I was cleaning the kitchen, the TV on in the background, the faces of glitz and glam celebrities flashing across the screen, the sounds of applause filling the room as the Golden Globes played.
I’m a sucker for awards shows. I don’t know those celebrities, and we probably wouldn’t be friends, but I’ve watched their shows and movies and I enjoy the fanfare of passing out trophies to millionaires.
But I don’t think I’ll be watching those award shows anymore. Not because the acceptance speeches are usually agenda-driven or because they’ve lost their luster and humor as the telecast has gotten longer.
I don’t think I’ll watch them anymore because most of the people in the room seem to think that I, and my husband, and any parents, really, are fools. Fools for choosing to be parents. Fools for not choosing secular success over family.
Michelle Williams, an actress I’ve long liked for her work in my favorite teen drama, “Dawson’s Creek,” accepted the award for best actress in a limited series. She stood in front her colleagues and announced, with gusto and pride, that she was only able to achieve this honor and win this (or any) award because she had employed her right to choose.
“Choose what,” I first thought. Then I realized: She chose to have an abortion. She chose to end the life of her child. She is making the claim that pregnancy is something that happens “to you” and therefore something that you are able to then choose to end, and this is a right all women should fight to keep. Because if the right to have an abortion doesn’t exist, then women would somehow not have the chance, or right, to be successful in any other area of life.
The crowd applauded her, and her friends in the audience wept with pride. She stood there beaming as she held a golden trophy and made it clear that in her opinion, any woman who wants to be successful and receive accolades should avoid having children, because those babies will simply hold you back from your dreams and prevent you from achieving anything.
She stepped off the stage. I turned off the television.
How sad and demented, that our world has fed us the lie that women are incapable of raising a family and having a career. How pathetic and lazy, that our world proclaims that women must sacrifice motherhood if they want to work, or they must never work should they wish to be mothers.
For a world so determined to proclaim that women can do anything, and that women deserve everything, that world sure seems to think that “do anything” and “deserve everything” could never possibly apply to that woman when she is also a mother.
The world says we women can choose — but we have to choose either/or … never both. We can choose — but that choice is offered to us with the line, “have the kid, but you’ll probably lose everything else.”
Michelle Williams exercised her right to choose. She chose to end the life of an innocent child … her innocent child. I’m praying for her. Praying for her healing, because I’m sure there’s sadness there, whether she’s shown it or not. Praying for her conversion, that she come to recognize the evil of abortion. Praying she comes to see, in the words of St. Teresa of Kolkata, that it is a true pity to sacrifice the life of your child just so you can live as you wish.
And I, as a woman, also exercise my right to choose: to choose to find balance, to choose to find joy in both motherhood and my career, and to choose to recognize the value and goodness that children bring into women’s lives rather than see them as a burden or impediment to my dreams.
Katie Prejean McGrady is an international Catholic speaker and author.