Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

The Sacred Choice

By Leslie Ahuvah Fails

“Mothers are able to dream in phenomenal ways. They understand transformation unlike anyone else. Perhaps we should begin to create the space and support for them to dream. Imagine what might happen. Imagine.”
—Rachel Yoder

There’s something inherently queer about motherhood. Not “queer” as in a pejorative term for something strange or unusual, or an outdated insult for LGBTQIA+ people. Queer as in that-which-inspires-awe, an experience that reshuffles our notions of what it means to be a human being. Queer is limitless, ever opening, expanding.

A newborn infant lies on a bed next to their mother, whose torso reveals stretch marks and other signs of recently giving birth.

Queer changes everything. Wherever you reside on the sacred spectra of sexuality and gender, creating new life is an inherently queer experience. Speaking for myself, carrying my children transformed my body and mind in ways that I am still trying to understand.

After a lightning-fast, two-hour labor with my son—through which I laughed, screamed, and bargained with God in equal measure—I found myself the proud owner of a heart newly broken open with joy… and a body that feels just plain broken. Certain foods I used to love now make me sick at the mere thought of them, and sometimes my left leg feels like it’s going to pop out of its socket. Despite adhering to an epic regimen of pre- and post-natal vitamins, the act of gestating and then breastfeeding two children has done a serious number on my dental health.

If I didn’t understand it before birthing two children, now I know it in my bones: Motherhood must be a choice. It cannot be chosen for us. To force any person to undergo this transformation against their will is an act of unspeakable cruelty. As legislators and judiciaries across the United States seem to be salivating over the opportunity to revoke the right of pregnant people to access abortion care, I sit vigil with every one of us who knows both the joy and the pain of this transformation.

You are sacred. Your choice to give birth, your choice to end a pregnancy, your conflicted feelings, your confident decision: each of them, sacred. Your choice is sacred.

Prayer

Holy Mama Bear who guards us fiercely, protect us in our times of transformation. Help us as we continue the generations-long fight to ensure access to reproductive choice.

About the Author

Leslie Ahuvah Fails

Rev. Leslie Ahuvah Fails (she/her/hers) is the pastor of the UU Fellowship of Fairbanks, Alaska, and has also served as a hospital chaplain. She writes with brevity on Twitter (@RevLeslieAF) and at length on Medium (medium.com/@RevLeslieAF).

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