Why all love should be treated equal
Stop the press. It seems the most effective form of contraception for the next generation may not be birth control pills or condoms, but instead, subjecting them to episodes of Call the Midwife.
I didn't hear little Belle creep downstairs after bedtime. I just turned around to find her standing behind me in the kitchen, staring wide-eyed at the Mac. Before I could shut down Netflix, she had witnessed two nuns delivering twins from a sweaty, bellowing woman who looked like she was on the brink of death. I showed her how happy the mother was just seconds afterwards, cradling her newborns and crying happy tears. That made no difference to Belle whatsoever. She announced she was never having children or even a husband for that matter.
Over the next few days, I threw lots of parenting positives at Belle. I would like a sea of grandchildren so I hope she's not scarred for life. The LH pointed out that maybe I should postpone my campaign until after she's graduated ... he has a point. There is plenty of time after all. And, whether my girls pick a husband (or a wife) isn't really a major concern. I just want them to be happy. Isn't that what we all want for our kids?
If I was honest with Belle, I would tell her that childbirth is the least of her worries. Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done and although the highs are amazing and worth it, the lows test our limits in a whole new way.
When I was pregnant with Chloe I had a threatened miscarriage — enter parenting fear number one and she wasn't even born. Are they healthy? Are they safe? Are they eating enough or too much? Are they comfortable at school? Playing well with their friends? How's their confidence, self-worth, independence, body image? We do our best but also recognise the number of external factors beyond our control. The news over the last few weeks has endorsed that again and again. Gun crime in Bermuda, the Stanford rape case, the Orlando shootings ... what if the victims were our own children?
I'm sure you've felt it, too. The overwhelming and unbearable sadness on hearing that kind of news, compounded by “what if that was my child”? It brings the little things into perspective and we realise there are few things that matter more than our children giving and receiving kindness and love. That's what it really boils down to isn't it? The joys will be more joyous and the hardships more bearable if there is lots of kindness and lots of love.
Earlier this week, I almost got into a debate with a client about Bermuda's gay marriage referendum and the No, No v Yes, Yes debate. I pulled back because I know she feels strongly about it and that challenging her reasoning might impact her decision to continue to work with me. I wanted to make a stand for what I believed, but I pulled back because I have bills to pay. It happened previously in an interview, too.
Before we started, I asked my interviewer their opinion because it was front-page news in The Royal Gazette on his desk. The reply went something like: “It's all wrong ... I just don't like the idea of two hairy-assed men being together.” I wanted to say “ ... but what if it was two beautiful women?” I am pretty sure there would have been a wry smile. But I didn't get into it, I backed away.
I thought I'd change that now. The bills haven't disappeared ... in fact our boiler just blew up and had to be replaced, but such is life. And here's the thing. I just don't understand the No, No perspective. If we would celebrate a female friend falling in love with and marrying a man, would we really not be happy for them if their partner was a woman? Would we deny them the right to the same social recognition, protection and rituals? Would we rather “fix” them or turn our backs? What does that say about our friendship? What does that say about us?
I hear arguments that marriage was intended by God to be between one man and one woman. But if we are using the Bible as a guide, what about polygamy, stoning, slavery, subordination of women ... aren't there passages in the Bible that condone those things, too?
Also, why are we bending the rules to allow for divorce and remarriage, but not bending the rules to accept same-sex partnerships? Saying these relationships are somehow perverse seems offensive and ignorant to me. Although being gay is not a choice, everyone has their own yardstick for what exactly they accept as “normal” or “perverse” and things change as the decades roll by. Fifty Shades of Grey normalised butt-plugs and silver balls for goodness sake ... what would your great-great-grandmother have made of that?!
Surely, what goes on between consenting adults shouldn't be of any concern to anyone else?
When it comes to legal civil unions, while (in my view) having them would be preferable to not having any legal recognition at all, it's not equal. Separate is NOT equal. Marriage is no longer a religious domain, we use it universally in social law and as such (regardless of religious viewpoint) religion should surely not dictate access to marriage. Above all, imagine saying to your child that you don't accept their legal right to participate in society as an equal. Your love is not worthy. Your love is ungodly. Your love is less.
I couldn't. Could you?
• The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is the managing director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Note she is not a registered dietitian. For details, go to www.natural.bm or call 236-7511. Join Catherine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrifitandnaturalnutritionbermuda