Monday, September 17, 2007

Can we really be altruistic?

Sometimes I think there is no such thing as altruism. Doing some small good for someone else makes me feel just as good if not better.

Lately, I have felt this strong affinity to help out a young unwed mother, whose family (except her mom) are trying to make her give the baby up for adoption.

A good friend asked me why I felt so strongly about this person and this cause in particular. I can't really think of any one super strong reason, though I have several smaller reasons.

For one, I feel that every child deserves to be celebrated and cherished and every mother - especially new mothers deserve to be honored. And I definitely was the lucky recipient of much love and celebration during my pregnancy and after my daughter's birth.

Another is that I was raised in a church that preached very strongly in favor of adoption when a mother is unwed. While I think that is an option that should certainly be open to a woman - I don't think it is something that should be pushed on people - EVER!! There is just too much at stake to let someone else make that decision for you or even influence you in it. Ideally a woman in this situation will have a good sounding board and people who will be straight with her about the consequences of her choices. Each of us has to live with our decisions, so I think we should take full ownership of them for better or worse. Sorry for the soapbox - I was fed the "free agency" thing while being told what to choose for a little too long and now it makes me angry to see that happening to others.

Perhaps the most compelling reason for me right now, is that I feel like my small contribution towards this young mother and child will actually make a big difference in their lives. And how often do we (and by we I mean human beings) get the opportunity to make a concrete difference in someone's life - especially at such a special life meridian. I really feel like I am the lucky one to find someone truly in need so that I can repay a little of the human kindness shown to me in so many ways big and small.

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