5/28/2008

Shmashmortion

Ah, how to win no readers and alienate everyone - throw down the "c" bomb one post, and use a casual, joking word for abortion in another. Obviously I'm lacking in the people skeels to be so very offensive during NaCommentWhatsit. This would explain the lack of visitors from there - I'm not surprised a whisper of "cuntish" would scare the punters off. Eh, it is what it is. C'est moi.

I watched a programme on the BBC recently regarding abortion, as recently the 24 week maximum termination period was re-evaluated, so this matter has been topical. The programme focused on 4 women from varying backgrounds, all of whom had at least one abortion. One of the women, well, girls, was 18 and had an abortion last year. It was the right decision for her, but she was still suffering greatly and it killed me having to watch this girl continue to struggle with her decision. She acknowledged that it was not the right time in her life to bring a child into the world, but of course that didn't stop her from wondering if the right choice was made.

I'm solidly pro-choice, always have been. What I've realised lately is that I have felt even more pro-choice, if such a thing is possible, since becoming a mother. It's odd, as one would expect to edge slowly into the anti-abortion camp, or at the very least, sit very nicely on the fence whistling a happy tune. I know some women do move in the opposite direction once they give have to their miracle, blah de blah, now knowing what it's like to carry a child, give birth to it, and raise a tiny person, they can't imagine terminating a pregnancy.

I'm going in my direction because prior to having a child I had absolutely no idea how much work it actually entailed. I know how hard the past two years have been for me, and I wanted a child and all the complicated stuff that comes with it. I cannot fathom entering into that whole pregnancy/childbirth/childraising situation without being fully invested in the idea, or not having the means to support a child financially and/or emotionally. This shit is HARD.

I don't want to discuss abortion and get embroiled in all of the politics involved, as happy little mumsy blogs and abortion make strange bedfellows. I'm just curious if any of you mothers feel this way, or perhaps the complete opposite. For those not yet mothers, what do you think your perspective will be?

28 comments:

Kim said...

It is hard work. I agree I cannot imagine the stress of doing it when you weren't 100% ready, able, or willing. I am pro-choice too but after going thru IF it is a little more painful to hear about. It just seems so wrong and cruel and unfair.

And to respond to your comment - yes I do smile when we do activities that I know will zap there seemingly endless supply of energy. lol

Anonymous said...

First of all, it's me. Um, how do I let you know who it is w/o letting everyone know who it is...? I'll email you later, but I wanted this to be one of the comments:

I was in the position of having to make that choice when I was 23. The father was abusive and Persian. Why do I mention that? Because he told me that even if I kept the baby, he would take it away from to go back home overseas and I'd never see it.

I did not make the choice out of spite, but for my own mental sanity. I was not going to be emotionally and physically tied to this man in any way.

Now I'm a parent. I've had miscarriages, both 1st and 2nd trimester and I feel such a horrible loss of life each time BUT I am still pro-choice. No institution should be handing down their moral dictates on any individual.

When I hear stories of women who even years later are still persecuting themselves, I feel angry actually, because I know somewhere along the line she did not get the support or education she needed to make the BEST choice for her.

Melissa said...

I feel both ways at the same time, if that's possible. I remain fervently pro-choice while also feeling like I would have a hard time ever terminating a pregnancy now that I have been through two of them. I won't say never because you never know what situation you'll be in, but my personal views have definitely changed since having kids.

Waiting Amy said...

I feel much like Melissa. I have and will continue to be fervently pro-choice. But for myself, I always knew I badly wanted children and would have great difficulty terminating almost any pregnancy. I do think there are definite instances where I would make that choice, but it would be sad.

I do get rather angry when hearing of women who terminate for minor reasons (such as gender or use it as birth control). That ticks me off.

But I will always support choice, difficult as it is. I think my experiences with IF and motherhood simply deepen my understanding of the complexities of the decision.

Brigindo said...

Motherhood didn't change my position - I was prochoice before and remain prochoice today. I also make a distinction between being prochoice and making my personal choices. Prior to motherhood I was scared to death of pregnancy because I believed I could not go through with an abortion. After giving birth and raising a child I still feel the same way. However I can't actually say what I would do in that situation since it is stripped of context.

But I totally agree with you on having a greater understanding of the complexity and difficulty of mothering and am amazed how little that ever enters into the conversation.

Jen said...

I've always been pro-choice, but I was surprised by the complexity of my emotions once I started trying to conceive.

On the one hand, my pregnancies were so very precious that the thought of someone willingly ending one was somewhat horrifying. On the other, being a member of the blogging community and hearing the stories of the women who had to have medically necessary abortions made me an even stauncher advocate of open access to all necessary medical procedures.

And now that I'm finally a mother myself, I do feel that I would rather a child not be born than suffer the abuse or neglect of a parent who does not love them, or who was not in any position to be a parent. It IS incredibly hard, and I think about how tremendously lucky I am (great family, decent financial resources, supportive spouse), and how hard it STILL is, and can't imagine trying to do it with no resources.

Beth A. said...

I'm pretty much like you - going through pregnancy and motherhood has definitely made me even more pro-choice than I was. I think infertility would make it harder for me to end a pregnancy of my own under any but the most extreme circumstances, but I can't let my personal circumstances dictate what's right for other women to do with their bodies. But the process of pregnancy and becoming a motherhood has been so radical and consuming that I can completely understand not wanting to go through that.

Here through NaComLeavMo, not scared off yet. :)

OvaGirl said...

I'm with you Pru but I too have felt things change with me since childbirth. I wish that women didn't have to make that choice but I support them when they do. Maybe if there was better and more available education not only on sex but on looking after babies and children, less of those choices would need to be made.

Good luck with your presentation!

Heather.PNR said...

Like you, my pro-choice stance was reinforced by becoming a parent. It was a little different, though, in that my kids came to me through adoption. Adoption is too often held up as a tidy alternative to abortion, but in reality it carries its own unique burdens. Witnessing the grief and loss my kids' first moms went through in relinquishing them only solidified my belief that no woman should be forced to carry a child to term if she does not want to.

hairyfarmerfamily said...

Hi there,
I posted on this topic a week or so back, after the Commons motion. Pro-choice and thoroughly so, but most, most, most unhappy about the current time limit of 24 weeks. I was in hospital bleeding at 23 weeks and 6 days pregnant, and I was desperately praying not to go into labour until my baby was legally a person, and had an unarguable right to be resuscitated. The thought of terminating a baby so well developed horrifies me. My MP voted to keep the limit at 24 weeks, and I am currently composing a proper stinker of a letter to him. Bah.

EJW said...

I'm one of those people who wavered/wavers a bit on the abortion issue since having a child. I can see so many sides and that makes it really hard.

Parenting is ridiculously hard (how can 8 non-verbal lbs weigh so much power?) and no one who isn't prepared and engaged should do it, but I'm simultaneously horrified by the idea of terminating a late pregnancy, or even an early one, really. For me, it comes down to not wanting Dick Cheney to be making this decision for me or other women, and that over-rides everything else in my mind. But I can see how the experience of pregnancy, birth, and parenthood of an infant can make it a slippery slope.

A couple years ago Hillary Clinton made a speech that I really liked, wherein she said, basically, that pro-life vs pro-choice has become a purely political issue and that both sides use it to further their own causes and rile up their supporters, but that in a country with the knowledge and wealth and resources and people of the US, abortion shouldn't have to be an issue. Some people thought it was a cop-out, but I think she's right. No one should have to have an abortion. But I'm afraid her argument is based on Utopia and not Reality.

PJ said...

Shmashmortion...I dig your Knocked Up reference :)

I totally agree with you. Parenthood is not for everyone and if you have the wherewithall to recognize that then why should you not have options. Even after having Joe, I am still firmly on the pro-choice side of the fence.

Tash said...

I am EXACTLY like you. When I was pregnant with Bella, following a mc, I don't think I've ever felt simultaneously more in control of my body and more vulnerable. I realized what was in me was my business, and my husband's, and my doctor's, and absolutely no one else's. I actually marched in a big pro choice rally in DC with my father when I was 6-7 mos. pregnant, very visible.

And then Maddy happened, and we actually had a conversation with the docs at Children's where they told me were I to get pregnant again, and we were to find out at 32w that this was happening all over again (completely likely scenario for me) that just to INDUCE I'd have to go to another state. That they and the ethics board would put their weight behind me, but I'd have to drive or climb on a plane and labor in a strange hospital to deliver a terminal child.

In short, these "decisions" aren't just made on my behalf, they're made for my family, and frankly, for the child -- because no child should suffer like Maddy did for a week. I'm so wildly pro choice now that I'm to the point of jumping down people's throats and telling my story because I want them to understand that they're misconceptions have consequences for people like us.

All that said, if I found out at 18w that my child would have Downs, I have no idea what I'd do. But you know what? My choice.

Tash said...

Whoops, that should be "their misconceptions" -- I had two trains of thought going there. And only one cuppa coffee in the system. Yikes.

Lotta said...

I'm pro-choice but have felt more pro-life (whatever) since giving birth. But after reading your post I think I'm actually split. More pro-life (whatever) for myself, but fully, totally pro-choice now that understand how difficult motherhood can be.

PiquantMolly said...

No kids yet, but I'd imagine my views would be similar to yours. I love the Hillary Clinton quote EJW noted -- it is ridiculous that we spent so much time and money in the political battle for or against abortion instead of better supporting the programs that would make it less necessary.

There's a fabulous documentary out on abortion called "Lake of Fire." Difficult to watch, but so worth it:

http://www.breitbart.tv/html/6656.html

electriclady said...

Still fervently pro-choice, though as others have said the experience of IF, pregnancy, and motherhood would make it harder for me personally to terminate a pregnancy.

I briefly volunteered at a local Planned Parenthood clinic, helping everything run smoothly for the girls (mostly girls, rarely an adult woman) there to get abortions. It made me heartsick to see everything these girls went through, and truthfully it really brought home the fact that abortion is a terrible thing that in an ideal world no one would ever have to choose.

But we don't live in an ideal world. We never will. So we need to keep abortion legal for EVERYONE who needs it, no matter when. Because as Cecily has written on her blog, when you limit in ANY way the ability of people whose choices you don't approve of to get an abortion, you also might be taking away a lifesaving or merciful option from someone like Cecily or Julia.

/soapbox rant

(How did the interview go?)

calliope said...

here from nacomleavmo, biaaaaatch!

The effed up part is that I actually lost a friend because she couldn't deal with my infertility as she lived in this constant world of self hate for having an abortion. Crazy.

I agree with you- I have always been pro choice but as I go deeper down the rabbit hole of infertility I feel even more strongly so. I am choosing to (try to) be a Mother. And if someone needs to make the choice to not be (at that time or ever) then I hope they have options available.

xo

The Town Criers said...

I'm in the same pro-choice camp I've always been and if anything, parenthood has made me put things in terms of my daughter. And what I want for her. Or, how I don't want anyone to take away her choices.

Defiantmuse said...

I'm with you. totally.

and, btw- cunt is one of my favorite words. Why is it that it's still so shocking to people? It's just a word, people.

Aunt Becky said...

I've always been squarely pro-choice. And yes, upon having Ben and then his brother, it has made me even more aware of how people struggle with children.

I won't get into it, but let's just say I love you madly, and also love the word cuntish. And if it offends people, they'd better not come by my blog and read about "Anal Clinic."

Q said...

Returning the visit from NCLM. Yes, let's get married!! Because I just heard that Bon Iver song the other day and stopped everything to listen to it. It's rare for me to love a song the minute I hear it.

Regarding shmashmortion. I will always be completely pro-choice. I am not a mother yet, and I can't answer honestly until I get there, but I don't feel that it will sway me back the other way, or even lift me anywhere near that "fence".

That being said, I think ALL forms of contraception should be free and easily accessible to everyone, and sex ed should be shoved down kids' throats... But that's just me. ;)

Magpie said...

I know just what you mean.

Quietgirl said...

Well seven years ago a cheeky little ova nestled in- dodged the morning after pill even- and I had the chance to make a little life. It surprised me how even in the first week (for I knew my mistake the next morning after sobering up) that already the strange hormonal feelings were rising. It was like I felt the little flicker down there- could feel it's personality almost. And I apologized to the little flicker I was snuffing out, and held strong to my earlier bravado of pro-choice conviction. I would have chosen a baby in a relationship that was barely 6 months deep, where I was completely lost, and that was to experience 7 years of holy hell as we tried to survive against some of the worst shit life can give you. It was the right decision 500,000%, and every year that has become more apparent, my conviction stronger.
We hope to start trying in the next year maybe if things go well. The difference between life then and life now is such a gulf.
Of course so many of us now are delaying our babies, or just having other fertility woes, where we can't conceive and carry (soooo sorry!!!) And I think in that situation I would rue 22 year olds who can take for granted their fertility like I did back then. But that doesn't mean that the decision was wrong of course.
I remember that little flicker fondly. I remember talking to it (in my mind) as I was straightening bottles at my job at the liquor store. I apologized to it, and explained that this was simply not possible. And there was an acceptance. I really felt like she understood. I promised to be more careful in the future, and I have.
I did it early, where it was a simple hoovering out. Is that too graphic? It was easier than a pap smear, although I'm sure the valium helped. I felt a loss, a sacrifice, and I mourned that with many tears. But there was no guilt. It felt right.
And I hope "she", whatever that little flicker I felt was, will come back in a year or two, as she really was lovely. It would be a joy to get to love her...

So I guess regarding the abortion HOT topic, I am all about making our own decisions. Hopefully we won't make it a habit of carrying fetuses for a while, only to then do unpleasant things to them later, but that stands for whether they're pre or post birthing. You can do a whole lot of evil on the post end of things as far as I can see. My decision was- well let's just say thank god for choosing right at that little fork in the road. Thank freaking god!
:)

wheelsonthebus said...

I am much more pro-choice than I was before having children. Even though now I realize it's a choice I myself could not make. I feel more obligated to stand up for choice when it is not just self-interest.

Paranoid said...

I've always been pro-choice, but yeah, motherhood has solidified my opinion. As much as pregnancy can feel like a miracle to someone who wants a baby, I can totally imagine it feeling like a terrifying baby to someone who doesn't. And things certainly don't get any easier once the baby is born. I wouldn't want anyone who is truly not ready for parenthood to feel forced into becoming a parent anyway.

(btw, I'm here from NaComLeavMo).

Major Bedhead said...

I'm pro-choice and always have been. I think I'm even more so, especially after having daughters. I want them to have that choice, should they ever need it. I hope they never do, but you honestly don't know what might happen.

Helen said...

Still solidly pro-choice, yes.

BUT - there is always a but - this 24 week thing has thrown me for a loop. I was always pro-choice, but after having a kid in special care and seeing other babies in special care that were 23 or 24 weeks, I think that 24 weeks is too late (unless Mummy or baby in danger, of course.) To me it's like: You had 24 weeks to decide. Also? How can the NHS save babies at less than 24 weeks and be ok with the opposite?

Sorry. No preachy here.