Saturday, June 22, 2013

Why I didn't have an abortion

As some of you know, I recently had an discussion on my Facebook wall about moral and political issues, something I haven't done before... I'm not usually big on publicly debating personal beliefs on FB in front of silent multitudes.  But we're both being civil, batting the issues back and forth like a tennis match. No one has attempted to run madly into the other's court and beat the other over the head with their racquet.  :)

I congratulate us both on our civility because touchy points have been raised--which we obviously feel opposedly passionate about--particularly around the issue of choice. It's a topic that people of good will can feel strongly about, whether you think you should defend the rights of women in trouble, or whether you feel compelled to save the lives of children.

I believe there are ways to do both.   

During this debate, it was mentioned that  most abortion cases involve "a case where a woman does not know how she's going to support her baby while going to school or to work, while also paying for childcare."  And something clicked...

Back in 2002, I was such a woman.  Newly married, engaged in the opportunity of a lifetime to study overseas, finishing my degree, jobless, homeless, with no health insurance.  

Unexpectedly pregnant. 

I'm planning to tell you more of the story later. For now... I want to offer my own personal testimony as to why I did not make the choice to abort, and why I am very happy I didn't, despite some negative consequences.  

When I first realized I was expecting an unplanne- for baby at a totally undesirable time, I understood, for the first time in my sheltered conservative life, why women would have an abortion.  I knew having a baby would destroy every plan I'd made for my future at the time.  And I didn't feel "pregnant": I felt like I had the worst flu of my life.  All the time.  I felt scared, and sad, and so very, very disappointed.  In a word: devastated.  

So why didn't I have an abortion?  

Not because I'm better than those who do.  Certainly there but for the grace of God go I.  

I didn't because I did not consider it to be a serious option.

And why not?

1. I had been taught, and believed based on the evidence of science, the use of reason, and the teachings of my faith: that life begins at conception. These beliefs were not imposed on me. They were simply explained well and made sense.

2. Therefore, I knew an abortion would be killing a human being whom I would likely otherwise be well-acquainted with, and likely fond of, for the rest of my natural life.

3. And I didn't want to do that. More than I was scared, disappointed, sick, confused, and wondered what the hell I was going to do now, I couldn't dispose of this baby. Even though I really, really, really didn't want to have one right then, and even though this baby would change everything.  

Like it says in the insipid movie I finally watched on DVD "Eat Pray Love": "Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face.  You kinda wanna be fully committed."  I was in no way ready for this tattoo.  But I was still waiting in line to get it.  

I cannot express how grateful I am that I went through with my pregnancy.  And I'm not sitting here congratulating myself: instead I consider myself very blessed and lucky to have had the education I did, and the support of everyone around me to have that baby.  

Because the outcome might just possibly have been different if some sweet, motherly family member had taken my 23 year-old hand and said, "Sweetie, I know you didn't mean for this to be happening.  I know you are terrified and that your plans are in jeopardy.  Look, let me help you make an appointment, and we'll get this taken care of, okay?  Then you can finish the degree you deserve, enjoy your time traveling Europe, just get used to being married, find a good job, save up money, buy a house, and then--when you are ready--you can start having kids.  Don't worry about this honey; it's just an 'oops.'  It will be like it never happened.  It's quick, you'll feel better within a week, and then you can move on with your life.  You have so much potential, darlin'!  So don't waste it!  You have a legal right to get this fixed."

As kind and soothing as that all sounds, it is a huge disservice to a woman--particularly a scared and desperate woman--to present eliminating a pregnancy as an option to solve a problem.  Women shouldn't have to kill their own children to have a better life. In my opinion, that's the worst abuse we can offer to a woman, let alone her child.

Our society should not be presenting desperate women in desperate situations with an even more desperate choice. One they may well someday regret, and never, ever stop regretting.  

While I acknowledge that others may have different experiences, I personally am so glad no one said that to me. Because becoming a mom unexpectedly, severely morning sick, while a student overseas, with no job or house or property or insurance, was crazy hard. And terrifying. And it was so disappointing to look at the shattered pieces of my own cherished plans.

But then, there was God's plan.

All the things I had wanted to do, and have had to change or postpone, were good. But a baby was a greater good.  She turned my world completely upside down.  Yet in the end, it looked better that way.  And while I have suffered considerable setbacks for choosing to have her, while I have not finished my degree track nor yet had a proper career, I do not ever regret having my unplanned, unexpected, unwanted pregnancy.


It costs money to support children. I know, because I've struggled financially where since we had them. And a D&C is indeed easier on the body than childbirth. I know. I've had both. I've had babies, and I've lost babies.

And having them is better.

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field..." Matthew 13:44

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  1. Thanks for sharing...your story is very inspiring!

    Your daughter is beautiful and you are so right...women don't regret the children they have, only the ones they don't have.

  2. Thanks Amelia! :) And yes, I believe that is true!

  3. Thanks! I Really enjoyed reading this. I'm going through something similar and I am debating keeping or aborting my child. I'm just confused right now

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