Her Bad Mother

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Abortion Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry

"She only saw him once.

Once, from behind the window of the nursery. He was wrapped in a blue blanket, and he was oh so small. They asked her if she wanted to hold him, and she said no. Just as she had in the delivery room, right after he was born, when she had squeezed her eyes shut so that she wouldn't see him, her heart, the heart that she was giving away. She said no.

No.

It would have killed me, she said. It would have killed me. I couldn't have gone on. I loved him.

So she said no. She refused to hold her son."

I was holding my own son - then just two and a half months old - on my lap when my mother told me this story. I would be stating the obvious if I said that I clutched him a little tighter as I listened to her words and watched the tears brim in her eyes, but I'll state it anyways: I held him, tightly, and my heart ached to think of not holding him. My heart ached to bursting at the thought of not holding him, of giving away any opportunity to hold him. And then my heart ached some more, because I had, once upon time, done something that, in some respects, amounts to the same thing.

When an anonymous poster made a plea, last week, for everyone to pause and consider the emotional fallout from adoption - this within the context of debates concerning the emotional consequences of abortion - I immediately thought of my mother and the gut-wrenching turmoil she experienced as a result of giving up a child for adoption. And then I thought of myself, and of the secret inner dialogue that I conducted with myself while she and I sat discussing that boy, that child that she had given up for adoption years before I was born. The secret inner dialogue that went something like this:

Me: Oh, my god, my god, how terrible, how heartbreaking, how did her heart survive it?

Myself: How did YOUR heart survive it?

Me: Survive what?

Myself: Abortion.

Me: That's so different.

Myself: It's not.

Me: The heartbreak of giving up a child...

Myself: Isn't abortion a kind of 'giving up'? Except, you know, MORE FINAL?

Me: Yeah, but...

Myself: But what?

Me: She's mourning a child that she lost, a child who is still out there somewhere.

Myself: Exactly.

I clutched Jasper to my chest and squeezed and thought about the child who is not out there somewhere. A little part of my heart collapsed in on itself.

My mother's heartbreak was almost unbearable to absorb. Her guilt, her worry, her desire to both know and not know whether he'd been given a happy life, whether she'd done right by him to give him up. She insisted that there was no regret - she'd done what she had to do, she had no choice, it was the best thing to do, the only thing to do, at the time - but regret is complicated. She didn't regret making the choice that seemed best for him, but she still hurt over that choice. She hurt over that choice because it represented a loss, for her. Because it represented the loss of an unknown and unknowable future. Because it was a choice that changed someone else's life, someone else's future. Because some part of her felt that she needed to explain that choice, perhaps apologize for that choice. Make it clear that the choice was made out of love.

The choice that caused her so much pain was not the same kind of choice that I made. There is no one to whom to explain my choice. There is no one to whom to apologize. No claim can be made that my choice was made out of love. There is no one to whom I might make that claim. Because that's how abortion differs from adoption: it means that the only person you need ever - can ever - explain your choice to is yourself. It doesn't matter whether you're sorry or not. Abortion means never having to say you're sorry. It means never even having to consider the question.

Which is not to say, of course, that we don't consider the question. I've been considering the question - of whether or not I'm sorry, of whether or not I should be sorry, of whether or not sorry matters - since I first set foot in that abortion clinic. I have agonized over this. As I've explained in these virtual pages before, I can't say that I regret having had an abortion, but I also can't say that I don't. It's complicated. Its complicatedness sometimes hurts my heart. Which is precisely why people talk about the emotional consquences of abortion. Because many women find, like I did, that their hearts hurt. Because many women struggle to figure out how to reconcile the complicated tension between regret and not-regret and find that they're unable, and because many women do so while bearing their children, their wanted children, in arms.

But that struggle - that is, my personal experience of that struggle - is one that can, most of the time, be compartmentalized, tucked away on some back shelf of the psyche and forgotten until some event - pregnancy, say, or miscarriage, or one's own mother's admission of having given one's brother up for adoption - prompts one to go rummaging around on the shelves of Buried Hurts and Ambivalent Regrets and Things That I'd Rather Not Think About Unless My Sanity And/Or Moral Stability Depends Upon It. My mother's struggle with her longstanding conflicting emotions around having given up a child for adoption is not - has never been - something that she can just tuck away on a shelf and forget about. She has never passed a day, she told me, without thinking about her lost boy - without looking at the faces of strangers who seem about his age and wondering is it him, without reading in the newspaper or hearing on the news something about any male person of his vintage and wondering is it him, without casting back to that baby in the blue blankie and wondering what became of him what became of him what became of him?

And that is so hard for her. I have seen the heartbreak on her face. Some 45 years or so after the fact, and the heartbreak is still there. I see the heartbreak on her face and I tell myself, there but for grace went I. And, thank gods for that grace, that I did not go.

But it is not so simple. It is not nearly so simple. For I know that the primary reason I am able to compartmentalize my own, quiet struggle is because it is entirely my own, and it is entirely my own because of the nature of the choice that I made. My child does not wander this earth, living another life. My child - and it is such a mental and emotional wank to even use these terms - was never born. My child never became my child. He/she/it was embryo, barely fetus, not a child. I did not have a child; I had a pregnancy. And then I didn't.

(And yet. Even as I say that - "I did not have a child; I had a pregnancy" - I want to take it back. I'm a mother. I've had a very early term miscarriage. I very nearly lost Emilia to miscarriage. I know the terror of losing or fearing to lose that embryo, that not-quite-fetus, that not-child who is loved none the less for his or her unformedness. I would never have said - could never have said - of the embryo-that-became-Emilia, this is just a pregnancy, there is no child here. For even though she was not yet child, she was the cellular embodiment of my wish that she become a child, that she become my child. In the absence of that wish... is it just cells that remain? I don't know. I do not know. I have not yet sorted this out. It is painful, trying to sort this out, this which might be, simply, unsortable. All I know is that these experiences are different, despite their similarities, and that I remain firmly committed to the rightness of having the ability - the choice - to distinguish between them. Ah, me.)

What remains: my inconstant, ambivalent hurt, and my mother's endless heartache. Neither of these would I wish on anyone, but neither would I hold them up as justifications for tampering with our rights to choose those hurts, those aches, over others. We both chose our heartaches, out of desire to avoid greater heartache for ourselves or for others. In my mother's case - in any birth mother's case, I think - a more difficult choice was made, because it was a choice that opened up another future for another life, a future that she would never be able to see but would always, always feel. I, on the other hand... I chose the road that denied other lived futures, and that has made all the difference.

The right difference, the wrong difference, I don't know. It is, ever and always and only and nevertheless, the one that I chose.

I live with that.

*Because you're asking: yes, we are - I am - still looking for that boy, the lost boy, my brother. There has been some very limited progress recently, and I'm hoping that it yields something, but I don't want to jinx things by speculating. Thank you all for caring so much.

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180 Comments:

Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

I'm out of jokes.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Beautiful and heartbreaking. What you said here summed up why I will always be pro-choice: For even though she was not yet child, she was the cellular embodiment of my wish that she become a child, that she become my child. In the absence of that wish... is it just cells that remain? I don't know. I have not yet sorted this out. All I know is that these experiences are different, despite their similarities, and that I remain firmly committed to the rightness of having the ability - the choice - to distinguish between them.

I remember being surprised after my first pregnancy that I was still pro-choice, but then it hit me that, of course I was. He was a baby, a child, when he was only a clump of cells because I *wanted* him to be.

5:48 PM  
Blogger Pgoodness said...

I hate leaving comments that say nothing, but I hate reading without leaving comments more.

So, thanks for sharing this. Lots to think about.

5:49 PM  
Blogger The Mad White Woman said...

Heartfelt, honest and touching. As usual. I too have been there, but didn't go through with it. Lack of money. God's will. Call it what you want. But had I found the money and gone ahead with the abortion, I would not have Tre. And I cannot imagine my life without him. I'm glad I was broke, for once.

5:53 PM  
Blogger April said...

You're always genuine and thought provoking. Thank you.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both choices are very difficult. I don't think just birth mothers have regrets like described here. I had an abortion 15 years ago and I think of it everyday. I regret it everyday, because there was, in my mind, a better choice. I, also, hate to admit to any doctor who asks how many pregnancies, how many live births that yes I did have an abortion. I would rather have the wonder of a child that was out living a life, then knowing that I killed my child.

5:56 PM  
Blogger BaltimoreGal said...

You are one of the bravest people! There was a time when I would have absolutely had an abortion, if needed (I never did) and I don't regret that. It was where I WAS. Now is different. And that is the point, isn't it?

6:02 PM  
OpenID barelyknittogether.com said...

What an incredibly difficult thing to put words to, and what a good job you've done of making us understand it just a little bit better. A conundrum, indeed. Hugs for you, her not-so-bad mother.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I hope my comment doesn't get moderated away, I am not intending to create controversy! But your beautiful post inspires me to comment.

You asked: "In the absence of that wish... is it just cells that remain?" I would say an emphatic NO!!! Which is why I will always be firmly pro-life. A human is not a human by someone's mere wishing.

That being said, thank you so much for sharing your experience, and I am so sorry for the sadness in your and your mother's hearts.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Chelle said...

All choices are difficult but you might feel better if you think of it as that soul will have another chance at life in a better time when the world is ready for them.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read so many emotionally driven blogs today that it was almost hard to get through this one.

I agree with everything that you had to say and I love the way you put abortion and adoption into those contexts. Hearing stories like this gives me hope that I'm not the only one who feels like this about abortion.

I know it might be different if I ever find myself pregnant one day, and I'll wonder what I would do. I don't think its time for me to be a mother and I still think its my choice to decide when that time is right.

Thank you for sharing this, it really touched my heart.

6:11 PM  
Blogger cat said...

The complexities are the crux of the debate - which is the frustration I have with the arguments on both sides. Everyone trying to simplify something that just.isn't. ever.simple.

It has been said already - but wow, how brave.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

As a person who had to make one of the three choices (abortion, adoption and keeping the baby), I cannot express how much this post touched me. I have always wondered how others feel who made another choice, but wasn't sure how to ask. Thank you.

6:21 PM  
Blogger The Estrogen Files said...

This was obviously a hard post on a very charged subject. I have very firm opinions on abortion and would much prefer the gift of adoption, but we can't change the past - only the future.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Jane @ What About Mom? said...

So a birth mother might apologize to a baby for giving it up, but a woman who aborts has "no one to whom to apologize"?

It surprises me that such a beautifully written elegy to the pro-choice stance can nudge me yet closer to a pro-life conviction.

"For even though she was not yet child, she was the cellular embodiment of my wish that she become a child, that she become my child. In the absence of that wish... is it just cells that remain?"

Determining life based on "my wish" sounds a bit selfish/self-centered, and being glad to have made the easier choice, the choice that requires never having to say you're sorry, seems quite cowardly.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Joy said...

I am almost in tears after reading the stories of you, your mother, and the anonymous poster on the other site. I am firmly, adamantly pro-choice, in part for the reasons listed in these stories, and in many others.

My family, too, knows the pain and unceasing thoughts of lost children although the circumstance of the adoptions are not the same. But that's the thing, right? The experiences and realities of the people involved are never ever the same.

Hugs and love to you and your mother, and all women living some part of this.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Jane: that's my point, sort of. I struggle with the idea that it was cowardly, that it was selfish. Certainly compared to my mother's choice it seems that way. So although I am pro-choice, this was not an ode to choice. It was a lament for how hard, how sad, choice can be.

The title: it's meant to be ambivalent. Is it a good or bad thing that there's no-one to whom to direct a sorry? Does sorry even matter?

I just don't know.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Goddess in Progress said...

Thank you for your post. I am strongly pro-choice, but I also think that we sometimes ignore that it takes an emotional toll on the woman, even if it was the "right" choice. Adoption, I can only imagine, is so similar. It may very well be the best choice. But that doesn't mean there are zero regrets, second thoughts, or whatever the right word is.

Thanks for telling your story.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Jane @ What About Mom? said...

Sorry, I re-read my comment and wished I'd temporized a bit more -- wished I'd said "a bit cowardly" rather than "quite cowardly."

Either choice would be difficult, I'm sure, but there's something a bit dog-in-the-manger, or again, self-centered, to think that if a life that comes from me is going to be lived outside my control, outside my purview, then better, or easier for me, if that life just never exists.

That really, really bothers me. If abortion (versus adoption, where that is an option) is about making things "easier" on the woman, I just don't know how I could support it. Is life all about risk and hurt reduction for ourselves?

You make abortion sound so incredibly selfish, and adoption so incredibly self-sacrificing and venerable. {I can't imagine that that was your intention, as a pro-choice proponent.}

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Lori Hutcherson a.k.a. kcgirlgeek said...

That was the single most profound, heart-breathed, transparent and real blog, article, piece, history...whatever we want to call it...about choice and consequence regarding our babies (and even other choices) that I have ever, and I mean ever, seen.

I don't want to make this comment seem self-serving at all, so please forgive the reference I'm about to make to my website's name. Just ignore the correlation there and try to read the rest of what I'm writing, because it has nothing to do with websites.

Your story, and your mother's, and ALL of our various stories in a similar vein, are what I have come to refer to as "ferocious dust bunnies." There are things that we all have in the deep recesses of our beings, that seem often to be so innocuous in nature, and yet, when stirred up only a tiny bit, can be seen for the complex truths that they are. We are so emotionally complex and complicated as human beings. And life just ISN'T a simple thing.

We all make decisions. Sometimes they have been laboriously well thought out. Yet what we cannot know when we are making them, is the affect they will have on us, on others, or on the future. We can only use the tools we have at hand in the PRESENT to make those decisions. And somewhere along the way then, we have to just trust fate, dharma, karma, the gods, God, our higher collective consciousness, whatever, to determine the ultimate outcome and the path that we, from there on out, tread.

I had a best friend, Debbie Johnson, that died of cancer at the age of 33. She used to always say, "There is a purpose. Everything happens for a reason...everything." That bears witness in my soul. I believe that is Truth. We may never know some of the "reasons" things happen, and granted, some things are terrible, but I am utterly assured within myself, that nothing happens without serving some purpose, without fulfilling some specific design in the tapestry of our collective lives.

I'm really grateful to you for your sharing yourself so selflessly with all of your readers. It touched me. Maybe it touched me in a way that no one else could have. All of our lives and stories are so unique, and yet so emotionally, and somehow even spiritually, interwoven.

And yes...I agree. When you take away the right to choose...you take away the very core of who we are. Our choices determine our path, in some sense, and I, for one, would not go back and change any of mine, for I have no idea where some other choices might have led me. I was destined to live the life I am now living. It is part of my fulfilling my own unique purpose, whether I understand what that is just yet, or not.

6:41 PM  
Blogger jcaroline said...

Wow. First, thank you for linking me to Shakesville, which was also a great read. Thank you, also, for sharing your personal story. Wow.

I had a terrible pregnancy experience- okay, stillborn twins is a bit more than a terrible pregnancy experience- and am now an adoptive parent. But I can, at times, get all uppity that my choices are SO much harder than so-called "normal" mothers. Au contraire, my friend. This thing called motherhood, or the lack thereof, comes and kicks us all in the ass in its special way. And that may the thread that connects us all.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I am firmly pro-choice but I still struggle with my feelings about the abortion I had more than 20 years ago. You described it perfectly.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

I find myself trying to decide if I am going to comment on the post, or on the comments. Somehow, I always have that trouble here. Post wins. (At least in this moment.)

I love that you can write about this so beautifully. It's all about choices. The choice too bring a baby into this world or not, is not an easy choice. It's the hardest choice any woman could ever have to make. I think your take on it makes sense.

Too me, a fetus becomes a baby, when I accept it as one. Until then it is a fetus. That may not makes sense to anyone else, but that's the way I feel about it. I've never had an abortion, but I've known many people who did, mostly when they were really young. They've, all but one, gone on to have children.

Right or wrong, I don't really know, but that's how I see it. (and what's right or wrong for one person, is generally completely different for someone else.) I will say though, I had a miscarriage, a 14 week one, in July 2007. To the medical world, to most people, my baby was just a fetus. She wasn't that to me though, she was a baby; my baby. A baby that I had dreams and hopes and wishes for. Maybe that's what all babies are, a wish?

6:49 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Jane: abortion is, in most cases (I can think of some important exceptions), selfish. No way around that. MY abortion was selfish: I was young, I wasn't ready, I wanted an unfettered future. But the fact that my choice was selfish doesn't mean that the choice should be taken from me.

I live with having made that choice. Sometimes I have a hard time, living with having made that choice. That's part of my point. I think that living with adoption is probably harder. Probably MUCH harder. Which is something to think about, when we ask, as a society, whether more women should choose adoption.

End of the day, though, I just wanted to get across that regardless of what decision is made, there is hurt. That's unavoidable.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Chrissy said...

Thank you for the link to anonymous' story and for sharing your own feelings about it. Both are very heart wrenching to read, especially since I have up my firstborn son almost 23 years ago (April 6, 1986)at the age of 17. The decision was taken out of my hands by my mother and I don't think I've ever really forgiven her or gotten over it, although I do believe that in the end it was the best in the long run for all. It's unfortunate that is not the case for everybody.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel like you were writing my story. Thank you for putting words to the thoughts that I've never been able to express.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Lala said...

OOOF. I have never in five years of blogging read a post that had more of me in it than I could elucidate on my own. The only thing I would add is that the waves of emotional trauma that come after an abortion are like post traumatic stress disorder and you cannot convey that to anyone until they've walked a mile in your shoes. I think you're wearing my shoes today.

7:00 PM  
OpenID thedailysnark said...

Both choices are very difficult. I was adopted as a baby and I think my birth mother could not have given me a better gift—she was young and wanted me to have a better life than she felt she could provide. I know how hard that decision must have been for her—when I was a teenager I had to make that same choice, and I chose differently. I don't regret it because it was the right choice for me at the time. I knew I wasn't strong enough to do what she did.

I hate to say it, but I probably never considered how this could be a life-long struggle for her—or for any birth mother. I truly hope, as you write, that "it was a choice that opened up another future" for her. I hope she found peace with her decision.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Mr Lady said...

Catharine,

Not only was this quite brave, it was quite beautiful. I think I've come to peace with my own choices; I can let myself feel sorrow without forcing myself to also feel regret. It's taken me, personally, a long time to come to the place where I can separate those two emotions, in all aspects of my life. It's come down to me being able to just accept, not necessarily forgive, just ACCEPT my life as it's played out so far.

Thank you for writing this. I'm sure you're going to take a lot of fire for it, but look inside yourself when it comes and know that it's done, what's done. And that it's brought you to the place you are now. And that is okay.

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Francesca said...

Reading your entry, I had an immediate physiological response to your words. I burst into tears and thought, for the first time, after 2 beautiful boys, of the 'someone' that was not born due to my choice. That 'someone' who could have been held as I hold my boys now, who was no less deserving of his or her life as they are.

I don't sit here now in a pool of regret but I'm sitting in a murky pool of heartache and rawness that I've never before allowed myself.

Thank you for your words.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Merrily Down the Stream said...

Impeccable post.
Brave, honest, heart wrenching...
Speaking from my own experience neither was good but the emotional havoc wreaked by giving up the child has been a life long struggle and my reunion with him has a story book quality to it. The best possible ending and yet all of that pain... Thank you for bringing it up and thank the anonymous poster.

7:29 PM  
Blogger J from Ireland said...

My heart aches for you and your mother. Both awful to go through. You have really made me think and opened up my eyes to the different sides of adoption and abortion.
Thank you for this thought provoking post and thank you for sharing.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous janet said...

I truly appreciate your acknowledgment of the struggle of "your wish". That's always been my struggle with abortion - to me, the question is: does whether or not you want something, change what it is fundamentally?

I can see how for some, that answer is yes...but for me, it's always been no: it is what it is, and because when I wanted it, it was a baby, that's what it always will be. Again, for me. So that's what puts me in the pro-life camp, I guess. But again appreciate the acknowledgment that the same debate exists on the pro-choice side.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything Jane said I agree with.

Adoption may be harder. Of course it is! Because you are doing what is best for your baby! You are giving them a life that for some reason you can't give them!

Abortion IS selfish, as you stated Catherine. And if it is easier, that doesn't necessarily mean it is the better choice. Sometimes the hardest choices in life are the best ones. Kudos to your mother for recognizing that!

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I stopped breathing reading this.

I have never had to give up a child for either of these reasons, but I was just lucky. It could have just as easily been me.

Beautifully said, Catherine.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Nissa Nicole said...

Catharine, I know that I don't have to tell you "that post was so well written" because you know you are a fantastic writer. But I want to say it now, because what you just wrote is something that so, so many of us who have made the choice have tried desperately to understand and transcribe. All inside of our own heads.

Your honesty and straightforwardness on this blog and in particular, about this situation is shocking, inspiring and therapeutic for me and I assume, so many others who lurk or stop in once in awhile to read a post or two.

Thank you.

8:20 PM  
Blogger K.Line said...

What a beautiful, honest post. I feel so much for your mother - I cannot imagine how terrible her choice would have been. But how wonderful that you have the kind of relationship with her that allows her to explore her hurt and regret with you. It gives you the emotional license to explore your own experience of abortion and miscarriage with us. Some truly tragic things happen. Talking about them makes them bearable.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

What an incredibly brave, beautiful and brutal post. You managed to put into far more succinct words thoughts that have been swimming in my head since we finally managed to get pregnant.

My mother was forced to give up a child and revealed the truth to us when I was 17. I can honestly say that her decision not only haunted her (and does despite being reconnected with her birth daughter) that it truly and deeply effected her mentally as our mother. There are so many things, behaviours (rational and irrational)and decisions that made perfect sense once we knew the truth. (Perhaps unsurprisingly?) when I fell pregnant a year later she basically forced me into an abortion.

I have seen and experienced the knock-on effect and carnage of both decisions and believe that when women give up children they are often giving up a part of themselves (literally and figuratively). People who tout adoption as the "only" option should be aware of the pound of flesh that is given up alongside the baby.

Neither decision is made lightly or without cost.

8:36 PM  
Anonymous deb@http://forsakenforlent.blogspot.com said...

How unbelievable that you were able to express such honest and for better or worse feelings.
I have been struggling ironically in a quite opposite coming to terms with my rejection of mother.Laying bare that heartache.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Alexicographer said...

I found my way over here from Alexa at Flotsam and just wanted to say thank you for writing this. What a thought-provoking piece.

For those above who protest against it, I don't think "selfishness" is inherently unacceptable. I donate blood but not plasma and have not signed up as a possible marrow donor much less volunteered to be a kidney donor, though I understand I could live fine with just one. Why haven't I done the last three? Well, selfishness, basically ...

Perhaps my noting this will prompt someone reading this to sign up to donate marrow ... or a kidney ... so that would be a good thing, right?

9:02 PM  
Anonymous jonniker said...

I made the same decision that you did, many years ago. I don't regret it. It's not that I don't have feelings about the topic, or think it's a complicated issue or consider it in ways I never had before now that I have my daughter. It's that without that decision, I might not have the life I have now, and it's a magical one.

Regrets, for me, are somewhat useless. Would I do it again? Of course not. Of course not now, of course not in my current life state, of COURSE. But to regret it, for me, is to say that the life I have now is a waste, and that I wish for the life I'd had if I'd done something different back then. To wish that I didn't have my daughter or my husband, or be where I am right now.

And I can't say that I do, and I can't say for a second that my life would have turned out completely differently, so how can I say for a second that I wish otherwise?

So in that respect, I think abortion is easier, because there's nothing left to think about, if you look at it the way I do. Which is, again, NOT to say that it was right, or that I would make the same decision if I had to do it over again, but that for me, it is, by the nature of how I think, without tangible consequence. Other than going to hell, according to many. You know.

9:06 PM  
Blogger paperfairies said...

Not only is abortion selfish, I think it is the most selfish thing a woman could ever willingly do. But the choice should always remain there, selfish or not.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

paperfairies: yeah, pretty much. which is what makes it, sometimes, for some people, a bit hard to live with.

but as you say, that's a decision that only each of us can make, for ourselves.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't see the link to Shakesville -- if anyone else is similarly impaired, here is the one I think was meant: http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/03/breaking-silence-on-living-pro-lifers.html

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Lucie @ Unconventional Origins said...

Thank you.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Twenty years ago I'm fairly certain I would have made the same decision you made. For the same reasons.

Now I am so very thankful that I never had to make that decision!

As the mother of a child who was adopted I am so very thankful to the women who chose to place their child for adoption. I don't think I would have been strong enough as a teenager to do that.

Again, I am just so very thankful I did not find myself in such an impossible situation.

Well done post! And I am happy to see that up to this point the comments have been respectful, whether pro-choice or pro-life.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Musings of a Housewife said...

It is incredibly complicated, is it not? I particularly appreciate yours and Jane's exchange in these comments. Thank you for sharing.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Meli said...

I am so sorry for the sadness in your hearts. Both decisions produce infinite amounts of hurt and are difficult to endure.

This post was beautifully written and I thank you from my heart for writing it.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Shash said...

I think in either choice addressed here in this post there is pain on many different levels.

Having participated in one of these choices myself, I can painfully relate.

You always bring the beautiful. Thank you Catherine.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Don Mills Diva said...

And this is why you are the best blogger out there...

10:26 PM  
Blogger Eva Robertson said...

"In the absence of that wish . . . is it just cells that remain?" So many people have quoted that line, and I, too, find it the most powerful in your post. I wonder why, though? The very thought of something growing within me, however unformed, almost seemed to birth a maternal longing in me -- a wish to be the mother of whatever tiny aspiration to life was multiplying itself within me. That is what made it hard for me to abort.

10:28 PM  
Blogger witchypoo said...

I truly hope that this post will help some adopted children understand that they were not thrown away. I hope it will give them some understanding of what their birth mothers did.

10:29 PM  
Blogger paperfairies said...

You know witchypoo, I absolutely agree, I BOW DOWN to birth mothers because giving up a baby you *loved* too much to abort but couldn't offer a good life to, is (conversely to abortion) one of the most selfless things a woman can do.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Great post. As always you have such a great way of putting into words such complicated things. I lived for many years with regret over the choice I made to have an abortion. But more for the fact that I didn't have the balls to accept what was happening and take ownership. At the time I was more consumed with hurting my mother, reeling with the recent death of my father as timing would have it, rather than really considering the embryo as a child. It was more of an inconvenience; at the time I didn't even consider adoption. And I regret so much for thinking of it that way. It sounds so horrifically callous on my part.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have struggled for years trying to put into concise thoughts how I feel about the abortion I had over 15 years ago. You have finally given me those words.

"...I can't say that I regret having had an abortion, but I also can't say that I don't. It's complicated. Its complicatedness sometimes hurts my heart. "

This is my heart. Thank you for giving it words.

As I sit here now, the mother of 3, the only thing that has changed is my point of view. But point of view is everything sometimes.

I have been reading your blog for so long, but until tonight I’ve never commented. Thank you so much, Catherine.

Julie

11:14 PM  
Blogger Monkey Girl said...

I was given up for adoption and am very pro-choice.

Your quote about the emotional fallout includes not only the mother. I lived in foster care until I was 6 and that was 35 years ago.

I appreciate my birth mother's gift to give me a better home, however she also gave me a heaviness in my heart/soul. Not knowing, not having any baby pictures, not having what most people have...a childhood. I've since been 'found' by my birth father and the emotional wreckage it's caused in my family has been tremendous.

Years of therapy.

I imagine many years of therapy for my birth mother too. Whoever she may be.

Your mother was very brave, indeed.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Marla said...

First off, thanks for being so brave and posting your thoughts on this topic.

I'm not going to act like I understand the pain that comes with giving up a child, but I have to point out one fact: it may have been easier on you to have an abortion, but what about the baby that could have had a wonderful future? Abortions are final, life-ending operations.

Adoption on the other hand, provides a couple with the happiness of having a child. That child can have the opportunity to grow up with a family that truly loves it.

I'm not saying it's easy, but I know what decision I would make.

I'm sorry for you and your mother's pain.

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Heather said...

You are just such a good writer.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

marla - that was kind of my point. what I did is hard to live with precisely because it was selfish, final. I'm owning that, totally.

It keeps me awake at night, sometimes.

11:29 PM  
Blogger Karen MEG said...

Catherine, just thank you for this. You go places with your words that few of us can even dream of going.

11:47 PM  
Blogger The Grown Up Teenager said...

As someone who hasn't (yet) been pregnant, let alone had an abortion, I can't even begin to comprehend the thought process that goes on when a pregnancy is unplanned, and I do my best not to judge others choices.

That said, I am very pro-life, and will never agree that abortion means you don't have to say you're sorry. Its still a decision you have to own up to...to the child's father, parents, friends, a possible spouse, you will likely have to discuss it with your children one day, etc. And that's leaving out any morality aspects entirely (cause thats a sticky subject and I don't wanna get dirty).

My last boyfriend had experienced that guilt, as his ex had had an abortion and it was his baby. It ate at him that someone had ended the life of his child and he could do nothing about it. It wasn't just the mother that suffered.

In my opinion, a baby isn't a baby because of a wish, and you can't wish one away. But I also respect your opinion and hope my comment was written respectfully.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

This was so very, very brave.

Hugs to you, and peace.

12:17 AM  
Blogger Mandy said...

I am wordless, except to say that your post touched me deeply.

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

I heard somewhere once, (Was it on T.V.? Probably.) that whichever choice you make will be the right one. I think that's just about perfect. My first child was an unplanned pregnancy (albeit one in my late twenties and within the confines of a happy marriage)and it was right. But it would have been right if I'd become a mom earlier in life, or later. Your choice will shape your life and it will be right.

12:59 AM  
Blogger Lady M said...

Neither your choice nor your mother's was easy, and that so often gets left out of the arguments. "Just give him up for adoption!" is simply not that simple.

I am pro-choice. I called my son "my baby" while he was still an embryo. Some would say that's inconsistent, but it's an imperfect world.

Wishing you both some peace, Catherine. As always, you write so beautifully.

1:05 AM  
Blogger Baby Claire said...

i was adopted. and because of that i would never have an abortion. frankly because i'm actually here and living my life because someone chose not to abort, and it would be a slap in the face to life itself to turn around and chose the opposite.

that said, i would never give a child up for adoption. because i've lived it. being adopted myself is hard enough to deal with emotionally - i couldnt be on both sides of that spectrum. dumpee and dumper.

so when i got pregnant accidentally by the man who i was divorcing, when i'd decided that i didnt want children ever - i did the only thing i could. i kept her. not because i wanted to, but because it was the lesser of 3 evils.

and since the day she was born - i've been happier than i ever have in my life. my unwanted pregnancy turned into the most wanted child in the world.

i think adoption and abortion are equally difficult. for entirely different reasons.

i also think pro-lifers should concentrate more on proving scientifically, not religiously when "life" begins so that it would then make SENSE for the law to deny the right to kill an unborn child... rather than wasting time trying to change the minds of those whose minds clearly arent going to change. and i think pro-choicers should stop being proud of the right to choose. stop acting entitled to this right. because its a horrible, horrible thing to have to choose.

great blog, great read. very thought provoking to see it from both sides like that.

-katie... claire's mom

1:06 AM  
Blogger The Girl said...

You are so very eloquent. You hit it right on the head again, of course.

Thank you for sharing with us.

1:44 AM  
Blogger Laski said...

You know . . . as I read this I wondered what the comments would be. How would people respond? What type of fire would come your way?

I don't see it . . . maybe it is there and I'm not getting it. I think your honesty in telling your story, sharing how it impacted and still impacts you today is a powerful testament to who you are and who you have become.

Would you still be the same person if you had not gone through with it? Probably not.

You made a choice. You accept the consequences. You don't self-righteously defend it--you tell it exactly like it is.

No agenda. Just you. Your story. Your inner struggles . . .

Thank you for that.

I hope it makes sense, but you write with grace, grace and understanding.

2:18 AM  
Blogger Jaywalker said...

I spent a few weeks of my unplanned pregnancy trying to tell myself that I was big enough and brave enough and had enough space in my heart to have this third child. But eventually I realised that I didn't. That there was no way I could care for that third child and care for the two others and care for myself at an impossibly difficult time in my life.

Yes, it was selfish. But it was also right, and I don't have regrets. Having to readjust my image of myself - less selfless, less giving, more flawed - as a result was painful but I think gave me important self-knowledge.

I blogged about it

here

3:37 AM  
Blogger Mrs C said...

Abortion selfish? Really? Is it selfish to ensure that a child is wanted?

Am currently reading Irving's Cider House Rules which is about adoption and abortion. Here is an interesting quote read just this morning:

page 582 (paperback version):

"[Dr Larch] had heard [Nurse Caroline] say, so many times, that a society that approved of making abortion illegal was a society that approved of violence against women; that making abortion illegal was simply a sanctimonious, self-righteous form of violence against women - it was just a way of legalizing violence against women..."

Mind you, the book was written in the 80s and the quote is from a part of the story that occurs in Maine in the 50s sometime, but am curious to know people's thoughts.

I don't think abortion is selfish myself. It is what it is and it ensures that the babies that are born are wanted. That babies are born belonging somewhere and to someone.

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Ami said...

This is hard for me. I do not want to hurt or shame women who have made choices to terminate a life inside them. Nothing can be gained by calling someone selfish here. But, there may be someone reading this trying to decide to have an abortion or not, so for that I needed to respond.
I believe strongly, so very very strongly that even though one might not call this life a "baby," it is a LIFE. And abortion kills this LIFE. This life does not have a choice to grow into a person, to develop a personality, to love and laugh, once it has been terminated. Having an abortion, may be the "best choice" for the woman but it is not the best choice for the LIFE that is terminated.
And for every baby that is adopted here in the U.S., over 160 couples are still waiting for and wanting a baby, any baby. A healthy baby, a sick baby, a white baby, a black baby, ANY baby. Plus there are many, many, many other couples that want specific types of babies (boy, girl, healthy, white, etc.) All babies are wanted by someone.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Mrs C,

If I can presume to speak for those of us who are pro-life, it is because abortion is violence against a human being. A human being who happens to be at the earliest stages of its development, but a human being nonetheless.

As for the notion of making sure every child is wanted - some children ARE wanted, but for very selfish and damaging reasons. Other children aren't wanted until they arrive outside the womb. Some children aren't wanted and they do have a miserable childhood, only to rise from the ashes to a wonderful adulthood. I understand what people are getting at when they argue that an unwanted child will only suffer - but we ALL suffer, and unless you have a crystal ball that tells you for certain what will happen throughout that person's life, it could be that the baby's life in question could be very worthwhile indeed. I know that is a lot of hypotheticals, and not exactly a unassailable argument against abortion (I have arguments against abortion from philosophy, biology and religion) but I do think it is an important thing to realize. Being wanted is just not what makes a person a person, and it is dangerous to think that we can decide what makes someone else's life worthwhile.

I don't want to be the instigator of a firestorm in what has thus far been a very respectful dialogue. I just wanted to answer Mrs. C's question from a pro-life prospective. xo

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Erica said...

What a brave post. Thank you.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

The Grown Up Teenager - my title wasn't to suggest that there's no space for sorry. There's an edge to that title - I meant to convey that although that seems an advantage of abortion as a choice in certain situations, it's also the dark thing that causes *me* guilt.

Thank you so much expressing your view so respectfully.

(Thank you to everybody who is doing so. Really. THANK YOU.)

9:15 AM  
Anonymous red pen mama said...

(have not read all the comments.)

I had an abortion nearly 18 years ago. I was being selfish and defiant and exercising my right to choose. I perfectly recognize all of that. I have apologized, in my heart and in my head and in a confessional. I have been forgiven.

Given the choice again, I wouldn't do it. At least, given the choice knowing what I know now. It was the worst experience -- barring the stillborn death of my son 13 years later.

Make of that what you will.

You are a brave and lovely woman, Catherine, and I am so glad you write openly and honestly about this (and so many other things). My parents do not know about my abortion, and I never address it on my own blog, as much as I want to. I am scared that they will not be able to forgive me. I am scared that people will think I deserved to lose my son because of the choice I made when I was 20 years old. I cannot face that. (For the record, I do not think that God chose to punish me for defying Him/Her -- I don't think It/He/She works that way.)

I'm going to read some of the comments now, although I am afraid to. I will never be as brave as you, Mama!

ciao,
rpm

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

This is the second post of yours in two days that has led me to start writing such a long comment that I had to stop because it was turning into a post. Your writing here is, as always, breathtaking.

9:19 AM  
Blogger paperfairies said...

Although I am pro choice (ironically I used to be a member of a Catholic pro-life group) I agree with The Grown Up Teenager when she says that wishing for a life doesn't make it a life because if that were true, you could wish it away.

I think thought and intention have a powerful effect on all things but not wanting a baby won't make it disappear just as wanting it won't make it spring forth. Both these moments of creation or destruction require the exertion of strong action, as in sex or termination of pregnancy, wherein *wishing* takes a back seat.

This is why Mrs. C, abortion is selfish. Hard? Well, possibly the hardest thing a woman could ever do (me and my superlatives) but supremely selfish. Because a woman does it not to ensure a child is wanted, but because she's not ready or doesn't want to or can't handle being a mother. The choice is NOT about the baby, it is about the woman.

9:19 AM  
Blogger karla said...

I, um...wow, am in awe at your insight and reflections. As a mother who actually chose to remove her daughter from life support and then hold her while she died in my arms, I can 100% relate to everything you have said, and how eloquent and therapeutic your words are.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Amy - thanks for weighing in. I still don't know where I stand on when life - understood as human - begins. I agree that the wishing/wanting isn't what imbues a life-force - but I'm also not sure that I can say - and believe - that the moment of conception is the moment that a person springs into being. And I say this as a former philosophy lecturer who has thought about this A LOT.

So because I *don't* know - because it is still very much in the realm of belief for me - I believe that it is important that every woman have the freedom to determine her own belief on this matter and make her own decisions based on her belief. And then live with that decision.

Sometimes living with the decision is the hardest part.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Tricia said...

I have always been pro-life. In my early 20's rabidly so and part of demonstrations in front of abortion clinics. Then I worked at a crisis pregnancy center and I talked to the women who found themselves pregnant and in a real bind. We counseled these women and educated them on all choices, we did talk about abortion and the various methods and what each would entail for her and the fetus. I realize for the majority of women it is not a choice made lightly. I never demonstrated again but I would still counsel any woman that abortion is a hard choice and one with consequences they may not be able to imagine now.

Personally I would much rather be in your monther's position knowing that the child I chose to give up is out there somewhere living a life and hope for his happiness and fulfillment.

No judgment only sadness. :(

9:23 AM  
Blogger Sarcomical said...

exactly.

i don't really have anything else to say, as i've explained almost the exact same thing in great detail on my blog in the past. i got continued response about the topic even years after writing about it, and was always surprised in some way by the kindness and even empathy, especially since i so long couldn't imagine i deserved it.

i understand with you. and respect you for talking about it. thanks for sharing so deeply.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

paperfairies: I've said a few times here, in comments, that I agree that abortion is the selfish choice. And I think that I made it clear in the post that that choice is one fraught with guilt for me BECAUSE I'm NOT convinced that the wish/the want is what makes the fetus a child.

I appreciate that you're being civil, but it's starting to feel a bit like finger-wagging, that you're repeating and cheering a point that I've addressed - conceded, from a personal perspective - a few times already.

9:28 AM  
Blogger David said...

I think it's discussions like this that demonstrate how it's just not appropriate to boil these issues down to simple labels or catch-phrases you see on a bumper sticker.

An exceptionally well-written, profoundly personal, and very brave post.

9:30 AM  
Blogger paperfairies said...

Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry, no finger wagging at all. I have been there and absolutely understand guilt, sadness, possible regret, or not. or maybe guilt at not feeling regret, I don't know either. I guess I was just going through a thought process commenced by your post and stirred by the comments, I just wrote it, it helps getting it out of my head. Thanks for helping me do that.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Mrs C said...

Despite what people are saying to me personally, I still don't think it is necessarily a selfish act. Every woman's story or reasons are her own. For some women it may be selfish, in others, not so much. Like whether to have an abortion or not, it's up to the woman to decide if it's a selfish act. Her body, but also her mind.

Nuff said.

I'm more interested in people's opinions on the Irving text that I posted (and am rather surprised that nobody has decided to evaluate that text!).

I'm intrigued by the idea that a society that takes away choice from a woman regarding her body, approves of violence towards women.

Doesn't this interest anyone else?

9:50 AM  
Blogger Baby in the City said...

It is great to see such passionate and thoughtful comments that are also respectful.

This is such an important post - made better with the exceptional comments - because these issues are so complicated. Most us know, intellectually, that decisions like choosing to have an abortion or give a child up for adoption, are not simple decisions, yet so often we are asked - expected, even - to just pick our side, our slogan. Pro-choice, pro-life. Pick a side. And while that might be necessary when declaring a view on a law, it doesn't quite fit for emotional choices.

Great post.

And personally? I think it is OK to be selfish. We all do the best we can do. It is all we can do.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Sarcastica said...

Beautifully written and heartbreaking post. I don't even have words in response...I could never imagine that kind of hurt. I shy away from it. I'm not strong or brave enough to face that kind of hurt. I don't think my heart would take it :(

10:08 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

paperfairies - that's okay, and thanks. I'm just sensitive about the 'selfish' thing because it's the most difficult thing to wrap my head and heart around when trying to sort out my feelings on this. so, am touchy is all ;)

10:25 AM  
Anonymous aqua said...

Re: Jane's comment and the follow-up comments. I'm not sure selfish is the right concept here. Having children is not selfish -- you think? I was told by my single friends on more than one occasion that I'm selfish to desire and have a baby, especially in a world where putting more stress on our fragile environment is not a good idea, and a world that has more than its fair share of orphans and kids who need homes. And it's true, because the desire comes from a deeply personal, non-rational part of me -- just as it's selfish, in a different way, to not have a baby because "I want to enjoy my life and go out drinking every weekend." Do you think it isn't selfish to have the baby when you're not ready to parent, when you know the baby won't have a father, etc, simply because it offends your deep beliefs that having an abortion is wrong? The argument could be made that it's very selfish to not sacrifice your high ideals in light of your mistake (i.e. accidentally getting pregnant) in order to give your child a potentially miserable life in foster care, etc. In other words, my point is simply that one can rationalize a decision as not selfish, or selfish quite easily, in multiple ways. And the reason why this is so is simply because there are no real absolutes when it comes to these issues. We humans simply wrestle and rationalize and overthink and struggle with language (as I'm doing now, for I haven't had any coffee since I'm breastfeeding!). Which is also the reason why we must be kind to each other, even when we hold such irreconcilable points of view.

I am firmly pro-choice, and I find this post very touching precisely because it illustrates the complexities inherent in making a choice. Which is why slapping the label "selfish" is simply too simple and meaningless in this context.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I sure hope I don't outwear my welcome! It is SO refreshing to talk about this issue that I feel so strongly about with people able to talk about it respectfully and with grace.

Catherine - I am sure you have given this a lot of thought, and I am pretty sure I understand your perspective. I guess it is just that IF that little being really is a person, then given women freedom to make that choice is making them free to do something very horrible and morally wrong against another human being (the baby). I recognize that many who are pro-choice would agree with me and stand by that ability to choose anyway - I gather that is exactly your position. I hope you and others can at least understand why the consciences of those who are pro-life are not ok with that.

Mrs. C - addressing the quote: I guess I just don't see making abortion illegal as violence to women. It frankly disturbs me to characterized pregnancy as violence. We are not free to make all sorts of choices - we are not free to steal, to rape, to murder - and the denial of those freedoms is not a violence against men or women. I understand that pregnancy is unique in the way that it affects the body and psyche of a woman - but I see it as an incredible, beautiful, truly awesome example of human interdependence. And it seems to me that the violence comes in when that relationship is intentionally ended with death.

Unless someone directly asks me a question, this will be my final comment. I have no desire to dominate this great conversation, and I think most of us have heard all these points before. Peace and grace~

10:31 AM  
Blogger Goldfish said...

It's such a rabid political argument. But you remind us, eloquently and tenderly, that it's not political. It's about the complicated women who find themselves overwhelming and heart-breaking situations. Once again, thank you.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous aqua said...

Just a comment to those who worry that abortion is tantamount to murder. Abortion is ethical -- even if we believe (as I actually do not) that the fetus and the embryo constitute a baby. I think the ethical dimension of abortion was proved beyond the shadow of a doubt by philosopher Judith Jarvis Thompson in the 1970s. Rather than explain at length her argument, here is a link to the wikipedia entry:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Jarvis_Thomson

(but, shush, don't tell my students I just referred y'all to wikipedia :)

10:48 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Ahhh, I lied! Here I am commenting again!

Aqua - even the Wikipedia article states that her argument does not prove beyond a doubt that abortion is ethically permissible. First of all, pregnancy is hardly the equivalent of abduction and imprisonment. Except in the case of rape, pregnancy is the result of a willing choice. Secondly, passively removing yourself from a situation is different from actively destroying the body of another. Her hypothetical is not a perfect equivalent, and so not an unassailable argument.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Bobita~ said...

My husband and I, arms mingled, our brand new baby boy filling our senses, met eyes. And wept. It was a sadness that could not be put into words because, after all, it was a Choice that we made together. Twice.

It is a grief that seems impossible to describe. A penance of sorts. But grief nonetheless.

10:56 AM  
Blogger messyfunmommylife said...

I want to say you feel compelled to call the miscarriage a baby because it was produced in love. It was a baby you created with someone you loved and that bond can never be broken. However, that would be saying that I don't have that bond with my son. (who was not created in a loving relationship) It is a difficult line to figure out. We all do what we gotta do I suppose. And sometimes you have to listen to red rag top 20 times to figure it out:) very insightful very honest. thank you.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Ami said...

I just wanted to respond to Mrs. C about her quote. How is being pregnant, creating life, violent? Women can become pregnant, men cannot. Why do we immediately assume because men don't become pregnant that women get a bum deal out of biology? That because men can walk away from sex being untouched, THAT is the desirable state? Shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't men be picketing the inequality that THEY have been dealt? Unable to feel life inside of them?
True, being pregnant is hard work, hard, very hard, super hard work. But it is also MIRACULOUS. Yet because we are not exactly the same, that means we are victims? Of violence?
And one last thing, simply because you have a baby does NOT mean you have to raise that baby, spend the rest of your life with that child. No woman haa to be responsible for the baby that is created unless she choses. That should be the choice. Adoption rules.

11:06 AM  
Blogger MilkMama said...

Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous aqua said...

Amy -- yes, those objections have been raised by other philosophers. I simply don't buy them. No analogy is perfect -- i.e. the two things between which you draw a parallel are not identical, obviously, that's the whole point of an analogy -- but in this case, for me, the analogy works perfectly.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

aqua - if it convinces you, that is fine for you. But it does not convince me, nor is it a watertight argument. Really, there are no perfectly unassailable arguments from philosophy; you can always attack the premises. That is the strength and weakness of philosophy.

I am done for real this time. xo

11:15 AM  
Anonymous aqua said...

Oh, sorry, one more thing, Amy, accidental pregnancy is not the result of a willing choice -- unless you equate sex with procreation, which, well, I can't see how one could do that.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

And I am the worst of liars. :P

Not equating sex with procreation?! Well, no they are not the SAME, but I think its pretty obvious that they are pretty darn closely related. People should know that anytime they have sex, pregnancy is possible (barring, you know, a hysterectomy or something like that).

DONE!!! :)

11:20 AM  
Blogger Mrs C said...

Ami,

I'm rather prone to think that the quote pertains to the idea that if the choice were to be taken away from women, then that would increase the violence done to women because they would need to find other "fixes" out of desperation. Some of which could be deadly. Because some women don't want to be pregnant. No matter how MIRACULOUS being pregnant is. Again. Choices.

Also. Taking away choices is violent. No matter what. Right? Don't you feel put out if you don't have a choice in a matter? No matter how big or small?

Your take on the quote is interesting though.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous aqua said...

This is the last comment -- I promise!
Amy -- but surely, if you believe there are no watertight arguments "from philosophy" (I'm not sure what that means, but, ok, for the sake of argument), then you acknowledge that your argument is not watertight either. What other authority could one appeal to? And don't say god, because, well, that may just be the epitome of philosophy (the way you seem to define it).
This just goes back to my point that we can talk about these issues till the end of time and still not resolve anything :)

11:23 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Amy, acqua - I actually love that you are having this debate so civilly. And the fact that it is so difficult to come to a point of agreement on the core questions (I can't even agree with MYSELF on the core questions) is, I think, the most important reason why choice is left to each of us.

Although I know that many people disagree with that, too ;)

11:23 AM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

I tell my children (11 & 13) that choosing to have sex for the first time or the 100th time is a life-altering experience because of what can result from that moment of intimacy.

Once an unplanned pregnancy occurs, there are NO good options, no painless, easy way to deal with the wrenching decisions before us and their short and long term ramifications.

I appreciate how you have dissected the complexity of it all and let it stand for what it is: regret that is not pure regret, an emotion that all of us can relate to, regardless of what choices we have made in our lives involving love, sex, partners, marriage.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Natasha @ BecomingSomething said...

I'm impressed at your hesitancy to draw a conclusion about what is cowardly and what is brave and what is right and what is wrong.

I've been on both sides of the philosophical fence and because of that, I struggle over the emotions that are involved in telling one group of people that their choices are fewer based on my spiritual convictions. And yet. I believe those convictions deeply. While I used to be pro-choice and had made the decision to abort if I was pregnant (I gratefully wasn't), I am now pro-life.

It's an interesting coincidence that you've posted this shortly before my posting of something I wrote days ago. (Will be up in an hour or so.) It will be interesting to see your reaction! :-)

I am very sorry for your pain, for your mother's pain, for the pain of women throughout the world who are faced with the hardest of choices beyond what most men will ever have to experience.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

aqua - Yes, I do acknowledge that my arguments can be attacked as well. Despite the fact that I do have firm beliefs and that I believe in objective truth, my philosophical training taught me that nothing can really be proven beyond a doubt. And so in a sense, we all live by faith - not necessarily in the religious sense.

But these discussions are worth having because minds and hearts can still be changed. And even if the problem is never resolved (and I doubt it ever will be) then hopefully at least we can better understand one another, or at least learn to live together. This is true of nearly everything in life. By admitting that I cannot convince everyone that I am right, that I cannot even prove that I am right, doesn't make me less firm that I am right about certain things.

(p.s. I don't see God as the epitome of philosophy, on the contrary, I see God as breaking into our human ideas and revealing things we couldn't figure out on our own. I am a Christian, but I have avoided bringing my religious arguments into play here because I realize they are meaningless to someone who does not share my beliefs.)

Can I say once more that I love the respect you are all showing in this conversation?!

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the linked story, and this one, and am so sorry for all the pain everyone has felt. Truly, I am. But I have to say, it's supposed to hurt. The way it feels like skin being stripped from you when you find out your child is aching. Parenting is painful. It's joyous, exhihilarating and unimaginably tedious. But it's also, often, painful. There are no easy outs, and there shouldn't be, whether a woman choices abortion, adoption or raising her child.

12:10 PM  
OpenID mumologic said...

Thank you for your humility and for writing something that is probably the most truthful depiction of what this "choice" entails. Most of the time we only read/hear/see the two extreme views on either side...it is truthful, divided writings like this that bring the two sides together in hopes that there might be an attempt to understand...and then make choices that are TRULY GOOD for everyone involved... regardless of how it feels. You are courageous for being open.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Thank you for writing this. Absolutely beautifully written!

First off I have to say I have always considered myself pro-choice although I'm not sure I could ever go through with an abortion.

From a grandmother's perspective;

My daughter was pregnant at 16. She was terrified to tell me so she told the big-mouthed neighbor kid who told me.


We immediately made an appointment for an abortion only because time was of the essence. She told me that she didn't think she could go through with it. I also made her an appointment with an adoption counseler. I have to say, it would have killed me to see her give him up. I kept my mouth shut and prayed that she would not choose that option but I had to help her get all the information we could for her to make the right decision for her.

I was so not at the point in my life where I wanted another child. I did not want her child to become mine. (I had 4 children in 5.5 years and she was my youngest, I was peering at the light at the end of my tunnel)

She choose to keep him and we chose to support her in any way we could. It's been a hard life for her but I think in some ways he saved her life. He will be four on Sunday. He's sweet, loving and very well behaved. I guess my wish is that she never had to make a choice either way.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Lotta said...

I wrote a post awhile back about mizuko-jizo

http://mom-o-matic.blogspot.com/2007/03/mizuko-jizo.html

You should read it. It talks about how mothers create shrines at home or in temples with small statues or dolls to represent their aborted child. The baby is honored with prayers and bows. They believe that they have sent that soul back up to heaven until it is ready to come to earth.

I really admire how they are pro-choice and yet don't feel they need to say "it's just a cell". They can acknowledge that a life was stopped and thus there is grief. And to honor that grief and that baby. I think it's a perfect balance.

Take care,
Lotta

12:59 PM  
Blogger Nissa Nicole said...

I didn't think I'd come back to comment, but after reading others I decided there was one last thing to say...

I talked about this post with my husband and another friend of mine who has made her choice as well, and we both came to the conclusion that this particular blog includes ideas and thoughts that aren't generally shared or equated with abortion - and that is what makes this such a breathtaking post.

There's always pro-lifers who argue their points and I'm always inclined to argue back, to make my point as well - but not with this. Because there is no argument. Why? Because giving a child up for adoption is a selfish choice, too. Like the story linked and like so many people I've met who were adopted or gave up a child - the guilt, pain, mental anguish that follow are not so different than with abortion. The difference lies only in the amount of people who are affected and who have to recover- like Catharine wrote.

It's about time people started realizing that defending adoption while berating abortion doesn't work - it's not that black and white. It is so much more complicated.

We're all more similar than we think.

1:00 PM  
Blogger liz said...

Thank you.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant post.

I have had two abortions -- both in my early 20s, one pregnancy a result of stupidity, one a result of birth control failure. I have no regrets about either, though it would be easy to *pretend* regret over the one with the man who became my husband. But the truth is that it was never even a question in my mind -- we had only been together 9 months, I wasn't finished with college, etc.

I'm in my 40s now and we have two wonderful sons, and I wouldn't change a thing.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An honest and poignant post. I wholeheartedly support your choice, my dear. I would like to comment on the comments though. I am from South Africa where we have an extremely high teenage pregnancy rate. There are just too many orphan babies and children, so adoption is usually not an option. Also, many of these pregnancies are the result of rape or incest. Then there is the HIV factor. A lot of the "unwanted" babies are HIV positive and have a short and tortured life. I worked as a psychologist with many orphaned children and I have seen many children in such pain and neglect. I will stop here, but I hope this gives a different perspective. Because it is not only in Africa where it is so complicated.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Schmutzie said...

I had an abortion many years ago. I had been eating poorly, doing drugs, and living on welfare as a psychiatric outpatient, and right when I was dealing with multiple ovarian cysts and highly unlikely to become pregnant, I found out that I was pregnant with multiples. I think of them often, and you described it so well, the complicatedness of both regretting and not regretting.

2:41 PM  
OpenID geminigirl64 said...

what an amazing post.

Are you and your mother searching for your brother? I always wonder about you after I watch the Locator (troy dunn).... those families that are brought together make me cry....

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Melodie said...

This is the first time I have heard the sory of another woman's abortion that rang close to my own feelings - the feeling of the loss of a child even though it was my decision, more so than relief over having the choice, which I think most people expected me to feel. I had an abortion 10 years ago. I came to terms with it in a way that I don't know how many other women would have. It was a personal story I have never been brave enough to tell many people except my very very closest of friends, but reading your brave words here has given me some strength to consider blogging my story someday too. Thank you so much for this beautiful post!

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your blog while researching lost motherhood, and I have shared the experience of ambivalence following abortion. I want you to know it is possible to come to terms with the experience and establish a relationship with your child lost to abortion. You must be honest, though. Pregnant=mother. It cannot be avoided. Once the pregnancy occurs, you are a parent--when it's happy news we easily acknowledge this status with the term "expectant parents." The pathway to peace is to admit that a life was taken, hold yourself accountable for your role in that decision and be reconciled with God as you need to be for all wrongdoing. The only way I know to do that is through Jesus Christ. If you experience the grace of His forgiveness which is freely available to you, you may then receive healing and celebrate the life that existed for such a short while. And you will have the hope of being with your child in eternity, as Christ Himself will provide the link between the two of you.
I will pray for you that God will accomplish this in you and that He will indeed fulfill His promise to exchange beauty for ashes in your life.
I am honored to know your story, and write to you as a way to honor my child lost to abortion. I named him Emmanuel. He would have been 31 this year.
May the Lord bless you as you seek Him.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Ami said...

This idea of "choice" is interesting and frustrating for me at the same time. I am still, for lack of a better phrase "pro-life" (I hate these names, I mean really is anyone anti life?), however there are many interesting thoughts and points to consider.

Firstly, Mrs. C. choices are taken away constantly. That is what civilization/government does, right? Limit choices I make that may negatively impact someone else? Unlimited choice is anarchy. To me this word invokes violence. So to me unlimited choices is violent.
Secondly, I seriously wonder how passionate our discussion of choice/abortion would be if men got pregnant 50% of the time. How many women are pro-choice because it's "not fair" women have consequences to sex that men do not? It's interesting to think about. Many years ago when men where less able to walk away from unintended pregnancies, less women advocated pro-choice rights. Abortions still occured, but the fervor over it being an essential right to women wasn't present. It really makes me wonder.

3:24 PM  
Blogger RHW said...

I liked the post and acknowledge the conflicting feelings many women have surrounding adoption and abortion - neither are easy choices

BUT

I'm actually a bit upset by the people here who are so *certain* and almost vehement that abortion is a selfish choice.

Posters have written about women choosing abortion basically for their own convenience (not ready, don't want to be a mom, can't handle it, etc).

I've counselled many women in crisis pregnancy situations and there are a lot more issues involved. I think it's callous and disrespectful to distill it down to *convenience*.

I'm actually shaking while I'm writing this, these posts have disturbed me that much.

So many people seem to argue that women have abortions because it's all about *them* and how that's just horribly selfish.

It's not true.

I know women who have had abortions :

- so as not to bring children into an abusive relationship, or possibly get killed while pregnant

- because of genetic or developmental issues, to prevent the child's suffering (and I'm not talking about things like Downs and such)

- for economic reasons - their family and existing children are already barely getting by using every trick they have - should they sacrifice the well being of the children they have for the potential child?

- health reasons - yes, I suppose not wanting to be permanently maimed or possibly die is selfish, but then again, what about the mother who wants to be whole and healthy for her existing child?

- because they were being threatened by family members and didn't want any child subjected to that

Is it really horribly selfish to want to maintain ones mental or physical health? To want to keep ones family intact and/or safe?

Is it selfish to have an abortion, even though you'd really rather have the child, so as to be able protect or care for other children?

I understand some people view the choice as a personal decision one makes for ones own reasons, and hence, it is selfish. There is some truth to that.

However, labeling all women who've made that choice with the extremely negative label of *selfish*, or particularly making the most selfish decision possible, seems a bit much to me and (by the way some posters have written it) pretty judgmental and self righteous.

By the same token, adoption is not a viable option for all - in some circumstances the same problems are there. In others, you are arguing that women who may not be able to handle adoption should do it anyway because it's the "right" thing to do - never mind the trauma which may be inflicted upon them and their family. There are many reasons, that you may or may not agree with, that can make abortion more acceptable choice for a woman/family than adoption - and they don't have anything to do with personal convenience.

There, I've said my piece. For the record, as many people attribute such opinions to someone being defensive about their own choices, I've never had an abortion or given a child up for adoption. I *am* a mother.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Redneck Mommy said...

I cannot go here.

Not today.

Not as I hold my adopted son in my arms, mourn the loss of my other son and wonder what would have happened if I had made a different choice so many years ago...

Today is not the day for me to examine old wounds with fresh hurts.

I love you my friend. Peace.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

RHW - I hope that it was clear in any of my comments that I don`t regard abortion as selfish across the board (in fact, I think that I said in one comment that I could think of many circumstances where it is not.) So, I didn`t, and would not label all women who have made that choice as selfish (for the record, my husband and I did need to think about termination of future pregnancies when we were struggling with the discovery of a potentially very serious genetic disorder that I might pass along - and I felt and feel very clear that there would have been NOTHING selfish about the factors we would have been considering there.)

I do regard my youthful decision as selfish on a variety of levels. I don`t know that that makes it wrong, but it makes it something and that something is something that I struggle with. Some posters here have said that we shouldn`t regard `selfish`as necessarily bad, and I agree with that. All I can do, though, is reflect upon my own experience.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Meredith said...

Thank you. I am humbled.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Ami - I`m not being flip when I say this, I`m really not, but I think that if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a far less controversial subject, because abortion would happen far more frequently and openly.

There`s a lot more that I could say about that. Maybe later.

3:39 PM  
Blogger RHW said...

HBM - it wasn't anything you said - which I pretty much agree with - it was more some of the other posters.

I don't think I saw the comments you're referring too, but I do agree that selfish is not always a bad thing.

The post you linked to on Shakespeare's Sister was a powerful read too - thank you. It reminded me of a lot of women I've seen who simply could *not* stomach the idea of adoption, often because of their own experiences with adoption and/or abandonment.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sorry about my abortion six years ago. The eight month old fetus kicking my ribs right now is something else entirely. At six weeks, BOTH were just a clump of cells no bigger than an orange pip, and it was indeed my wanting that made this one *my baby*. Mainly because an orange-pip sized cell clump is not a baby. Thank you for articulating this.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous aqua said...

Amy -- Yes, I agree with what you last wrote! It's so sad when people fight about these beliefs and end up really hurting -- physically or emotionally -- other people who are probably already hurting in many ways.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Lord John Marbury said...

I understand and see the magnitude of dilemma posed of contraceptives, abortion in sexual ethics. It is a difficult question and I can't say it is always right to be fully against abortion/contraception or conversely, advocate an anything goes policy.

I've linked your blog with mine on the subject.

You can read more here:

http://lucasweatherby.blogspot.com/2009/03/sexual-ethics-abortion-and-condom.html

Would appreciate your views!

5:10 PM  
Blogger SurvivalFloat said...

Beautiful. We have a lost boy, a lost brother, too. You've inspired me to take the initiative to start looking.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Loralee Choate said...

Can you be pro-life without wanting abortion made illegal again?

If you can, than that is what my stance is.

I have great compassion for woman who face either option. (I do NOT have much compassion for those who take it lightly and use abortion as birth control. Let's face it-they exist. And it turns my stomach.)

However. I know that this is a very small percentage of women and that it is a profoundly difficult process for most.

So is adoption.

Having lost Matthew, I choose pro-life for myself. I feel that yes, it is a woman's body but the baby is in there too and has no choice. I would choose for every infant to live, thrive and be happy and loved.

No babies would die, no abortions would happen and they would be born in circumstances that were wonderful and loving.

This isn't how it is, though. And I realize that everyone else has wide and different opinions that are not mine.

It is so very, very personal and difficult and I would never begin to try to put my decision on another woman's life and situation. I wouldn't take that option away legally.

I also would never judge someone for making either decision.

Frankly, I think that either choice would be hard enough on someone without people's opinions making it harder.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Lost In Splendor said...

Somehow I am new here. I wanted to say what a beautiful post this was. I'm adding you to my reader.

Also (not that it matter but)pro-choice here and it was lovely to see civility throughout these comments. That is pretty amazing.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Domestic Extraordinaire said...

This coming Monday 15 years ago I found out I was expecting my daughter. I had assumed it for a while, but being under age I was unable to purchase a pregnancy test at our local pharmacy. I went to a clinic to get the results of a test in which I knew the answer to. I was 16, scared, and unsure of what I would do. My mother presented me with many options-but told me that whatever I decided to do it was my choice & my baby. My boyfriend's father & whole family told me that it was probably best if I got an abortion because did I really want to ruin my boyfriend's life.

I have never really thought of what may have happened if I wasn't badgered by some to get an abortion-to make the easier choice-would I have done it? I knew that once I had my baby, carried her inside of me that I would never be able to give her up-in hopes of her having a better life. I heard one too many stories from friends who were in foster care for the better part of their lives.

So I had her, I kept her, we got married & lived happily ever after (well sort of) I know that we are in the minority-I know that success doesn't follow most young, unwed mothers. But I am glad that I decided to defy the adults around me & grow up a bit faster than a should have. I have my Giggles.

I admire you, Catherine, not for the fact that you had the abortion-but for the honesty and the emotion that you share with us here daily. You don't post what others would want, you don't keep it PC. I love the fact that you can be so transparent to us. I hope someday to get to spend some time with you, to chat of many things & not have a quick conversation in a crowded & loud bar in Nashville.

Many hugs to you.

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastic Mom said...

There was a time in my life when I was firmly pro-choice, even a time when I'd have had an abortion if my fears that I was pregnant had turned out to be true.

They didn't.

I am so glad of that. I'd regret that decision every day of my life. I don't think I'd be able to tuck it away - and that is just something about me personally.

Something in my heart and mind changed, and I am For Life.

But I still struggle a great deal with this entire debate, because in my heart I do believe that the choice should be each one's own.

Should we not be afforded the chance to make either the right or wrong choice? (Whatever those may be, I don't claim to know absolute truths in the universe, just willing to admit my own feelings.)

But there are many instances where our government has deemed it illegal for us to make certain choices.

Another thing I wonder about - we are often quite sad to hear that an able bodied person has committed suicide. Why? Is it because life terminated is just sorrowful? Is it because of the pain caused to those "left behind?" Wasn't that just a choice the person made about their own body?

I believe we all make choices that will cause both ourselves and others agony. The choice to give a child up for adoption can clearly cause anguish, but for many it is joyful and causes happiness. The choice to abort can clearly cause anguish, but some never look back or feel burdened.

And here I speak also of the pain caused others: Adoption, when it causes pain, I imagine can cause pain to the mother, father, and child as well. But abortion? Well, this can also cause pain, and not just for the person making the choice, no? Every choice we make has consequences. The life ended could result in unforeseen pain for someone in the future who will not be helped by the person who would have had that life. It could also result in saving someone from a deep pain that may have been inflicted by that very person.

So many facets. So very, very many.

Thank you for so eloquently and honestly sharing your thoughts, feelings, experience, and opinions. Such discourse is what we need to continue thinking intelligently about emotional issues.

There exist out there more situations, experiences, and reasons for a woman to abort her unborn child/fetus/embryo/mingling of cells (all of which = human life) than the day is long. Many of them would make my heart ache in abundance.

But while I respect your stance, and you really make me think, I am still unable to waver from being for life, and believing there really is no moment where I am qualified to decide that one should end.

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Julie Gribble said...

Thank you for this post. Your courage and honesty to tell your very personal story prove to me the strength of your character.

Our former president Bill Clinton I think said it best "Abortion should not only be safe and legal, it should be rare."

We all live with the choices we make in life, some good and some bad. We grow and move on. That is what we all do.

Thank you again for a beautiful post.

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Julie Gribble said...

Thank you for this post. Your courage and honesty to tell your very personal story prove to me the strength of your character.

Our former president Bill Clinton I think said it best "Abortion should not only be safe and legal, it should be rare."

We all live with the choices we make in life, some good and some bad. We grow and move on. That is what we all do.

Thank you again for a beautiful post.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Christine Varnado said...

YES. This masterfully written post gets at something that is so hard to discuss with reason or sanity in the abortion debates -- that yes, if you want to paint these decisions in the crudest possible terms and narrow your value judgments down to a single vector, it can be said that adoption is the 'more selfless' choice and abortion the 'more selfish' one. Pro-life people say this all the time. But what I never hear anyone address is WHY 'selfish/selfless' should be THE sole moral rubric for this decision at all -- what about 'less crippling/more crippling for living the rest of your life'? And 'consequences for only you/profound consequences for a host of other people, some of whom are unconsenting'? The debate is so centered on selfish/selfless that this essay, giving voice to these other vectors, these other values, is one of the ONLY places most of us have ever seen this other way of looking at the issue articulated!

It's telling, isn't it, of the cultural requirement that WOMEN must be as selfLESS as possible, all the time, with every decision. (We see this in a different arena with the 'mommy wars.') Yes, pro-lifers would say, you are morally obligated to make the choice that will be the most damaging, burdensome, complicated, and potentially warping and crazymaking. Because a woman rejecting self-sacrifice, rejecting the idea that her role in this life is to fuck herself up for someone else's nebulous benefit (it's debatable that existence v. non-existence is a real benefit at all); a woman making a difficult choice (until you've gone through it you have NO IDEA how difficult - 'abortion on demand' is an anti-choice myth), the choice to preserve, promote, and protect her SELF... well, that has to be demonized.

1:04 AM  
Blogger Carrien said...

A very wise friend, who had 3 babies die either before or after birth, once said to me that she thinks that one of the reasons women choose to have abortions is because they think it will help to avoid, or bypass grief.

As you have so eloquently stated, grief is unavoidable in this situation no matter what you choose.

My little sister gave up a baby for adoption when she was 19. Right up until the final month she thought she was going to keep it. But in the end she realized that the most loving thing for her to do for her child would be to give him to someone who was able to mother him as she knew she wasn't ready to do.

I was there in the hospital when the adoptive parents picked him up. We took pictures, signed papers. I watched as my sister and the baby's new mother embraced and wept on each other's shoulders. It was beautiful, and sad, and full of grief and joy.

I watch her now, as she expects her second child, her first is now 8, go through emotions she had buried until now. and there is more grief. I don't believe that choosing an abortion would have helped her to avoid the grief she is feeling now, but that it would be of a different kind, and more difficult. But I am not her, so I can't say for sure. At least she has the assurance that she did the most loving thing she was capable of doing at the time. Though even that is probably small comfort.

It helps that the adoptive family is lovely, and stays in touch, and she sees him once or twice a year. He knows who she is now. It's the best possible outcome given the circumstances he was conceived under.

You are very brave, to air your doubt, and grief in this forum. I'll pray for you to find a way through this.

4:47 AM  
Blogger rantsalamode said...

Lovely post. Issues such as these are really important to discuss. This is why we must save Women's Studies at the University of Guelph. They're thinking of axing it to save money -in the short-term can you imagine? Let's protect a space in the academy for women's and gender issues like abortion, motherhood, being transgendered and so much more. Please sign this petition http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/savewmst/?e

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's rather idealistic for so many to assume that every child given up for adoption grows up in a wonderful home with parents who desperately want them.

There are thousands of children lingering in transient foster home settings, group homes, institutions.....all who were given up for adoption. Many who are perfectly adoptable. They simply don't fit a predefined criteria for perfection.

There is much about surrendering a child for adoption that is just as selfish as abortion. Our society simply chooses to see one decision as heroic and selfless and the other as selfish and wrong.

There are no guarantees either way.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Tiffi33 said...

I have seen both sides of this issue...from the vantage point of a best friend..
She has done the adoption twice, ad the abortion twice..both of them are difficult...but necessary...
She has blood clotting issues and a mentally unhealthy relationship that spurred her to the second ab..the second one was the one that got her the most...she swore she wouldn't do it again, it just hurt too much the first time (emotionally)..he insisted..she did it to save her family...(Which was moot..coz it had been over for 2 yrs..she just didn't know it)
The adoptions left a bugger mark on her, despite her practicality on the situations..she was 17 the first time, and KNEW she could NOT care for him, that gorgeous baby boy..(he is 16 now..) she did however enjoy her time with him..she fed him and held him and loved him while she could..we know he is safe and loved now, his family is fabulous..and someday, I have always told her this, this baby will come looking for her..to know her, to thank her..she doesn't think so..I know so...
the second adoption was even more painful because of her son, who is the full sibling if baby 2..it was so hard to explain..but it is an OPEN adoption..she has seen him 2 or 3 times since his birth 6 months ago..gets pictures and updates and will get get to see him as he gets older..this is so much easier on her..and her son, who can see his brother...and know he is safe..

adoption is a beautiful thing..but difficult to do and decide...and you have got to be able to talk about it, to deal w/ the feelings..like Catherine said, it has its own ramifications...
just goes to show you, burying feelings about ANYTHING is unhealthy..

Abortion makes my heart hurt..BUT..
it should NEVER EVER be illegal tho.
There are too many circumstances where it is needed, selfish or not..to make it illegal would be taking a HUGE step backwards for women..on ALL sides of this issue..

I often think, could *I* have an abortion? honestly, I don't think I could..but far be it from me to say that NO women can..
My wish for women who are thinking of abortion is that they are EDUCATED. that they KNOW what they are..be educated by a 3rd party on what is going to happen..I don't think enough people are educated..

I have to say that this is quite civilized...it is impressive to see and heart warming!

8:41 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Selfish choices are not de facto wrong ones: it's okay, I think, to be young, and to think, "I can't live with this". It's okay to choose to not put a new person into the world that you would worry about forever. A lot of the comments here are being kind to you, Catherine, while simultaneously suggesting that adoption is a more noble--because self-sacrificing and life-giving--thing to do than to abort.

I don't think so.

I value women as much as I value as-yet-unborn bundles of cells. I think a woman's (a girl's) pain and fear for her future and desire for a clear path is worth considering.

Obviously, to abort is not to receive a get-out-of-jail free card, emotionally or physically. But the hurt is a different one than carrying to term and giving a way a baby, as you note.

I assert any woman's right to be selfish in this way: contra much opinion here, I choose to put that woman first in my thoughts here, rather than the embryo.

Hugs to you. I'm so glad I never had to make either choice. Two of my aunts gave up babies in the early 70s. My sister almost gave up her son in 1995. There's a lot of hurt going around.

You have the right to choose: the choice is as much about your life as about the life of the bundle of cells.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was 14 years old, I had a boyfriend that was 17, over the summer vacation. I also had an abusive, overprotective evangelical Christian father. When we went back to school, I found out that my 17 year old boyfriend had a 17 year old girlfriend. I also found out I was pregnant.

I miscarried. It makes me cry to think about, I see 12 year old kids and smile, and wonder. I am also eternally grateful to whatever powers that be that I did not have that child. Pregnant at 14? I would have been beaten within an inch of my life. I wouldn't have had the choice of abortion or adoption, I would have had to raise that child, come hell or high water, while being emotionally and or physically abused by my dad.

Am 26 now, and I have a 2 year old- I went through a pregnancy that was textbook, no medical drama. There was however, a list of complaints that made me utterly miserable- First trimester- UNCONTROLLABLE PUKING, Second trimester- SLEEP ALL DAY Third trimester- HEARTBURN! TIRED! SCIATIC NERVE PAIN! SWELLING FEET!
I would do it again, but only for a baby? Complicated situation when I find that I am pregnant? I would have a difficult decision to make, wouldn't I?

10:08 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I'm just going to keep commenting instead of pretending that I won't comment again. :P

aqua - YES to what you last said. That is the mistake that much (thought not all) of the "pro-life movement" makes - hurting people who are already hurting; standing in judgment and condemnation without offering any grace. Personally, I am way more interested in individuals than any movements or political ideologies. While I could never support abortion directly with dollars or votes, my real interest is helping women and children be safe and healthy and life-giving.

As all of you have so eloquently stated, the things that lead women to consider abortion are very complex indeed. I just want to throw out something to ponder on one more aspect of this discussion. Many people have talked about it being ok to be selfish in order to avoid grief, suffering, chaos, pain. I think that the person who made the point that women are always expected to be selfless makes a good point. Though in my worldview I believe all people should strive to be selfless, I do not think it ought to be foisted on women especially by virtue of their gender. That being said, I guess I have a concern and problem with the notion of being able to discard the unborn (I believe it is a human, I realize that belief is not shared by all of you, and so this argument may be moot) to avoid suffering, even to avoid THEIR suffering. These ethical decisions turn out to be closely related to things like euthanasia of the elderly and the sick. Imagine transferring the same argument to a woman with a senile, suffering father. Should the woman have to sacrifice her own happiness, should she have to undergo mental anguish and financial ruin only to inflict continued suffering on the old man? For some people the answer is clearly no, go ahead and euthanize the old man. Frankly, I tremble at the notion of making such decisions about life and death. But perhaps this is where my faith comes into play. If there is no God, what is there to tremble at?

10:17 AM  
Blogger Morgan said...

I thought I was going to simply comment, but my story came pouring out, so I simply posted it on my own blog. But thank you, thank you everyone, for keeping this respectful. I, too, made that choice, and there will always be grief there. I will always wonder, but I did what I felt was best for me and the baby. Better not to be, in a world of hate, physical danger, and emotional abuse.

It's over here, if you're interested. But more - just thank you everyone, for opening up some new viewpoints for me.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your follow-up comment that you think living with adoption is way harder. I may sound maudlin for saying this, but I would rather have my child die in my arms than have him taken from me and never know what happened to him.

4:42 PM  
Blogger momranoutscreaming said...

A very brave and thought provoking post. I doubt if it could have been done better. I am grateful that I never had to make that choice because I surely would have made the same one you did and now as a mother of 3 beautiful children, I surely would have regretted it. Even now, just the thought makes my heart ache.

11:56 PM  
Anonymous katef - www.picklebums.com said...

This is a beautiful, inciteful, through provoking, heart wrenching post.

I can relate to it all but could never quite seem to be able to form it into coherent ideas or words.

Thank you for doing it so well.

12:46 AM  
Anonymous shelly said...

This is my first time here and I must say your post was the most emotional and beautifully written.I've been through the same.We all need to chose whats right for us, dont we? Your very brave.Kudos to you..

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Tandoori said...

Very touching story and very courageous of you to share it. I'd never be able to spell out something so heartbreaking! Requires a lot of guts.....

2:21 AM  
Anonymous supertiff said...

"unsortable."
yes, i think that sums it up perfectly.
thank you so much for sharing this.

5:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't read all of the comments here, but I felt like adding my story to the mix.

Approximately 9 months ago I got pregnant. And approximately 8 months ago I had an abortion. So this post and it's timing for me are, well, interesting.
I did it for selfish reasons, one of which was my career, and the career of my boyfriend. The other of which was my relationship with my boyfriend. I'm not going to force it either way and I think a baby would put us on the fast track to marriage. If we get married, it will be less out of obligation and more out of desire to be each other's life partners.

And, I didn't want to be pregnant right now. I was interviewing for residency positions this fall, and I did not want program directors asking me how I was going to handle a baby while working 80 hours a week. Because I didn't have an answer. For them or for myself.

Selfish? Entirely, yes. Do I regret it? No. Does it make me sad and wistful for the baby I could potentially be holding in my arms and falling in love with at this very moment? Absolutely.

I think it was a girl. And it breaks my heart that I do not have her. But I know, that for me, I made the right choice.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous karen marie said...

"No claim can be made that my choice was made out of love."

for me, the choice to have an abortion was made out of love.

i loved that possible child enough to send it back from whence it came.

2:47 PM  
Blogger tinycandi said...

"You asked: "In the absence of that wish... is it just cells that remain?" I would say an emphatic NO!!! Which is why I will always be firmly pro-life. A human is not a human by someone's mere wishing."

No one said it wasn't HUMAN. A fetus is still a HUMAN fetus. But the fact of the matter is, it's not a CHILD until it is born. It has the POTENTIAL to be a child...but it's not a child yet.

People talk about how "selfish" it is to not make the "best choice" for your "child." When I made that decision, I was not a parent. I was pregnant at the consequence of my abusive ex-boyfriend. I did not want that child and I did not consider it my child. Being a parent is a choice...you choose to be a good parent or a bad parent. Or you don't be a parent at all.

And essentially...you're selfish for not giving someone ELSE the opportunity to be a parent. And really...how selfish is that? Like someone else mentioned...I have not donated a kidney to perhaps save someone's life. So I suppose that is also selfish.

Is it selfish to the "child" who was never born? My aborted child was not born to 17 year old parents who had no money, no job, and no clue. My aborted child was not born to a mother who was being abused by his father. My aborted child, who had a heart problem, never had to suffer that physical anguish of dealing with the surgeries which would have been required to fix it.

And had I gave birth to that child, I wouldn't have the two daughters that I have now. Had I brought that one child it would be at the expense of my two daughters. I will not apologize for choosing my daughters. And the father...who now has three children with his wife...probably wouldn't have his kids, either. So that's five children who exist because one did not.

I have no idea who that child would have been. He probably would have had blue eyes and dark hair. He could have been my world and we could have lived happily ever after. Or we could have had to suffer through the childish crap my ex had been putting me through already. He denied that it was his child, that I was pregnant, and refused to even go with me to my appointment. He had no problem hitting women. He had no problem taking sex when he wanted it...despite the person crying underneath him. He had no problem treating his grandparents who raised him like crap if they stood in the way of the stupid things he wanted (like blowing all that he inherited from his uncle on cars, trucks, and jetskis the moment he turned 18).
So maybe, just maybe, that aborted child would have turned into that. And I will not apologize for making the choice to not bring another person like that into the world. That aborted child could have found the cure for cancer...or he could have been the next John Hinckley Jr. The point is...NO ONE knows.

It was my body. It was my choice. And I don't understand why people feel the need to tell me what I should be able to do with it. Until you've walked a mile in someone's shoes, don't assume that you can make their choices for them...AND live with the consequences. It's easy to tell someone what to do when you're not the one that has to deal with the reprecussions.

Having an abortion is not "taking the easy way out." If for nothing else...it's dealing with the stigma and the judgment that comes from other people who feel righteous. Because you know...they've NEVER been "selfish" in their lives.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I don't even know where to start. That was one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking, eye-opening things I have ever read. I am 31 years old and I gave up a baby boy when I was 18 years old. I had him for 48 hours before I signed the papers and it was an experience I still don't have the words for to this day. Anyhow, thank you for sharing so honestly and beautifully. Your writing is absolutely amazing. Thank you.
Jenn
P.S. I would love to put a link to your blog on my blog http://rantingfroggypanties.blogspot.com if that is ok. I would love for you to visit. I'm new and can use all the support and guidance I can get. Thanks, again.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anja said...

I do not find abortion selfish, but in saying that, I do not dispute your feelings and why you feel it is selfish.

There are many, many reasons why a woman chooses to terminate her pregnancy, and I think I've heard just about all of them. I've watched their faces, seen them weep, walk out of that clinic with deep grief in their hearts. To me, and many would dispute the way I feel, I think that the women/girls who terminate their pregnancies are thinking more about their babies than the serial breeders who get knocked up annually and have a brood of neglected children.

But these are just my views.

2:19 AM  
Blogger Catutes said...

There are so many things I want to say but can't find the words. This is a wonderful post and touches very deeply.
My husband is adopted. I know how much adoption enriches lives.
We chose to have an abortion 12 years ago for many reasons, of which I'm not cataloging. It was a hard decision considering how adoption affected our lives.
I don't regret this choice, maybe one more mine than his, but there are heart hurting emotions still inside each of us. We hold them together and know we're stronger for the decision.
I also know that we would not have gotten pregnant again 2 years after, had we not made that choice, and have this beautiful wonderful child now. And how could I possibly want to change the course of events that brought her to us?

11:22 AM  
Blogger Zoeyjane said...

I'm going to come at this subject from the opposite angle. I've never had an abortion, I've always been pro-choice, my parents put my sister up for adoption when she was born, my mother had a lot of abortions and I've had a substantial amount of miscarriages.

I'm pro-choice, but abortion is something that I will never choose.

What does that mean? For me, choosing to have a baby when the first through fifth pee sticks showed double lines was completely selfish.

After my 8th accidental (I'm unwaveringly fertile. Seriously, doubling up on birth control still let one past.) pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage, I was told that being a mother was a pipe dream.

I did what any other normal wreck of a human being would do: bought some fake boobs and ended my relationships after I had a nervous breakdown.

Then, we came back together as friends, more than, and I got pregnant with my daughter. We weren't planning on being together, we weren't interested in getting married. Yet, it never, for a moment, occurred to me to have an abortion. Even when her father was badgering me toward it, even when my father told me to, even when I was on bed rest and suicidal.

I was completely selfish to choose not to have one. I wasn't ready to be a mom, I wasn't financially secure, my daughter's first year was filled with my PPD and sometimes violent fights with her father (our re-unified relationship ended before her 1st birthday).

Not only that, but given my familial history, own issues, her father's? Having a child could be considered by some (like it was, my father) to be wrong - the genetic susceptibility that my daughter faces for several mood disorders, conditions and addictions is staggering.

In the face of all of that, I don't regret having her. Bringing her up in a tiny one-bedroom apartment on little money. Even if there have been days when I've thought "I cannot handle this. I can't do it. What the fuck is wrong with me?"

Even still, her being the love of my life, I see having her, keeping her as completely selfish. I didn't have her because I thought I would be a good mother, raise a happy child and improve upon the planet. I had her simply because I was told I wouldn't be able to have a child, and then, I could, maybe.

When I got pregnant again last spring, before I went on to have a nearly-fatal miscarriage, it was the exact same scenario and same decision. If it happened again? I doubt I'd choose differently.

I think...from reading a lot of the comments here, people who've been there, debated selfish vs un, I can see something that I don't have - growth. Those of you that made the choice to have an abortion, whether you consider(ed) it selfish or not, have grown from it.

(sorry for the novel, Catherine)

3:08 PM  
Blogger Another Suburban Mom said...

This is the most thought provoking and haunting entry I have read on any blog anywhere.

Thank you for sharing your story with all of us.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous SWMama said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It was so powerful.

8:40 AM  
Blogger ElisaC said...

Wanted to let you know that Lisa, Jory and I were blown away by this post (and the post from Shakesville that you reference above). Those two posts (and all the amazing conversation to flow out of them) are this week's BlogHer of the Week:
http://www.blogher.com/blogher-week-our-first-double-header-her-bad-mother-and-shaker-anonymous

Thank you for sharing your story.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abortion is not "selfish". On the contrary, selfish would be not to consider the feelings of a child who has to live with having been given away to strangers - or the child who is brought into the world unwanted by unready parents. As women we need to embrace and celebrate the fact that we are able to chose this option legally. More of us have done it than those who speak of it openly. Becoming stronger, more educated, and more capable women before we bring children into the world is not selfish. It impacts our own lives, but also generations to come.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Catherine, you so often demonstrate your gift for articulating what many women feel, and have not yet been able to articulate themselves. Truly, that is remarkable.

I stand on the "other side" of this issue, as a pro-lifer, but I'll tell you that I hear you, and I respect your wrestling with this and your courage to share it. I wish you much grace and peace.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

This was a very amazing post. Thank you for your honesty and your transparency. I must admit that I am pro-life, and my best friend was almost aborted by her mom. Her mom has always carried a measure of guilt even knowing that she sat in a doctor's office and almost killed her daughter. Their relationship has gone through many trials b/c of the mother's guilt. My friend is an awesome person....I'm so glad her mom wasn't able to go through with it and she's here with me now.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Buddha Mom (aka Mitzi) said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting to words what has been in my heart, soul, body and mind for many years.

"Which is not to say, of course, that we don't consider the question. I've been considering the question - of whether or not I'm sorry, of whether or not I should be sorry, of whether or not sorry matters - since I first set foot in that abortion clinic. I have agonized over this. As I've explained in these virtual pages before, I can't say that I regret having had an abortion, but I also can't say that I don't. It's complicated. Its complicatedness sometimes hurts my heart. Which is precisely why people talk about the emotional consequences of abortion. Because many women find, like I did, that their hearts hurt. Because many women struggle to figure out how to reconcile the complicated tension between regret and not-regret and find that they're unable, and because many women do so while bearing their children, their wanted children, in arms.

But that struggle - that is, my personal experience of that struggle - is one that can, most of the time, be compartmentalized, tucked away on some back shelf of the psyche and forgotten until some event - pregnancy, say, or miscarriage, or one's own mother's admission of having given one's brother up for adoption - prompts one to go rummaging around on the shelves of Buried Hurts and Ambivalent Regrets and Things That I'd Rather Not Think About Unless My Sanity And/Or Moral Stability Depends Upon It."


(And yet. Even as I say that - "I did not have a child; I had a pregnancy" - I want to take it back. I'm a mother. I've had a very early term miscarriage. I very nearly lost Emilia to miscarriage. I know the terror of losing or fearing to lose that embryo, that not-quite-fetus, that not-child who is loved none the less for his or her unformedness. I would never have said - could never have said - of the embryo-that-became-Emilia, this is just a pregnancy, there is no child here. For even though she was not yet child, she was the cellular embodiment of my wish that she become a child, that she become my child. In the absence of that wish... is it just cells that remain? I don't know. I do not know. I have not yet sorted this out. It is painful, trying to sort this out, this which might be, simply, unsortable. All I know is that these experiences are different, despite their similarities, and that I remain firmly committed to the rightness of having the ability - the choice - to distinguish between them. Ah, me.)


Thank you, Catherine. This is a keeper for me and my journal.

Namasté.
Mitzi

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Thank you for this post. I sometimes wonder what did/does go through the mind of my birth mother. Although statistically speaking I'm more than likely not him, tell your mom it's okay, I've had a great life. Hopefully that will make her smile at least for a moment.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the child of the serial breeder, the neglectful mother who kept us all. Four children by different fathers, none of us wanted. We are all girls. It has not been an easy life, but three of us have managed to salvage happiness, two of us are even proud happy parents. But it's because we did have the choice to terminate pregnancies we weren't ready for. All of us were pregnant as teenagers, and because we had choice, the cycle of unwanted children did not continue. I feel very strongly that abortion is a painful yet necessary option. All birth control, especially birth control that *prevents* abortion, should be widely and readily available.

I thought I'd add yet another perspective to the discussion.

Thank you for your brave post!

1:24 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

My heart is heavy from your post. Amazing. True. I know the feeling you speak of, the hurt. I have one of my own. Maybe, you just might have inspired me to talk about my experiences, but I can't promise it will make it off of my notebook pages and into type. I'm scared that I can't express it as good as you. There aren't many words to express an experience like that, but yet you did it so well.

Thank you. Thank you.

Kat

1:42 PM  
Blogger SK and Family said...

And that is what I dislike most about the seduction of abortion.

Abortion is just like any other quick-fix that sounds too good to be true. It IS too good to be true. One cannot abort a baby, then go on as if it never happened.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

SK - nobody ever told me that abortion was good. There was nothing seductive about it. It was a bleak option set against what I thought were impossible options.

I knew that it would be hard to live with. I did it anyway. And I was right.

8:38 PM  
Blogger JCK said...

This post was courageous and raw. Thank you for it. All of it hard to speak of. Especially for those of us sharing similar stories.

Congrats on being BlogHer of the week. So deserving!

11:41 PM  
Blogger Al_Pal said...

Fantastic and thought-provoking post!

I remember my best friend from HS saying she was glad abortion was legal, because even though she was unplanned, she knew she wasn't unwanted.

My "SiL" [sweetie's brother's wife] is pro-life and said she loved [the fetus that became] her son from the moment her heard his heartbeat.
She was a bit surprised when I told her that I thought spirits pick their parents.

There are also so many stillborns, and infants who die - maybe that is the experience they chose this time around. Maybe they needed to have that experience, maybe the parent needed to have that experience.

Easy for me to say, having never been pregnant, but that is my take on buffet-style spirituality. ;p

Again, wonderful post.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous GabbyGail said...

Your post has haunted me for a week. I've been there, am there. My mother died a little over 10 years ago at the age of 47. Two years after she died I found out about the baby boy that she gave up for adoption when she was 16, the same age I was when I had an abortion. I wish I could have talked to her about her decision. I have some idea how much that choice must have haunted that poor, young, Catholic girl. I wish I could ask her, "If abortion had been legal at that time, would your choice have been different? Would your regret be different?" Now, I am married to a man adopted by his parents at the 3 months of age. I thank God every day for the choice that his mother made.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I have a son out there somewhere who turned 39 last month. There has not been a day in 39 years that I have not thought of him, and wondered where he might be, how he might be doing.

I want to search for him, but I don't. I want to know him, but I would also be embarassed for him to know the family who would not allow me to keep him.

2:15 AM  
Blogger EasyB said...

this post makes me so grateful for the open adoptions that we have with the birth parents of our boys.

they are still a part of their sons' stories. they don't wonder.

god bless those brave birth mothers and an extra blessing for those birth parents who placed before adoptions were open. i don't know how that was done. it's so very different now. so open. so hopeful. so healing to everyone in the triad.

thanks for this post.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had an abortion, placed a child for adoption (not "gave up"--I HATE that term), and now I'm an adoptive mother.

The abortion was the choice of a scared teenager. The adoption plan for my son was the smart decision of a older college student. While it was hard, I do not grieve that loss every day. Some years I even forget his birthday. Life does go on, especially if you feel that you made the right decision. I also don't grieve the pain of my abortion much anymore. In some ways, the second pregnancy helped me feel like I was a good enough person to make the smarter choice the second time around. (Just for the record as long as I'm anonymous: first pregnancy, no birth control; second one, broken condom.)

As an adoptive parent, I know I wouldn't have had to wait three long years for my adopted son if more women chose adoption over abortion.

No judgments. Obviously a very complicated issue.

1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't help but feel that some posters are missing the point. If you're approaching from the pro-choice perspective, it's not that you actually think that a fetus gains personhood because it's wanted. Objectively, regardless of whether or not I want it, a first-trimester fetus is not a person as far as I'm concerned. But if I want the baby I'll embrace its personhood at conception anyway, because I'm sentimental in that way. It doesn't mean I think that wanting the fetus is the thing that makes the difference in personhood. Just saying, since the pro-life response to that sentiment always seems like a bit of a misunderstanding.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Ashley H. said...

What a thought-provoking post. I am a mother of 4 (kids 13, 5, 2, and 7 weeks) and had an abortion when I was 19. Although I'm very much pro-life, I'm glad to see that the comments have maintained a respectable debate.

I would never judge someone else because of their choice, but for ME, and me alone, the grief that that choice caused me has stayed with me every day, and will until I take my last breath. Adoption seems like an impossible choice for me, yet after reading your mothers post, and the comments by other readers, I'm glad people make that choice, and what selflessness and love allows them to do that.

I still *blame* the abortion I had on where I was at the time...in Los Angeles, with my then fiance (now my husband of 10 years) and mother-in-law, for a month-long visit. I *knew* had I been at home, with my family, I would've never made the same decision. Yet, how I can I blame my mother-in-law? She didn't force me, didn't make me sign my name, didn't push me in to that room at the clinic.

It was all me. And I will never be the same for it.

3:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am amazed -- blown away, really -- by your ability to so eloquently put into words my own feelings about my abortion. Everything you wrote here, I have felt but been unable to pin down with words. And I had no idea anyone else out there had these same thoughts and experiences. Thank you.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your life story is increadably sad. Even though I'm pro choise I still very much believe in the womans right to chose. My sister was pregnant and had a wonderful baby girl and I love her with all my heart. I once asked my sister had abortion ever been an option she said no once she saw that sonagram she saw her baby it didn't matter to her. But i think if the circumstances were right I could get an abortion it may kill me everyday of my life but if I knew the baby's life would be painful or very short lived why put myself, that child and my family through that pain. Or rape how could I ever look a child who was made of nothing but hate in the eyes and honestly tell them I loved them, some women can and I think very highly of there capibility to love and look past that. I could never condem you or your mother for your choises I don't know your circumstances and sometimes some people just arnt ready to be parents or never will be. That's my view on things. thanks for sharing your story!

10:20 PM  

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