Saturday night our date night was at the Toast to Life event for the East End Pregnancy Test + Help Center, which is a place we want to increasingly give our time & money. Again I am filled with questions on how to approach  friends who are convinced that a pro-choice position makes women free.  Current VA legislation has sharpened conversations, whether with co-workers or in the birth community or with classmates or even family (hopefully in person rather than on FB). It is truly difficult to avoid a raw, unedited, emotional reaction from either standpoint. Because each of us becomes a mother in a unique way, the complexities of our perspectives are unique. I'm sure we could more thoroughly prepare for such conversations to be both intelligent & filled with gracious passion.

Initially, I wondered why an ultrasound is opposed as an invasive prerequisite for terminating a pregnancy. Before any other medical procedure, we expect or even demand that doctor to perform a scan (CT, MRI, x-ray, etc) before intervening with our physical condition. The scan verifies or contradicts the diagnosis, shows the doctor what's going on inside, to inform the procedure. Scientific debate regarding when life begins ended 20 years ago. But that tiny, growing life threatens me: to have a child is to admit that I will not live forever. Someone, hopefully our children, will outlive me. Their presence ends the life I think I want, my plans for the immediate future, my freedom to be incurably selfish, my illusion of immortality. For a mind that embraces survival of the fittest, it makes sense to "end their life before they're strong enough to end mine."

It's more personal than politics can address. Properly planning for parenthood is impossible while I fear my own death. That fear turned me into quite a dragon while carrying Os. Being E's mom for only 6 months, I knew the person growing under that baby bump would instantly kill my agenda. Anger, resentment & shame stole my joy over his life for a time. I let them steal it, all while desperately trying to love him & be thankful for his thriving life. It felt as if the fear might kill me after all.

Thankfully I am surrounded by women determined to nurture & empower one another. In addition to a loving husband, my midwives, doula & friends all rallied in celebration for Os & his complaining mum. The feelings of being alone were lies, of course, but deceptively loud. And suddenly compassion kicked in: how much despair might single mums feel about unplanned pregnancies? Without a previously existing, whole-hearted support network (family, friends, birth professionals, etc) I would have plummeted into postpartum depression. While undeniably pro-life & pro-adoption, my dark path to Os' birth taught me the shallowness of a feminism that denies female vulnerability & the need for women caring for one another. Those nine months were a temporary hardship so this new person can thrive in the world outside mama. My arms, my heart, my home must open not only to the children whose arrival is unwelcome but also to the women who carry them, my sisters, my friends. I could not face it alone. None of us should face it alone.

1 comment:

Mrs. Agaba said...

great post megs, very thoughtful and insightful.

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