We like to think of abortions as these things that women turn to in times of distress and crisis. You all know the story of the typical lady getting an abortion. She’s young. The condom broke or she skipped her pill or it was a one-night stand and they were drunk or they’re in love and they didn’t think it could happen. But now she’s a week late and she’s spent 4 days crying on the floor of her bathroom wondering why her period is late and why she’s throwing up so much and she’s afraid to tell her mom. So she ditches chemistry and goes to the pharmacy and buys a pregnancy test while wearing sunglasses and a hoodie and goes home and it’s positive so she takes 10 more tests (despite the fact that these things can cost $14+ a pop) and she crumbles onto the bathroom floor, AGAIN, because now she has to make a truly difficult decision. Is NOW the right time to become a mom? Now or do I wait? I want to go to college first. I want to get a job first. But here I am, with this baby. WHAT DO I DOOOOOO? Finally, after weeks of careful thought, and tons more crying, bravely and heartbroken, she makes the decision to MURDER HER BABY… so she can have the future she dreams of. And then she has to disclose to every boy she dates in the future that she had an abortion and her life is always kind of empty forever. The end.
But that’s not really how it works. Sometimes it happens like that. But not always. Not even usually… Let me personal-anecdote you for a second.
I am a 35 year old, married, mother of two. I’ve been pregnant four times. The first time I was pregnant, it was a surprise. Not a OOOOOHHH NOOOOO surprise, but a “we’ve been trying for over a year and we’ve seen a reproductive specialist and we’re giving up” kind of surprise. The short story is that this pregnancy was ectopic. It wasn’t really a heartbreaking decision to abort as much as a “what is going on? what is happening? is this real? am I going to die?” decision. My “choice” was A. save myself or B. save neither myself nor the baby. Mostly it was just scary that the first time I tried to reproduce, the first thing my “baby” tries to do is fucking kill me. But it was a baby we wanted. It wasn’t an accident. It was planned… ish. And yet we aborted.
Plenty of women who have planned pregnancies end up having to terminate for a number of reasons—medical or otherwise. Abortions aren’t a thing for the irresponsible and reckless and clueless. They’re part of the reality of simply having a working uterus.
Fast forward two live births and one heart-breaking miscarriage later. Now I’ve had all the pregnancy I can handle. I am done with that shit. That part of my live is over over over. I love my kids… at least half of the time. But I have limited amounts of money and time and sanity and patience. And of those resources, I’ve allotted all I’m willing to allot for children. If I were to get pregnant today, I wouldn’t have to think about it. I would have an abortion. It’s not that I’m “not ready” to be a mom. It’s not that I’m waiting for the right time. It’s not that I’m single. It’s that I simply detest being pregnant and I don’t want more kids. And my husband (quietly) detests when I’m pregnant and doesn’t want more kids. There will be no crying. There will be no hand wringing. There will be no thoughtful contemplation. There will be no more kids. Not in my body. Not in my house.
And the idea that women think long and hard and have to make a difficult decision that sometimes must end, tragically, in abortion is one that many of us are taught is true. (Admittedly, it took me a long time to shake.) It certainly has roots in Christian ideals that conception=life, and clings to the falsehood that all women are somehow biologically programmed to be maternal, that we all will become mothers, God willing.
It also, sadly, perpetuates a damaging untruth that good women are good mothers and good mothers love their children instantly and unconditionally and begin bonding from the first drop of pee on that stick. To not have that bond makes you damaged. You are unloving. Unfit. When the reality is that most women do not bond with their babies for weeks, even months. after they are born. They don’t fall in love with the stranger who declared squatters rights in their womb. And that most certainly includes women who had planned and wanted pregnancies. Not bonding with an unwanted clump of cells threatening to ruin your life isn’t really un-maternal or un-womanly. It’s pretty fucking normal. Not every pregnancy is a blessing."
Literally couldn’t find a shorter part of this to quote. It’s all brilliant.