emotional distress. The mother was totally responsible for Emily’s issues because she was selfish, knew of her poor economic situation, and chose to have additional children.
On the other hand, it can be argued, no one is perfect. That includes Emily’s mother. Furthermore, there were extenuating circumstances outside of her control. There was the economy and a sorry man who ran off. Therefore, perhaps the mother is not totally responsible for her child’s physical deprivation and impaired emotional development. Emily’s mother did not cause the economic depression. Like everyone else, she was at the mercy of the economy.
Moreover, it could be argued she did not get pregnant on purpose. At the time, there was no artificial birth control available. The only birth control available was abstinence. When abstinence fails, pregnancy does happen. However, once born, her mother provided as best she could for the child. Sadly, Emily’s mother was young, poorly educated, and in-experienced in parenting a child. On top of that, the biological father was a little more than worthless. Therefore, the mother assumed all responsibility for raising Emily. Conversely, she had to assume all of the blame. Emily’s issues began when her mother decided to allow an unreliable man to penetrate her reproductive portal and ejaculate. The after affect was fertilization and conception. After conception it was all downhill for Emily. A newborn baby imitates flawed adults. Every adult has some type of emotional issue which is passed on to impressionable children. For this reason, the buck of blame for Emily’s issues stops at her mother. To be fair, at one time Emily’s mother was a newborn baby who imitated a flawed human. Like the rest, she absorbed and imitated a human’s bad habits. As such, she was taught irresponsible behavior and how to make poor decisions. However, she never learned how not to repeat the same irresponsible behavior and poor decisions. Naturally, she passed on these flaws to her children. Unfortunately, Emily was her first victim. The short story is just an extended explanation of how Emily became an emotional basket case courtesy of her mother.
Unfortunately, Emily’s issues began with a selfish decision by her mother which led to a pregnancy. Her biological parents were ignorant and selfish. They were ignorant for not realizing bringing a child into an economically unstable world would not be a good idea. They were selfish for not contemplating the possibility of making a baby as they proceeded to satisfy their sexual lust. Once in the throes of passion, the responsibilities of raising a child did not matter.
What mattered at the time was achieving ejaculation and orgasm. Hence, Emily’s birth was no accident. Her birth was the outcome of the reproductive process initiated by her biological parents. The beginning of the reproductive process was consensual sexual intercourse. The story did not mention anything about Emily’s mother being forcibly raped. No, Emily’s birth was the result of young, sexually excited humans who were irresponsible. Therefore, Emily’s mother standing over an ironing board babbling a diatribe of poor me rhetoric does not absolve her of responsibility for Emily’s issues. Emily is blameless. She did not initiate her own reproductive process in the midst of a depressed economy. Nor, did she choose her biological parents. Therefore, Emily is deserving of sympathy. Her mother is deserving of contempt.
Ignoring the consequences, Emily’s mother knew of her impoverished economic situation and still chose to be sexually irresponsible. The economy was in the midst of a depression. A depression is a major downsizing in the business cycle that is characterized by sharply reduced industrial production, widespread unemployment, serious declines in construction activity, and great reductions in international trade and capital movements. Therefore, the mother is to blame for raising a child alone during severe economic conditions. It was not Emily’s fault her mother chose to get impregnated by a good for nothing man. Blaming the difficult times, her biological fat-her decided to leave and not help raise his eight month old daughter. His decision was no surprise. He was the same despicable character who repeatedly humped on and eventually impregnated Emily’s mother. The problem was Emily’s mother chose to focus on his well-endowed manhood and not his flawed character. Her main focus was a few moments of sexual gratification. Now, less than a year old, Emily must be left with an uncaring neighbor while mother hustles for work. There is little time for mother and child to bond during the formative years. Insecurity takes root in the child. From this point forward, Emily is handed over to emotionally unstable adults who abuse and traumatize children. They care only about the money, not the children. That is why negligently getting pregnant during a depression sets up the child for a difficult childhood. For a single person it is difficult enough to make ends meet. It is much worse when you add the responsibilities of raising a child. Furthermore, in addition to food, clothing, and shelter, the child requires a parent’s time for emotional development.
Unfortunately, as the first child, Emily bore the brunt of her mother’s parental inexperience and bad decision making. Nevertheless, the stress of raising a child alone and the emotional distress inflicted upon Emily was not enough to dis-courage her mother from giving birth to more children. Once again, the need to satisfy lust overruled reason, leading to mindless sexual intercourse. As a result, the reproductive process was initiated, resulting in more children and more opportunity to neglect Emily.
Unmoved by her parenting mistakes, which negatively impacted Emily’s development, the mother decided to have more children. This meant she had even less quality time to devote to Emily. Therefore, Emily continued to ride the emotional rollercoaster and become even more withdrawn, frail, and psychologically unstable. Undeterred, the mother forged ahead with giving birth to more children. She believed herself to be a better parent and the other children would not suffer as much as Emily. She was having children for practice without considering the negative effect upon the emotional development of her children. Shallow and vain, she thought being fertile and possessing a womb gave her the right to have multiple babies regardless of her economic circumstances. Sadly, when women believe such foolishness, it is the children who are cursed and suffer. Therefore, Emily’s curse was having a mother who believed in such irresponsible drivel. What was in the best interest of her first born child did not matter. By her actions, the mother believed the first born was expendable fodder. In effect, Emily was used as her mother’s parental crash dummy. For this reason, no amount of excuses and rationalizations will justify the actions of a mother who knowingly condemns a child to a difficult life upon birth.
The attitude of women like Emily’s mother is why draconian options such as forced sterilization and abortion exist in the world.
In the final analysis, mind-less sex, a bad economy, and a breeding mentality appear to be the major factors which contributed to a troubled first born child. On top of that, the mother’s impoverished circumstances, negligence, and parental inexperience negatively impacted Emily’s physical and emotional development. Her poor nutrition and unsanitary environment most likely contributed to her daughter’s frequent illnesses. Furthermore, the mother’s emotional neglect led to Emily’s episodes of not wanting to be touched. All of these factors combined to stunt her cognitive ability to learn as a normal child in her age group. Moreover, her mother deciding to have more children only added to Emily’s feelings of neglect. More children meant less attention for Emily. However, the root cause of Emily’s issues was her mother’s reckless attitude toward sexual gratification. In hindsight the mother admitted to the error of her ways. In her own words she admitted her inexperience, poor judgement, and poverty were factors in shaping her daughter’s troubled disposition. The mother taking ownership for damaging her daughter was commendable, but it was too late for Emily. Her admission does not erase the effects of the past, nor lessen her daughter’s emotional pain. In addition, the mother’s admission does nothing to address irresponsible sexual behavior which is the root cause of Emily’s troubled life. After experiencing the challenges and traumas with her first child, the mother’s irresponsible sexual behavior did not cease. As a result, she gave birth to a second, third, and fourth child.
Fortunately, the other children benefitted from the mother’s improved parenting skills acquired at Emily’s expense. The siblings were blessed, Emily was cursed.