Full disclosure - Tactical Ninja
Nov. 1st, 2011
09:55 am - Full disclosure
Okay so today I'm going to talk about some stuff that's pretty damn close and pretty damn raw. I was going to talk about some fluffy stuff but then I read The Hand Mirror and something that's been brewing for a while popped up.
Y'see, I believe in integrity as the ultimate goal - that is, where what's on the inside and what's on the outside are the same thing. For me, part of it is disclosure. How can I have complete integrity if I'm not completely honest about myself?
What I'm about to say might piss some of you off. If it does, you'll have to deal with it. We clear? Good.
I'm doing this because New Zealand's abortion statistics were released on Friday. There's the usual pro-life rhetoric going on around them, and in response, one of the blogs I read is doing a week of pro-choice postings. This morning's one struck a chord - Abortion as an act of love.
I'm curious about people's reactions to that statement. As the post says, the pro-life movement seems to have collared the monopoly on love in relation to pregnancy, and abortion is generally seen, even by pro-choice people, as something to be avoided if possible. Because abortion is messy and bloody and whether you believe it's murder or not, it's not normally something people associate with feelings of love.
I've had two abortions.
The first was when I was 19. I was two months into a relationship with the man who was to become my husband and I have no excuse - it was a result of silly neglect on my part. I knew that I was in no position to be a mother and I didn't want to be one, and I was not about to bring a child into the world that I didn't want and wasn't mature enough to care for. The father supported me in this decision. It was all very straightforward but we didn't tell anyone, just went and did it. I had to tell two doctors that to have the baby would mess with my mental health and to be honest, it was true. So this was an act of love not only for myself - a young woman not even really started yet - but for the child that would have been brought into a world where its existence was resented.
Life went on and six years later I had my son. While I was still breastfeeding my son, I became pregnant again. This is relatively common - one is not supposed to use oral contraceptives while breastfeeding and those of you who know me well will know how my relationship was going at the time. Let's just say that sex by this time was not my choice. My marriage was a bitter, ugly joke, my husband was trying to convince me I was insane, and there was no way I was bringing another child into this. I knew I was going to become a single parent at some point and was not willing to set myself and my child/children up to live in poverty. I chose to abort the pregnancy. This time my husband did not support me*. I went ahead and did it anyway, and while I was there I got them to insert an IUD because clearly I'm pretty damn fertile. I've had an IUD ever since and had no more problems.
So. If I had not had those abortions I would have three children. One would be 20, one 16 and one about 14. I am trying to imagine how my life would have been had I chosen to have those babies. It's actually pretty hard, but I'm guessing I would have found it much harder to leave my marriage with three children, and even if I did manage that I would have had to support them somehow. I doubt my ex husband would be any more forthcoming with child support for three kids than he is for one. He probably would have fought harder to make me stay in the same town, and maybe succeeded. The reason I left Dargaville was because I was struggling more and more to stay away from him under the pressure he was putting on me to go back to our marriage and I knew that if I didn't leave, eventually I'd give in.
I see my son struggling daily with the effects of being brought up in that environment and I think about myself and two other children also being in that environment. Remember, when I left I was messed up enough to believe that this man was a better parent than me, that I was insane and that my parenting was bad for my kid. I was entertaining suicidal thoughts on a regular basis. Now imagine me and three children having spent the last 16 years in that environment.
Instead, I have one child who I love very much. I don't need to reiterate how my life has gone, suffice to say that I am not dead, I am not insane, and I am not abused.
The two abortions I have had were acts of love. Love for myself, love for the children who didn't have to exist, and love for my son who got the chance to have a decent mother because of it.
Do I have any regrets? Yes. I regret allowing myself to end up in the position where I thought leaving my son was better for him than taking him with me. How the fuck did that happen? You'd have to have been there to understand and I'm aware (oh god i'm aware) that nobody else can ever judge me as harshly as I judge myself for that.
But I don't regret those abortions for a second.
Apparently I'm supposed to, if you read all the pro-life stuff. Abortion is supposed to have long term damaging psychological effects, I'm supposed to grieve for those babies not born. But how can I grieve when I know that what I did was the best thing I could have done for them?
And what about me? In this pro-life worldview, once a woman becomes pregnant it seems she is somehow secondary to her foetus, and all of her decisions must be about its welfare, its health, its survival. She doesn't even come into it, apparently. We are supposed to happily birth babies regardless of how we feel about being a parent, about pregnancy and childbirth, about the risks and the opportunity cost - because love only counts if it's love for your foetus/baby/child. Love for yourself, what makes you happy and fulfilled, is of less importance than that of a zygote.
Which is, frankly, bullshit. Unhappy, sick, abused, suicidal Tats was no kind of a mother. Happy, confident, engaged, fulfilled Tats is a good mother. By performing this act of love that gave importance to my own happiness equal to that of my unborn child, I ensured that the child I chose to be a mother to has a mother worthy of the title.
So I suggest to you that the next time someone mentions abortion as a bad thing, as something we should reduce the number of where possible, or even goes so far as to call it an act of hate or pontificate that access to abortion should be reduced, have a think about how you consider abortion. Do you think it's inherently a bad thing? Why? And are these thoughts based in experience or are they based in some idea that's been put into your head by someone who has an agenda?
* My body, my choice. He tried to make it about him but it.just.isn't.
I'm leaving this post open. It's a risk, I know. But, full disclosure. And I'm tired of feeling like I should have to hide things. If this upsets you, deal with it.
If you thought I was a decent person before reading this and now you're wondering if I am, please check yourself.