Becoming a parent is by far the best feeling in the world. It’s an experience nobody can appreciate until they become one. Suddenly, there is another living, breathing human being totally dependent on you for their every need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 18 or more years. The love hits you right away. It’s instantaneous. I had 2 children, a boy and a girl, both fully grown, independent adults. I couldn’t have asked for more. Although I was young, I did my very best to provide them with love and attempted to fulfill more than just their basic needs. We had it rough sometimes, but overall we had a great life, filled with adventure and learning. My biggest focus when they were growing up, besides love, was education. I knew that the better educated they were, the more choices they would have in life. They were exposed to many different beliefs and ways of thinking. The underlying theme throughout their life was education, education, education. I wasn’t in a great position financially to have kids. but with the support of my family we made it though. It wasn’t until after they were born that I pursued my own education. I guess I did things backwards. This is one of the reasons why I support women having control over their own reproductive health. It’s hard parenting. It’s rewarding but it involves every single aspect of your life from finances, to emotional well-being. This is not a decision to be made lightly. Neither is having an abortion. I speak from personal experience. I had an abortion when I was 16. I have absolutely no regret. I wasn’t ready in any way, shape or form to be a mother. I was still a kid myself. I was also struggling with issues from being sexually abused as a child, and the aftermath of the court case against my offender. There are a multitude of reasons why a women may not want to be pregnant or give birth, never mind the life-long commitment you’re obligated with becoming a parent. It doesn’t matter if it was an accident or not. The specifics of how or why a woman becomes pregnant are totally irrelevant. What’s important are her feelings upon discovery of pregnancy. Nobody has the right to tell me or any other woman what she should or shouldn’t do with her body. The burden of that pregnancy falls solely on our shoulders. Of course, there are many men that would step up and assume responsibility for a child after birth. My own son did it. That, however, is not a guarantee. It’s a gamble in fact. There are plenty of men that don’t take responsibility for the children they created. Take a look at all the single mothers out there raising kids without support. They do the best they can. It’s entirely possible to do, and kids brought up in single parent homes are as happy, healthy, and well-adjusted as those brought up in conventional homes or otherwise. That’s jumping the gun though. Pregnancy brings with it a host of changes; physical, emotional, and physiological. It’s life-altering. If a woman is not ready to become a mother, or go through pregnancy, it can be one of the most overwhelming, upsetting experiences she can go through. I know. It was hard. I knew I was at a fork in the road. Neither choice was easy. Adoption was not a choice that I was considering for my own personal reasons. It’s an option, and a good one, but it wasn’t for me. Ultimately, after discussions with my parents, I decided to end the pregnancy. It was the best decision for me at the time, given my state of emotional health. Fast forward a few years later and I made different decisions when facing becoming a mother. It certainly wasn’t the most “ideal” of circumstances, but I was better equipped in most every way. My son, who is educated and responsible, happens to be a single father with sole custody of his daughter. He works hard everyday to support her and enrich her life. I’m so glad she’s here. Being a grandmother is the second most rewarding feeling I’ve ever had. That being said, if her mother, had decided to have an abortion, I would’ve supported that decision. I would have been upset. I would’ve grieved the loss. I would have supported her though. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like… I’ve seen both sides of that coin. It was her decision. She chose life. That’s the whole point. Being pro-choice doesn’t mean pushing one agenda or another. It means giving women all the information possible, and providing them with choices. Choices that are meant to support her regardless of the decision she makes. With all due respect to all the wonderful, responsible, engaged men out there, my own father and son included, it doesn’t fall on you. Men can’t even remotely fathom what it is like, therefore your opinions are just speculative. I don’t personally give any weight to a man’s perspective on this subject at all. Women and medical professionals are the only people that are relevant to this particular area. I am not a religious person but I heard a quote one time that sums up my feelings on being pro-choice. I don’t know where I heard it, and I couldn’t find the source, but it eloquently describes the need for women to have options.
Who doesn’t love them?
“God help the unwanted child of an unwilling mother.”
When I think of women being forced to endure pregnancy and childbirth that didn’t want to, I think of Andrea Yates. She was married to a NASA scientist. They had 5 children. They were advised by medical professionals not to have more children before she had her last child. She suffered from severe Postpartum depression in addition to other mental illnesses. By all appearances, she was a woman that was dominated by a powerful male in her relationship. A man that wanted more children and disregarded medical advice and impregnated her. On June 20, 2001, Yates systematically drowned each of her 5 young children in the bathtub. She was originally convicted and sent to prison but was later found not guilty by reason of insanity and confined to a secure medical institution. This is an extreme case and many mitigating factors contributed to this tragic ending. The long and short of it is, women need choices. We need options provided to us by a health care professionals; fact-based options that include having access to abortion without roadblocks, but especially without lines of people outside calling us murders and casting judgement about a very personal, private, and painful situation. It’s this simple. If you don’t believe in abortion, then don’t consider having one. If you have never been faced with having to make this decision, then you are lucky. If you’ve been there; so have I. It’s going to be ok. If you are pregnant and thinking about options, please know that you have the right to make decisions about your own body and your own health, whatever that decision may be. It’s your choice. The pro-choice movement is behind you as is the multitude of women who became pregnant and didn’t know what to do. Get informed and make the best decision for you, and you alone. Speak up, speak out, and support other women.