Don't Forget "Choice" Means People Can Choose To Be Parents, Too

Two simple sentences at the end of a Humans Of New York photo of a single mom have rocked the comments section with debate about abortion and reproductive rights.
"They never asked to come here. They were my decision,” ends a thought from a single mother of four grown boys.
She explains in the post that she has been a single mom for most of her life. "But I’ve been a good mother," she said. "I’m going to pat myself on the back for that. It wasn’t easy. I struggled hard."
When she was in her twenties, she and her four kids were kicked out of their home, but she said she made sure that they were always safe, fed, sheltered, and clothed. "They always had bikes and skates. And I kept them busy. I signed them up for everything: karate, basketball, swimming, you name it," she said. "I paid for it all. I didn’t want them spending time in the streets, so I’d work overtime just to keep them busy."
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Making sure that her sons had plenty to do meant that she didn't have much left for herself, she said, but she did it for them. Because they were her decision.
There are more than 6,600 comments on the photo and many of them focus on those four words. Commenters praise her for sacrificing for her kids and say that more parents need to think of their children in this way.
"I love how responsible this mother is. 'They never asked to come here. They were my decision.' Wish every parent would think that, rather than saying things like 'I give you life and everything in your life, you owe me,'" wrote one commenter.
Still others have taken her words as further evidence that pregnant people need a choice as to whether or not they want to stay pregnant — because chosen babies, like this woman's, are loved and cared for.
"'Because they never asked to come here. They were my decision.' And that's why it's so important to have a CHOICE. Children should be WANTED and not just a consequence of sex," wrote one commenter.
As much as we like to think of all children as wanted, the hard truth is that it's just not true. Some parents didn't want their children, and some children can feel when that's so. As this woman's sacrifice for the four boys she did want shows, choice is vital for both parents and kids.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
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