I have a difficult relationship with abortion. I was raised Evangelical Christian. I walked at the March for Life. I had a tiny pin that supposedly showed what a baby’s feet looked like at 10 weeks gestation (real talk: they’re not really that perfectly formed). I learned that birth control causes abortions and abortions, at any stage of pregnancy for any reason, are wrong. I’ve managed to deprogram myself from a lot of my upbringing, but not this.
So when I got pregnant at twenty years old, I dropped out of college and tried to make a life of being a mom. A few people advised me to seek an abortion, but I couldn’t even consider it. I didn’t finish my music education degree I’d been working on for three years. Instead, I moved to a new city away from my family, friends, and support system and tried hard to make a go of it with a man who wasn’t at all right for me.
I had my first miscarriage at twenty one. It broke my heart. My baby was dead. Anyone who tried to tell me the facts of early miscarriage couldn’t get through my indoctrinated emotions. I pictured the signs I’d seen since I was a little girl, the supposedly perfect babies at just six weeks gestation, and it broke me.
I had another miscarriage at twenty two. My baby passed at ten weeks gestation, and I carried the dead fetus for two weeks beyond that. Someone had told me when I was younger that a D&C, the surgery that would save me from life-threatening infection, was basically an abortion. Eventually I had the surgery. I had nightmares about it for years afterwards, featuring all the terrible things I’d seen in the pro-life propaganda. I dealt with crippling depression.
I had two more children. With my third, I considered an abortion for the first time. My second was only 10 months old and I didn’t think I could handle it. But I could not do it. I barely remember the first year of my son’s life because of the overwhelming mental strain I was under. I suffered from severe postpartum depression. I once tried to kill myself.
With my fourth, I became pregnant with the child of a man who mentally abused and broke me down. Many people in my life advised me to seek an abortion. Again, I could not do it. I have to see him and let my child go with him two or three times a week now. I am lucky that I am in a place to be strong enough to handle this, but it takes a toll.I entered into another toxic, abusive relationship. And I already had four children; so why not have another? My identity is almost entirely wrapped up in being a mother. There’s nothing wrong with that in general, but that mindset and my vulnerability to control and abuse led to me having another child with a man I desperately wish I wasn’t tied to.
I now have five children. I love every single one of them with all my heart, and I wouldn’t take back their existence for anything. But I was and am a young, poor, uneducated mother. I am very lucky to be the 1 in 100 kind of person who is okay with my situation; turns out my temperament is well-suited to the task. I love my kids, I love all kids. My life is pretty great now, all told. But I would never wish my circumstances on anyone else.
I sympathize with those who are strongly pro-life. The lies they’ve been told about what happens during conception, about the early life of a fetus, are emotionally wrenching. No one tells you that nearly one-fourth of conceived pregnancies end in miscarriage; often so early that the pregnant person doesn’t notice at all.
I am strongly, deeply, completely pro-choice. I will never vote to legislate a person’s right to choose if they’d like their body to be used to grow another person. Stealing that choice creates mothers and fathers who never wanted to be, children raised in homes that were not prepared for them and did not want them. I feel that my religious upbringing stole that choice from me, and I would never do that to another person. My children are the light of my life and I could not be more thankful for them. But I wish I had a choice. A real choice, not one manipulated by indoctrination of misinformation.
The world these abortion laws are seeking to create is one in which every woman is just. like. me. I don’t have the time or energy for activism. My children, my partner, my home are my whole world. I absolutely don’t think it’s wrong to live this way; but the world in which every woman is required to live this life is terrifying. Please don’t stand idly by while this happens.