It's in the news today that Elizabeth Edwards has died. In story after story, she is quickly described as a devoted mother, a champion for healthcare, fighter against cancer and as the estranged wife of a cheating, love-child creating man.
Although I know little about her, it sounds like everyone loves her. She is good. And I'm sure, for many who knew her well, or for those who supported her, this is a sad time, and legitimately so.
When I read the stories, what felt the most charged to me was how the news stories spoke of her estranged husband, his affairs and his love-child.
It bothers me that things are so simple, so black and white, with him labeled as an evil man and her as a saint. To be honest, the public knows little about their relationship or what motivated either of them.
When the Tiger Woods story came out, it took several friends several hours to convince me that powerful men sleep around simply because they can. Motivated by power and a desire for sex, and in the position to easily have it, they do.
Honestly, when my friends first tried to make this clear to me, I was like, "No, way. All people are looking for connection, for relationships, for intimacy that they, for one reason or another, don't have." My friends were like,"Uh, no." I guess I was looking at it through my own rose colored glasses.
To take another step, it is really disappointing to me how judgmental people are. Even at one democratic mom's blog that I like to read, MOMocrats, Stephanie Himel-Nelson refers to John Edwards as, "a complete asshat and a poor excuse for a human being". The implication being that the collective everyone understands that his extramarital relationship(s) define him in this way.
It's no wonder that children who are born under similar circumstances never come to know who they really are and where they came from. It's also no wonder that pregnancies that come from non-traditional interactions still carry so much SHAME.
Considering the fact that millions of babies come into being under non-traditional circumstances, I think it might serve us better if we could look deep inside and look all around, and accept each other. I don't think any child deserves to be lied to about where they came from. And, I think any adult who cares for a child who came to them through a less direct route, but who cares for them and loves them, deserves to be out of the closet and proud. And supported.
I also think this touches on the shame and judgment we, collectively as members of this community, place on the women who become pregnant out of wedlock, who may or may not choose to continue their pregnancies. When there is such an aura of negativity surrounding something, it encourages people to live a lie. And as we learned in kindergarten, lies beget lies, and damage everyone.
People have sex. Sex makes babies. Aren't we beyond burning witches at the stake yet?