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Friday, February 11, 2011

My Dichotomus Abortion/Birth Control Feelings

So I'm not really a bible-thumping quiverful type. But I find that I have a lot in common with a lot of people who are.

Being vegan gave me a zest for life. I went through a phase where I was particularly obsessed with the whole idea. How many plants could I grow--how healthy could they be--what little things could I coax into life? Once I planted a bunch of LEAVES that had fallen off of a poinsettia plant. And you know? One of them grew. And it didn't have the physiology to get any bigger, but it lived, and grew roots. And I had that single leaf in a tiny pot by itself for maybe a year, or more.

During this time, my view on a lot of things changed. Couple this vegan zest-for-life with a bunch of infertility, and I find myself, previously a liberal hippy pro-choicer, someone whose heart and soul have turned against the idea of ending a life at it's most basic beginnings--an abortion. As much as I have to respect a women's right to choose, my heart just won't buy it. Because things want to live. They struggle and put down roots in any unlikely place where they happen to find themselves. I don't know if a baby is any different than a little plant, struggling to live in a sometimes hostile environment. In the end, it comes down to whether you can open your heart and your life to make room for someone else's. And I realize that one can't, always. But my heart aches at the idea of losing a child--any child. I have several friends and family members who are awaiting children, through adoption, infertility treatments, and the good old fashioned method. For someone struggling for a child, it is the most valuable and precious thing in the world--this early life . . . and the thought of ending such a precious life--someone that could become as special as James, if given the chance . . . it just can't feel right to me.

Yet the thought of taking the option away from women absolutely feels worse.

I guess I wish I could find myself a box that feels right but nothing does, really.

And then we have the idea of birth control, too. I absolutely believe that people who are sexually active, and not ready for a child, should use birth control. But what about someone like me? Sometimes I think that every month I prevent pregnancy, it's like I am closing a door against life. And so I see the point of the quiverful folk, the "let God decide our family" sort of view . . . it feels very good, the idea of just leaving your heart and life open for new life. It feels natural and simple and loving.

And yet I can't quite buy it either--maybe I'm a little too selfish--the idea of getting pregnant again so immediately just doesn't feel right either. And I would be worried for James, since pregnancy can affect breast milk supply. So while he is completely dependent on me for nutrition, it feels irresponsible to me as well . . .

I guess in the end the answer is always the same: education, putting tools and options in the hands of women, and making smart and responsible choices.


Marilyn said...

i think one really important point is when the life of the mother is compromised - really the only time when a late term abortion is performed. If you yourself are risking your life with the child you are carrying, is that truly worth it?

for situations of rape, or situations where the mother's own life is at stake, I could not tell a women "no you can't have an abortion." I have heard of people even suggesting a women should carry a "dead" fetus to full term rather than removing the fetus. To me, that is completely wrong.

Obviously birth control is the most important and educated thing to do if you are not ready for a child. Do I feel like I am preventing a life? not one single bit. I couldn't care for child, I don't want a child AT ALL right now in my life and birth control is necessary. An abortion should be for an extreme circumstance and that is mostly when it is used. It is not like the masses of people are going out and getting abortions as like a "woops I screwed up" procedure.

everyone is course entitled to their opinion and of course needs to make their own decisions, however i strongly believe that the freedom to choose should never be taken away.

mariclare said...

hmm. this one of those weird, sensitive topics that many people have very different, very strong feelings about. which i guess is a huge reason why the right to choose should never be taken away. (at least that's what i feel strongly, so i agree with you there.)

i am one of those people would immediately get an abortion if i became pregnant. many reasons flood my mind, and i find it a bit overwhelming to outline them all off-the-cuff. i'll just summarize a few thoughts that come to mind. (and you know it's funny; neither sky or i want children, but while we agree on a lot of reasons why not, i've found that a lot of our reasons are quite different.)

i remember when i was about 16 or so, telling my mom one day, "mom, you'll never have grandchildren from me." she was crestfallen, i could tell. but i just felt so strongly about it. my family life wasn't the worst by any means, but a lot of stuff happened that made it hard for me to have a positive idea about being parents. my parents STRUGGLED. i'm sure all parents do. but that's how it personally affected me.

there is no way we could afford raising a child right now. the way i see it, children should be born into the best possible situation. they should have parents who can afford to give them good, healthy food, take them traveling all over the world to see different places, well-made, warm clothing. sky and i both work 40 hour work week at our jobs that don't require an education, because neither of us have college degrees. so that means we'd both be spending our time at work. one of the things that pains me most about this world are the fact that people who just can't supply these things, or are neglectful in lots of ways, have children. children need time and positive attention.

also, i'm too self-involved. i'm a growing life-being myself, and i rather like focusing on me, trying to nurture me to reach my highest potential. and i don't see raising a baby as part of the picture. flat out, i do not want children. isn't it good that i realize i'm too selfish to have children? isn't just not wanting a child enough reason to not have one? it makes sense to me.

also, i do not see death as quite the bad thing people make it out to be. death is a part of life. you can't have life without death. the babies being born today will die someday. it's just a fact, and death is just what it is.

alright, that's it from me for now. let me just say that it's not my intention to upset anyone, because i realize my views are not very traditional, or even the views of the majority of people in this country (or anywhere? not sure.) these are just some of my strong feelings about the matter.

now let's continue to coexist peacefully. haha

Alyssa said...

Now that I've gone through the experience of getting pregnant, having a miscarriage, getting pregnant again, and having Evan, I'm with you - I couldn't see myself ever getting an abortion, but I don't want the right to choose to be taken away for others.

As for the birth control thing, I think mother nature takes care of that in a way. I mean, most women don't get AF back for many months after the birth. It's a way for our bodies to recover from pregnancy and labor without worrying about getting pregnant again.

I agree with Marilyn's sentiment that, if you are not ready for another child right now, there is no need to feel guilty for taking BC. It's best for everyone involved to put that on hold until you feel right about it.

justadrienne said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, people.

Mare--I totally agree that when the Mom's life is at stake, or there are extenuating circumstances involved (like rape, incest, etc), that that is it's own scenario. It's hard for me to imagine what *I* would do in a situation like that, and whatever the woman chooses in that case has to be the right thing for her.

Mariclare--I understand (and agree!) that when people aren't prepared for, and don't want children, they shouldn't have them. However, I have THREE good friends (including a cousin) who are trying to find a baby to adopt. This makes me wish that more people who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant would consider giving the baby up for adoption instead of having an abortion. If YOU got pregnant, I would absolutely beg you to let me connect you with my cousin, or with one of my friends desperately wanting and wanting and hoping that someone in just that situation will call and offer them a child. But OBVIOUSLY, I know that not everyone could do something like that--it is SUCH an unselfish choice and devoting 9 months of your life to give someone else a new life IS a BIG sacrifice.

Alyssa--I know what you mean about BC. I probably WOULDN'T get pregnant right away even without taking any precautions, but what if? I guess I would be happy but I would feel worried and conflicted--which I definitely think means that it's not really time for that yet.

Everyone--Thanks for being cool and sharing your thoughts. I know this is a controversial issue and I'm glad to have sensitive friends that don't jump down my throats for sharing my feelings.

laurengould said...

I always thought (and still express) that I don't want children. I used to say I would get an abortion if I got pregnant, no problem. But I realize that NOT having a baby is jut as huge of a decision of HAVING a baby.

There is no way to know how I might feel mentally and spiritually knowing that I ended something that could have been a human life.

I believe that there should always be safe, legal, and affordable abortion available, however. I realize that no matter what my views, women should have the right to choose what they want to do with their life and body. I also think to history when abortion was illegal, and all the horrible things women would do to themselves to get rid of the fetus, and it is so sad and sickening that they were denied safe medical care. I don't think we could ever go back to such a system.

Jessica said...

Thank you for this post! You have summed up exactly how I feel as well. Abortion is not right for me, but that doesn't mean that I have the right to take it away from another woman.

justadrienne said...

Laur, I agree 100%

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