Confession of an Unaborted Fetus

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What annoys me most about the anti-choice (or as they like to call themselves, “pro-life”) camp, is that in their fight to “save” embryos and fetuses, which they believe are people, from abortion, they assume that the resulting person will embrace life and be grateful for it. This assumption itself also assumes, wrongly so, that every parent will love and nurture their child and that every child will be born into a family that can and will provide for them. Anti-choicers live in a fantasy world of their own imagining; a world in which they ignore the hard truths of the real world, a world filled with poverty, neglect, and abuse.

Truth be told, I would love to live in the world that anti-choicers pretend exists; a world in which every embryo would become a baby who would be welcomed and loved and taken care of. But I do not, instead I live in this world; a world in which millions of children are born into homes that are trapped in poverty or into homes where one or both parents are addicted to drugs or alcohol. In this world, every year millions of children suffer from neglect and/or abuse, be it sexual, emotional, or physical. In this world, every day thousands of children die of diseases from lack of healthcare, from starvation or malnutrition, or from war.

I wonder if anti-choicers have ever once stopped in their self-righteous crusade to consider whether or not these children would have preferred abortion to birth. In all of the rhetoric about the sanctity of life, have they ever once contemplated the quality of the life that unaborted embryos and fetuses might one day live? I don’t think they ever really have. I wonder that if they knew that there were people in this world right now, who, if given a choice, would have preferred abortion to a life of pain and suffering, if they would put as much effort into making the world a better place as they do into filling it with more people?

Surely, at this moment, many of you are thinking that it is highly unlikely, if not wholly impossible, for anyone to think that abortion would have been the better choice for them, and their mothers. But I assure you, there are.  I personally know a few people who feel this way. And I admit that I am among them; something I have voiced to very few people. It is not that I do not love my life, because I do. I have much, especially now, for which to be grateful: a loving and supportive husband, a wonderful and darling child, friends who make me laugh and who are always there for me when I need them, a chance to pursue my dreams of being an Historian, and a roof over my head and food on my table. But I endured *a lot* of pain and suffering to get to where I am today; mostly at the hands of a mother who was not fit to be one. Had she aborted  me I would never have had to watch her self-destruct and drag our family down with her. It took years for me to come to terms with the past; and there are times at which I still struggle to not feel angry and sad because of what my mother put us all through. The repercussions of her terrible choices, of her self-loathing and self-centeredness, have affected not only my life but the lives of my own family as well. For this I cannot even bear to have her in my life because even the mere sight of her makes me want to scream at her, to list every ill that has befallen me and those whom I now love as a result of her actions.

I love my life, especially now that I have a family of my own and am becoming the person I had hoped I could be. But a lot of how I have lived my life up to now, the determination to make something of myself and to never let anything break me, comes in part from a need to prove that I am not nor will I ever be her. I’ve gotten better at living for me and for those whom I love, rather than to spite my pain and its source; but that desire to spite it all is still there, deep down, and I doubt it will ever go away completely. Although, I hope it will because I’d rather live life for love and happiness than to spite the pain and self-doubt my mother caused me to feel.

Do not confuse my stating that I think abortion would have saved me from suffering with an adolescent’s temper-tantrum exclamation of,  “I wish I’d never been born,” or with a depressant’s suicidal tendencies. It is not a wish, it is an expression of understanding that life is about more than quantity, more than mere existence; it is about living a good and happy life. And yes, life is not without it’s hardships, but there is a profound difference between difficulty and suffering. Moreover, believing that abortion would have saved me from suffering is not a confession that I want to die because I don’t want to die. I am here now and I have established relationships with people whom I would never want to make suffer the pain of me ending my own life nor would I want to stop living a life that has, because of the choices I have made throughout it, become better and even mostly happy.  Suicide would end a life already established and would hurt the people whom I have come to know and love; whereas having been aborted would have prevented that life from having ever existed at all. I would not know this life. The people in it would never have known or loved me, nor would I have known or loved them. I would simply have never existed. Period. But, since I am here, I will live life to its fullest and I will love, and learn, and be the best human being I can possibly be.

This confession is not to be misconstrued that I think life is a curse because I do not. Life can be, and for many people *is,* wonderful. However, for many of those of us who walk this earth right now, life is pain; often more pain than wonder. We are starving to death. We are living in nations ravaged by war. We are watching one or both parents fall deeper and deeper into addiction (and more often than not depression and attempts at suicide). We are being or have been sexually abused, physically beaten, or emotionally battered. We have been diagnosed with diseases that will prevent us from ever becoming adults. For many of us life is a constant effort to find the aspects of it that make it worth living. Some of us eventually find those aspects and cling to them like a life preserver; holding on to them with every ounce of our being, often worried that they will slip away and plunge us back into the abyss of pain that we fought so hard to not drown in.

I would like for anti-choicers to consider this when they insist that every life is a gift. I would like for anti-choicers to recognize that life, for many of the embryos and fetuses they hope to “save,” will be filled with unimaginable suffering and pain, and that, if they truly wish to “save” life, they start improving its quality while they concern themselves with its quantity.

If there is a sanctity to life, as so many people claim, shouldn’t it be about ensuring that everyone can live the best one possible? I think so.
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6 responses »

  1. Great post! I feel no anger towards pro-choice campaigners because I respect that they have the right to their own opinion, but sometimes I can’t help but be confused by their logic.

  2. To answer your question, they may think about it but they don’t care. I got into a heated discussion with an anti choice male going so far as to explaine my own life situation many years ago. In Pittsburgh, in the 80’s, crumbling manufacturing sector, husband sometimes working, sometimes not. At that time, we had 3 children 4 years and younger. No steady employment meant no health benefits, no birth control and we found ourselves pregnant with baby number 4. It was a gut wrenching decision to end that pregnancy but we had 3 other living, breathing children to care for, feed and keep a roof over the heads. Things eventually got better for us during the Clinton years and we went on to have another child. He questioned my ethics, my morals, told me how pathetic I was. Then had the nerve to post, I guess the was supposed to be me speaking to my husband, “Honey I am pregnant– We may not be able to feed him so lets murder him.” There is no getting these people off their high horse. This idiot couldn’t or wouldn’t grasped the simple fact the we had 3 children and were holding on by a thread at that time. A fourth would have put us over the edge. And OMG, if I would have tried to food stamps, ect I would have been accused of beig lazy and milking the government. BTW I’m a white, professional, middle class (at least for now) woman. Gainfully employed in cardiac care in the health industry. I’m no slouch.

    • Thank you for sharing your very personal story with me, Valerie. I do not doubt for a moment that such a choice was not easy, but I do not think the choice you made was wrong. Your responsibility as a mother is, above all, to those already living; this includes yourself. What good would have come from bringing another child into your home if you could not afford to care for it? What good would have been done when in doing so your already living children, yourself, and your husband would have suffered?

      I was present when someone close to me, for reasons of health and finance, chose to have an abortion. She could not have cared for a child. It was very hard for her to make that choice. No one, until they’ve experienced it, can ever understand how difficult that choice is. The last thing any woman in that situation needs is someone who neither knows her nor cares about her flinging baseless and cruel judgments at her.

      Sadly, I think you are right…many, if not most, of them do not care. They’d rather sit back and wrongfully judge others than do something to help them.

      • Your words could have been my own, although you were, by far, more elegant and eloquent. I, too, am someone who often contemplated why I was brought forth, as I was, into a life where I was unwanted, mistreated, abused, and, in all probability, would have been better off aborted – as my mother would have been as well, had she made that choice. My mother was (is) a paranoid schizophrenic (undiagnosed, untreated) who was physically, emotionally, verbally and psychologically abusive. There was also sexual abuse in the household by both her brother and one of her boyfriends which, in all probability, would not have occurred if she had been an emotionally invested mother (instead of drunk and mentally ill). I was put down every day of my life (you are a bitch, you are tone deaf, you are worthless, no one will ever love you, et al), I have huge gaps in memory related to my childhood, what I remember is awful, so it would be interesting, although probably destructive, to find out what my mind is protecting me from by not allowing me to remember. I have complex PTSD because of the multiple types of abuse and multiple traumatizing events. I attempted suicide at age 11 because I couldn’t live like that any longer, and didn’t feel I had any other options, any escape. I self-deported, so to speak, from that household at age 13, was re-traumatized at the hospital and by CPS when I was examined and photographed for the abuse (although nothing was ever accomplished by this and she went on to wreak havoc upon my younger sister’s psyche as well, although at least my sister was able to avoid the physical abuse. CPS actually attempted to “reunite the family” after the initial report/ER visit/photographs and interviews…without doing absolutely anything about any of it – they were going to put me back into the same household. I refused out of simple fear for my life, and was ‘placed’ in a runaway shelter until they could figure out what to do with me. Then I was moved into my father’s home, but my father had been convinced, in the interim, by my mother that there had been no abuse, only discipline as I was an “out of control child”. This gave my step-mother the ammunition to continue with her version of abuse, which was completely psychological and emotional and once again I was in a household where I was the ‘bad’ child and my sister/step-sister was the angel. I moved out on my own at age 15 and began a journey of self-destruction that was textbook according to the circumstances in which I was raised: promiscuity (looking for love to fill the hole left by every single person that was supposed to love me being unable to do so), a series of abusive relationships, including a 7 year marriage which almost ended my life multiple times, and ‘recreational’ drug use and drinking to self-medicate the pain away and fill the vacuum left by a life of feeling unloved by the people who, we are taught, are meant to love you always, unconditionally, without fail. I was in my mid-thirties before I ‘got my shit together’ and took control of my emotions, my life, and my own happiness/well-being. I still suffer PTSD, however, and probably always will. I also spent my life being everyone’s throw rug, because I was brought up to be the ‘fixer’, trying to make everything, including myself, perfect to avoid further punishment/abuse/denigration. Yes, I am pro-choice. Yes, I think it would have been much easier to have never been born, although like you I am NOT suicidal, haven’t been since I was 12 or so, I am NOT depressed or in need of anti-depression or anxiety drugs, I am NOT saying that life is not worth living. I am, however, saying that NO ONE, period, should have to live a life where it takes 30 odd years of suffering to finally find a place where they find any joy in their life. I would not wish that on another living soul. It is a deep, heart-wrenching, extremely difficult decision involving life circumstances or emotional circumstances most will never have to, thankfully, go through, for someone to have to actually contemplate abortion as viable option…no one should be able to make that decision for you, it is a deeply personal journey, to come to that decision, and that person alone has to deal with any fall-out, consequences, or emotions related to that decision…leave these women the FUCK alone and let them make that decision for themselves. In other words, as Karen so eloquently put it – GET OUT OF OUR UTERUSES!

      • Kellie,
        Thank you for sharing your story with me. As much as I wish that no one ever had to feel as we do about our respective childhoods, on some level it is good to know that I’m not alone in feeling as I do; that someone else feels the same and that they pulled through. There’s a strength, I think, in that. I hope that my story, and now yours as well, will reach people who feel similarly to us and who will find that someday living with pain of the past, if not all together coming to terms with it, is possible; that there is a silver lining, if you will.

        And thank you very much for your compliments regarding my writing. It really means a lot to me. 🙂

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