I have always been pro-choice.
I used to be the kind of pro-choice woman that believed no one in the world has the right to tell a woman what she has to do with her body. Having sex never meant giving up ownership of your body, not to a partner, or a ball of cells, or even a fetus with a heartbeat. But I felt the options just weren’t there for me.
I felt that the chance to have a baby would be worth the risk, no matter the risk to me. I had the right to decide that—even if I had a low-chance survival rate, then those were the odds I was playing. The chance to hold that little one, no matter how imperfect, would make up for all. I think that I romanticized the idea of bringing new life into this world with my last breath.
I was young, and 35-year-old me would say I was pretty damn naive.
It’s easy to romanticize things before life has taught you lessons. I have a wonderful child; he’s six and has taught me many things. I love the feel of his hand in mine, and the cuddles and kisses he still shares. He is unfolding and growing, and I am lucky enough to be there and watch. A high-risk pregnancy is no longer worth the trade. I want to see him grow up and be the wonderful adult that is his future. I couldn’t imagine looking him in the eye and saying, “Mommy is choosing not to be there for you.”
Call me what you will—I would have a much harder time now having a baby with severe difficulties. I have a child, a 45-plus-hour-a-week job, and my hubby and partner both work full time. We could make things work if we had a baby with a lot of care needs, but I worry. Could I give that child everything they needed and not stress (or break) my other relationships? Would my son grow to resent a sibling that prevented him from having opportunities? And what if the child needed care past our lives?
I’m not saying that I would terminate a pregnancy at the first sign of a complication. The second? The twentieth? I don’t know now what I would do. I just know that now that I have a child, I would think about my options. And I HAVE options now. Options that I was not giving myself (although I never kept them from anyone else) before.
Featured image is a bumper sticker available from Zazzle. Also comes in pink and green!