Yes, I'm going to talk about this today. (And no, Andrew Cuomo, I don't think of myself as an extremist who doesn't have a place in New York state- but really that's fine. I'll be sure not to spend one dime in New York, even though it's the easiest place to meet with my husbands family and friends, until you are gone from office. Just sayin')
Today is the March For Life in Washington D.C. Many people will feel squeamish about this and probably not read this post. That's OK. In America we have the right to ignore other peoples viewpoints if we want to and pretend that certain things are just about what we might prefer in life and not really all that important. Today, even though I will not actually be marching on Washington, I am choosing to share my story, for the very first time ever in any form and to anyone, on where and why I got my views on the right to life movement. It just feels right today.
As a precocious kid, I noticed that there were oftentimes mentions of someone having to go take care of a 'problem' and my own mother had mentioned to me on several occasions of anger that she should have let that doctor 'get rid of me' when she had the chance. Nobody ever actually uttered the word: abortion. I have to say that the full extent of what was really going on and how it was actually a choice to end the life of their own unborn child had escaped me- probably because I was in denial and I kind of thought/hoped this all had something to do with miscarriage.
That all changed on the day that I found a goldenrod copy of my mothers own paperwork for her procedure. I was ten and a college level reader with a 100% tested accuracy of my reading comprehension. That paperwork settled a horror in my soul that has never left me. I realized in that moment that the conversation we had so casually shared a week or so ago had truly been about this. This decision that she had made and had actually had me be complacent in, by asking me if I thought it would be a good idea for her to bring another brother or sister home to live with us.
Now, if you're new to this blog you might not remember that at this time I was in the full throes of raising my sister. I had been doing this for the last 2 and 1/2 years, since I was 8, while my mother was busy smoking dope in the bathroom for 50% of her life and then spending the other half roaming the mall looking for some retail therapy. So yeah, you could say that my reaction was not one of support for a new baby. I was so overwhelmed with making sure my toddler sister was fed and clothed before I left for school and hoping that she wasn't into too much trouble while mother got high all day, before I could make it back home. I bitterly told my mother it would be crazy for her to have any more kids.
I stared at that copy from the doctors office and put two and two together; knowing just why my stepfather had finally acquiesced to getting 'fixed' and laid there on the sofa with a bag of frozen peas on his crotch while my mother slept the day away in the bedroom. I literally threw up.
I had helped to make the decision to kill my brother. I have always felt deeply that this unborn child would have been a brother. I know my mother would have named him David. The hole that was created in my heart that day will probably never be filled. Until now, I have never uttered one word to another soul about this.
Years later, as a teenager, I witnessed my aunt who is only 2 years older than me making an absolute disaster of her life. She was 19, already had one child and was pregnant again. She had no job prospects, no man in her life and nothing at all going for her. I felt for her and understood that she could not care for kids in any meaningful way and wished that she would adopt her children out to a family who could care for them. She decided to have an abortion. I was terrified and saddened for the child, but I never said anything. Instead, I prayed for a miracle.
That miracle came! It came in the form of a flat tire on the way to the clinic. I couldn't believe it. God had listened to me, even though I had been manipulated into being a part of 'deciding' that my own brother should die. My aunts baby did not die. I wish I could say that everything had been on the up and up after that, but that's simply not true. My aunt ended up losing custody of both of her children and they did have rough lives. Still they are living. And that's something!
Later, during the time that I worked in a daycare center, I met a woman who had a very young daughter and was pregnant with her second child. During this time she was diagnosed with a rare cancer. Her doctor told her she would need to terminate her pregnancy to save herself. This woman decided that she would not do that, even if it meant that she might die. Others were not shy in sharing their view that she was selfish to put herself at risk when she already had a young child. I once sat down with her and told her how much I admired her. She said that it meant a lot to know that some people understood her. In the end, the cancer fight was much more difficult because it was not started until after the birth of the baby, but it was successful! This woman lived and so did her two happy and healthy children.
Finally, I will share my recent experience of a neighbor that I have gotten to know quite well. She is homebound with anxiety issues and shocked me when she talked about having had several abortions as a young teenager, when I had only just met her. I have come to realize that she is very haunted by this and even though she has two lovely daughters and a husband, her life is irreparably touched by this past experience. I can't imagine what it's like to be her. I treat her with kindness and don't tell her specifically what my beliefs on the subject are. I don't think it would help her any.
The point to sharing all of this today is to say that I truly believe that we as human beings are better than 'choosing' to end the lives of our unborn children. There are other ways to deal with unexpected/unwanted children. And even though it may seem easier and quicker at the time or even somehow be seen as a women's rights issue, I can't imagine that the world is a better place for ever having gone down this path. I also want to say that when people like me choose to share our pro-life beliefs we are not crazy extremists who are purporting a war on women. We are people who have put a lot of thought and experience and intelligence into deciding to say that we believe in the value of all innocent human life.