A glimmer of my own
My then-husband took it hard the first time I miscarried. I was 21 years old. Pregnancy had been entirely unplanned, I was in school, he was a freshly-certified teacher. I really wanted someone to hand me a chocolate bar, a handful of ibuprofen and make it so I could sleep for a week; to have some semblance of comfort.
At that point in my life, I was a busy Christian. Sunday church services (two morning, one evening, lunch in the middle), mid-week groups, choirs, bible studies, volunteering. The times I wasn’t working or in class were booked up solid with Jesus. Or, something.
Oddly, being a Christian (which I said I was from ages 14-22) never made a dent in my understanding that abortion should be available to women. (I was raised by a liberal woman). I felt profoundly confused, and do to this day, at Christians who are so loud and illogical about their disgust with abortion, taking the mantle of “pro-life,” when they are also totally a-ok, yep, fine, sure, with the death penalty, and spew empty parrot rhetoric like, “a fetus is innocent.” They don’t call themselves “pro-innocence.” They say “life.” And, why is one life better, please? In those books they read, where does it say that anybody has the right to determine a person’s worth? It doesn’t, I don’t think. I think it says, “do not judge lest ye be judged.”
When I said that my husband at the time took my miscarriage hard, I mean he blamed me for it occurring. I had some part in “killing [his] kid.”
The words had barely settled on the rug between us when I determined with the ferocity of the ocean that I would never have a child with this man.
A fetus is not a child until it is born.
Despite my attempts at birth control, I became pregnant. I’ve had two abortions. One of these I underwent with a group of women who accepted me into their midst for a long weekend, wrapping me in their wisdom and soft arms. They chanted around me and massaged me, fed me teas and herbs and bark to chew, and encouraged me to meditate upon beautiful words and ideas. I listened to their stories, their lovely songs. It was a place warm with love and good food, and a time I spent considering my life. If I had a child at that point, that child would have no good life. I was not through school, my marriage was rocky, my sense of self was everywhere but with me. I knew I did not want to be a mother and I did not want to share parenting with a person who said I had been at fault for miscarrying.
That Sunday morning it happened without trauma, sickness, or agony. I wasn’t even sure if it really was what I thought it may be. I gained some tiny sense of what it was to be in control of my body, of my life. In an ancient ritual and embraced by those strong and beautiful women, I did not have to brave clinics, or protests, or anaesthesia, or aftermath.
I mean that: ancient. Women possessing their own bodies is not a new concept, and the idea that those people who have penises should have any say in what happens to a woman’s own body is a bit logic-bending. At no point will a male have to choose whether to carry a fetus to term or to terminate a pregnancy. I can say this with ultimate confidence. I can barely stand to listen to a male anti-choice point of view, not just because they are generally soaking in stupidity and rife with bullshit about how babies are unspoilt or whatever, but because the logic never makes it across the divide. If a man does not have to choose, why is he against it? His precious morals are of no fucking consequence. None.
Choice is not about forcing abortions. If you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one.
Choice is not about killing. It’s about living.