Almost 20 years later, it still pisses me off when I see or hear about it in the news. Legislators trying to ban late-term (post-20 weeks) abortion.
The right to choose is very personal—to me, and every woman. And almost 20 years ago, I exercised that choice. I’ve been asked what one of my biggest challenges has been to date, and while there have been many (including what the hell to wear to work in the morning,) choosing to end my first pregnancy was by far one of the biggest.
My first pregnancy—my first baby—was a welcome event. I was married, employed, and my husband and I dreamed of starting a family. It took months to conceive. Long, frustrating months. Finding out I was finally pregnant was one of the happiest moments of our marriage. No baby was wanted more.
I wasn’t nervous, I did everything right. Took my pre-natal vitamins, exercised, ate right. So, when the day finally came for our 20-week ultrasound, my husband and I couldn’t wait. And we knew something was wrong almost immediately. The technician left to get the doctor, and the doctor quietly examined me. Just minutes later, we heard the worst—numerous fetal abnormalities. My husband and I were beyond devastated. I loved my baby. Why was this happening?
In a whirlwind 10 days, we met with many, many doctors and ran many, many tests—which led to this conclusion: the severity of the abnormalities was such that even if our baby survived to term, chances are he (which we found out after the amnio) would not survive very long. And his quality of his very short life would not be good. After a tremendous amount of soul searching, we chose to end the pregnancy—not just to allow us to move forward and heal, but to ensure our baby would not suffer.
There’s not enough time in the world to erase the pain, and those memories—hearing the words that my child’s heart had stopped, or hearing the OB tell me upon delivery (I went through a standard labor and delivery) that we made the right choice, or holding my child for a first and final time—but to this day, I stand by the decision we made, and am grateful for the three wonderful children that we had in the years after.
People are going to say I was wrong—that I interfered with God’s plan, that I killed my baby. In the course of normal conversation, I have no problem with people having a differing viewpoint—even on something as controversial as abortion. You want to think differently? Go for it. You would have chosen a different path? OK. But no one—no one—can make that decision for me. When I hear legislators blather on about fetal pain, and women making a choice about late-term abortion in a cavalier fashion, it makes my blood boil. No one makes that decision lightly—and at that date, not because they’ve just decided they just don’t want a baby. And imagining a world that would have forced my baby to suffer needlessly is beyond the grasp of my comprehension.
That’s the beauty of choice—what’s right for me doesn’t have to be right for you. So, in short, back off. Women making this decision need support, not judgmental attitudes.
I’m not usually this deep. In fact, I talk more about books than anything else. Want in on the action? Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
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