As an Intimacy Coach who focuses on helping my clients integrate trauma, I wanted to share my thoughts on why it is vital that a government that cares about the health of its people always empower women to have control over our reproduction.

I do not professionally work with children. However, you could say I work every day with the children still suffering inside of my adult clients.

When a client comes in to see me for Intimacy Coaching and says, “I don’t know how to connect”, more often than not our work will guide us towards healing the impact of childhood neglect, abuse and parental misattunement.

Healing of these wounds is possible. And the magnitude of effort required is large.

I myself know that investment well — in finances, time, energy, emotion and social support — as I have been healing from my own childhood traumas alongside my clients the whole time. It’s an expensive endeavor with nearly countless trade offs.

I’m grateful every day for the chance to help my clients heal and to continue healing myself with and through them.

But if I were to look at this preventively, I would point my finger directly in the face of reproductive choice and the factors surrounding that.

I don’t believe it is an overstatement to say that our healthy development depends on whether or not a woman has the choice to parent. The child born to a woman legally forced to have a baby against her own discernment risks paying for their mother’s lack of freedom with their own health. The climate of birth in this instance is one of oppression not freedom. And the bill of that oppression gets passed to the child.

So often, we women choose abortions because we don’t have the support in our lives to do justice to a child’s needs, support in the form of a committed partner, economic stability, safe housing or our own emotional readiness. And the more socially disadvantaged a woman is, the less likely it is that these resources may be in place. A wide and deep array of resources must be intact around us as parents in order to be equipped to attune to the needs of our young. Many of my clients were raised by women who had to juggle single parenting and employment, and by necessity could not slow down to listen to their children’s joys, sorrows, dreams and passions. If we as mothers aren’t supported, it is likely we won’t be able to cultivate the reserves of patience, stamina, compassion, creativity, resilience, receptivity and sheer will needed to see a child successfully to independence.

A vital point to consider in this conversation is the extreme dependence of our young. Let me share from a different angle to make this point.

It is the time of year here on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington where I live when the deer whose herds graze on most village street corners are birthing their babies. Days into their lives, these fuzzy fawns are already wobbling onto their spindly legs and beginning to explore their new grassy terrain. Can you imagine what parenting would be like if our human babies came into the world with a comparable amount of independence? For our young, walking won’t happen until they are 9 months old and typically older. Which is just the beginning. It’s well into a decade of living before little humans can navigate parts of the world by ourselves. And anyone who plays a parental role knows that meaningful involvement in our children’s lives really spans the expanse of our own.

The evolutionary advantage of our complex brains is paralleled by the longest period of developmental dependence by our offspring of any mammal. In order to successfully manage complex reasoning, communication and social interaction, we need stable, reliable, safe parenting to grow healthy brains and healthy nervous systems. To be human, we need healthy, empowered and supported mothers.

The extreme dependence of our children bestows an evolutionary advantage *as long as we get our needs met during these formative stages*.

You see where this is going.

If we do not evolve our awareness about the needs of parents for more institutional support, we will continue to create offspring crippled by the traumas that ensue from misattuned parenting. And as a society we will continue to incur the costs of rampant childhood trauma in the form of violent crime, failed marriages, physical illnesses, addiction and the myriad other social, interpersonal and intrapsychic forms that adult dysfunction can take.

Alternatively, we can learn through the current political debates to weigh the outcomes and choose to hold the act of parenting with reverence as if it was the single most important profession in the industry. We can ensure that each child has parents who are empowered by choice, education and other forms of institutional support. And in so doing, we can invest in healthy adults and profoundly improve the psychological hygiene of our nation.

I believe this act begins with legally ensuring once and for all and without further contest that a woman will choose when she will rear a child and make the investment in that new human’s wellness.

Denying women the chance to *choose* to give up our independence — which is what is required for a time in order to be a mother and immerse in meeting the needs of our dependent young — is the equivalent of pinning our maternal hands behind our backs and leaving our young to starve psychologically. And once grown, those adults will continue to suffer, continue to perpetuate suffering and if they are lucky, eventually continue to need costly healing interventions.

You our leaders must help our mothers be healthy if you want the people of this nation to be healthy. And health always, always necessitated freedom. It was never born of limiting our freedoms.

Please stand with me to protect the right of parents to choose when we parent as part of improving the psychological health of this country. And please share this blog.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash