Being Pro-Choice Does Not Mean Pro-Abortion

March 20, 2008
The ignorance of people really does amaze me.  Now I am not going to lump all of those who are pro-life into one category because I do actually respect the various opinions.  I can understand, to a limited extent, where their opinions are coming from.  But what of the ones who think abortion is wrong, but think its ok when the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest….doesn’t this make them a hypocrite?  Wouldn’t the resulting embryo/fetus be just as innocent?  Considering I am pro-choice, I support fully a woman or girl obtaining an abortion to terminate a pregnancy that resulted from rape, but I also support a woman to be able to obtain an abortion for elective reasons.  Go ahead and bash me.  I’m used to it.  I’ve dealt with the ignorance of the zealous pro-lifers.  I’ve visited a women’s clinic three times in my life.  Only once was for an elective abortion. 

Contrary to popular pro-life belief, those of us who have obtained abortions were not irresponsible young women looking for an easy way out as soon as we found out we were pregnant.  I hate it when I hear someone say that all women who get abortions do so for selfish reasons, one of which even said aborting a rape pregnancy because the mother couldn’t handle it was “selfish”.  Had this girl been face to face with me, I would have smacked her.  We don’t go around having unprotected sex with the plan to abort if we become pregnant.  Contraceptive failure happens.  Rape happens.  Accidents with other sexual actions happen.  And when you find yourself faced with an unplanned pregnancy, your whole world changes.  I can only tell you my experience.  I cannot speak for others.  I’ve not walked in their shoes. 

When one contemplates abortion, it is not something taken lightly.  That is another myth amongst the pro-life crowd.  They assume as soon as the test reads positive, we think “Oh, I’m just gonna get rid of it.”  NOT TRUE.  We do weigh our options.  We do consider other paths.  Sometimes the abortion makes sense at that point in our life, sometimes the others paths are blocked and the abortion is the only route left available.

I stumbled across a pro-life website that had a list of abortion “facts”.  Top of the list was “abortion is legal thru all nine months for any reason”.  UNTRUE.  A woman who is 7 or 8 months pregnant cannot just go to a doctor and say she doesn’t want it anymore.  They will give her referrals for adoption, but that is it.  Termination is not an option.  And for those of us who are pro-choice, we do not support abortion on viable babies.  Yes, I say baby.  Once they can live outside the mother, they’re a baby.  They’re nervous system and brain is fully formed.  They’re conscious.  They’re aware.  Want to discuss whether its murder or not, wait until then.  But within the first 12-15 weeks?  Sorry, but emotion and guilt trips will not sway me or others who think like me.

I understand my words will not change views.  Keep in mind that a person who is pro-choice is not pro-abortion.  We support a woman’s right to choose what is best at the time.  We support her right to decide to terminate.  We support her right to decide to carry to term and parent.  We support her right to decide to carry to term and relinquish for adoption.  And no women should feel obligated to carry a pregnancy to term for someone else.  Let her carry to term with adoption in mind because she WANTS to do it.  Women are not incubators, you cannot expect a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy because someone else wants it.   Let her do it because she wants to.  Instead of all of us fighting amongst who is right or who is wrong, maybe we should work together to bring better sex education to our young people, contraceptives that are 100% effective.  Quit saying “Just don’t have sex”.  That’s not getting us anywhere.  It never has.  Whether a person is single, married, young or old, we will not abstain from sex just to avoid getting pregnant.  Better sexual education (not that crap that abstinence only groups spew), better contraceptives….I don’t want to see abortions criminalized.  Making them illegal will only cause more women to find ways to do it themselves or thru unlicensed butchers, and end up doing more damage than intended.  No, I refuse to allow it to be criminalized.  I am happy with the restrictions and regulations on late term abortions….but to criminalize all stages would be disasterous.  I don’t want to see all abortions become illegal.  I want to see better education and better health services so those numbers can be REDUCED.

I’m a Natural Mother, NOT a Birthmother

March 20, 2008

This is who I am. It is not something I am proud of, but it is not something I am shamed of, either. I made this decision with a heavy heart, in spite of my admittance of never wanting a second child. Not a day goes by that I do not think about her. She is rarely spoken of in my home, except between me and my four year old daughter I am raising. My mother doesn’t want to be confronted with it and my dad…well, you know how some men are. He will never admit it, but I think he truly does miss her too. The pain never leaves. Some days it is simply dull, like an old wound slowly healing. But this loss will never heal the way it should. Yes, I made this decision with a sound mind. Yes, I pursued it all without pressure or coersion. This does not mean I am uncaring or unloving. I love both my daughters. Yes, she is still MY daughter. Nothing can take that away. I talked to her while she was still in my belly. Her big sister talked to her while she was still in my belly. I gave birth to her. No legal piece of paper take away my title as her MOTHER. If you are offended that I dare call my relinquished child MINE…so fucking what! She is still MINE. She is only legally someone else’s. I have my good days and I have my bad days. Today is one of those bad days. I should not have to act like she does not exist to me anymore just to make someone else happy. No MOTHER should have to move on, forget about their child and act like their child never existed just to help some infertile couple keep up the “as if born to” farce. You cannot mold the adopted child to be more like you! Much of their personality is genetic, whether you want to believe it or not. An adopter in one of my groups was offended that we dared to call ourselves “natural mothers”. Funny how they hate that. They go on about how it makes them look “unnatural”. Well, sorry, honey, but it is. And we call ourselves that because we are naturally their mothers. “Birth” mother is offensive as hell to many of us. It implies that our sole purpose was incubator. It means that our only connection to our child was to simply give birth to them. Adopters are happy with that word because many of them feel that is our only purpose: Incubate THEIR baby and then drop off the face of the planet…don’t dare interfere or ask for contact. Perhaps if they honor their open adoption agreements, we would leave them alone. Of course they’re fine with open adoption until it’s inconvenient to them or it makes them insecure. So, in closing…..I am not a birthmother. I am a MOTHER. I am a NATURAL MOTHER. And I don’t give a rat’s ass if an adopter finds this offensive. Truth hurts, doesn’t it?????

Dysfunctional Marriage, Dysfunctional Family

January 4, 2008

     I’m 29 years old, I have a four year old daughter, and for the past year I have been residing with my parents.  It wasn’t always like this.  Back in the summer of 2001, I was getting married to a man I thought I loved.  He was flawed, much like me.  But the flaws ran deeper than I had thought and begun to show as our marriage progressed.  A year and a half later, I found out I was pregnant with our daughter.  After her birth, everything slowly began to disintegrate.  My daughter was the best thing that ever happened to me.  I was no longer worried about him or his needs.  What mattered was HER.  He resented the fact that she was my priority.  I know this now based off his actions during the final months of our marriage.  But I jump ahead.  He may have been 27, 28 years old, but he was still stuck on some perpetual adolescence.  Hanging out with kids that were still teenagers, helping one of them by hiding stolen property in our home while I was at work.   But when he was faced with the fact that I was going to leave him, he used our child against me.  Constant threats of CPS taking her.  Telling me that no one would believe that I had nothing to do with the stolen property and would take her from me anyway.  “She’s marketable, do you think they won’t hesitate to take her so they can make money?”  Why did I believe him?  Why did I allow him to drag her and me across the country to where we knew no one?  Why did I allow him to treat her and I the way he did?  He felt that he should have been priority over her.  How selfish is that?  Constant accusatons of cheating.  The normal biological happenings of women being used as ammo to accuse me of cheating.  The constant rants of how I wasn’t a good mother.  Either I was too soft or too hard with her.  But always it was my responsibility to “shut her up” when she was disciplined.  He never lifted a finger to help with our child.  And in those final months of our marriage, after five and a half years, I found out I was pregnant with our second child.  More accusations of cheating.  More accusations of how the child could not possibly be his since it took “three years to knock (me) up”.

     My daughter and I fled the home after he went to work.  We caught a flight that morning and flew home to our homestate (this had all been arranged weeks prior).  I had about $400 cash, some boxes, and two suitcases.  I was exhausted.  Three months pregnant with a three year old child in tow.  Cross country flight.  I was beat.

  As the months progressed, I tried to get excited about the new arrival.  Even when I had found out it was going to be a girl.  My daughter and I had picked out a name.  Aleecya Irene.  But nothing could shake the feeling of being too overwhelmed.  My dad’s occasional remarks: “You can barely handle “M”, how the hell do you expect to handle a baby?”  Cracks on my parenting skills: “She needs her hair brushed.  Be a mom and take care of it!”  And again, I was either too hard or not hard enough.  When I did discipline and she cried, then I had to listen to my dad rant and rave about the lack of peace and quiet since we moved back in.  But if I did nothing, he would jump all over me about how “she gets away with everything and I allow it.”  I wanted to scream: “Make up your fucking mind, you god-damned hypocrite!  You scream and holler about when she cries and you scream and holler when I do nothing just so you can have some damned peace and quiet!”  Did he expect her to be just likee some little robot that did what was told without argument?  Sounds an awful lot like my ex husband.  News flash, she’s a pre-schooler.  No 3-4 year old I know has ever done what they were told without some fight in them.  If they do, they’re emotionally damaged from improper parenting.  Too many nights of hearing my dad critique my parenting and too many days of family reminding me of what little life I would have after the new baby’s birth.  My hands would be full.  No life outside of work and children.  How could I devote my time and energy to an infant if I had an older child who wanted my attention too?  How could I keep a job if I had two sick children to care for on a constant basis?  How could I even contemplate affording child care, even with state assistance?  I would get stuck on assistance for years.  How could I be a good mom to two children if I was constantly gone at work and then too tired and worn out to spend time with them?  With these questions going through my head, I finally figured out something that I had always known, but had never wanted to admit it:  I was simply emotionally unprepared for the new arrival.   I could barely provide a stable home for one child.  There was no way I could provide stability for two.

    I was seven month pregnant when I started the adoption plan.  Two weeks later, I met and decided on B and J, a wonderful couple who had tried hard to have children of their own but could not.  I gave them any info I could find on my family’s health history.  Every bizarre infliction, every disease known.  I discovered we were quite a sickly family.  Diabetes, cancer, some affliction to the stomach valve that keeps it from passing food to the intestines (usually found at birth, my grandfather, my father and myself had it), some mental disorders that luckily were not genetic but environmental.  I was almost scared they would back out due to fear that the baby would be born all sorts of screwed up.  Three weeks before my due date and a week and a half before the cesaerian surgery, I went into labor.  Another emergency cesaerian.  Just like “M”.  Baby Z was born on June 9, 2007 at about 11:00 am.  Too doped up to even hold her, I requested that she go to B and J.  I don’t recall my state of mind in those moments.  Hearing her cries above the beeping machines and the strange sounds coming from inside of me as the doctors finsished the tubal ligation and started to stitch me back up.  I was in such a fog.  Part of me wanted to hold her and part of me could not.  At that moment I felt even unworthy to be near my older daughter.  What kind of mother chooses which child stays and which child goes?  Did I do the right thing?  I was wheeled up to the eighth floor of the hospital.  Hearing families fawn over their new babies was almost more than I could take.  I would pretend I was in bad pain just to get enough meds to knock me out so I didn’t have to hear the babies crying.  I got to see baby Z the next day.  She looked like a thinner version of her big sister.  More hair, too.  My mom had brought the little dress, a knit blankey, and some little booties I had gotten for her.  B and J both looked exhausted, but in love with her.  Overnight shadow on B’s face said that he had not had the chance to shave, J’s eyes looked hollow.  I almost laughed and said “Welcome to parenthood!”  But it would have been rude and perhaps a little mean.  I was not really in my right mind then, either.  The day after that, I was released from the hospital.  The one thing I miss is their breakfast.  It was actually pretty good.

     It’s been almost seven months.  Did I do the right thing?  Time will only tell.  I have my moments of crushing agony, but part of me knows that I did the right thing at that time in my life.  My life has gotten so fucking complex that not even my parents know me anymore.  I’m not the same person they were with at the birth of my oldest daughter.  I haven’t been that person in a very long time.  I think about baby Z a lot.  I want to write a letter but I don’t know what to write.  What do you say to a child you have given up?  What will her reaction be when she becomes aware that she has a big sister that I continued to raise but chose to give her up?  When my older daughter understands all that has happened, will I survive that rage?  I know whatever anger either will have towards me will be justified.  But I was only trying to think of them.  I wanted to make sure that both could get a life they deserved, parents who could devote their time to them, and if baby Z had still been with me, they would have gotten neither.