Friday, January 20, 2012

Can't Escape It

It's like you just can't escape it. It's in your head. It's in your community. It's on bumper stickers on cars that almost always wind up in front of you. It's on friends' political Facebook status messages. It's on your television.

Thursday, September 22, 2011. I was feeling quite anxious about returning to work the following day. We received our devastating diagnosis on September 2nd. From that day forward I kept myself pretty secluded from the outside world. The husband had to work that night so I asked my mom to come over; I was pretty nervous about returning to some sense of "normalcy" and wanted company. Last season I got my mom hooked on Grey's Anatomy and I was excited that the new season was starting. I had completely forgotten how season 7 ended and was looking forward to the new season....until I remembered Cristina was pregnant and wanted an abortion.

The show was pretty uneventful. It was difficult to watch Cristina and her husband Owen argue over whether or not to keep the baby. (Yes, I know it's just a show but this situation was all too real. And all too raw.) Owen tried to convince Cristina she'd be a great mom and should keep the baby. She wasn't having it. She didn't want the baby. WHAT? How could you? Don't you know how lucky you are? I would give anything in the world to be pregnant right now and you're just getting ready to throw it away. And then she did...she had an choice. I absolutely LOST it and was so happy to have my mom holding me. It was too new. I had been forced to make the decision and it was the most difficult decision I had ever (and hopefully will ever) make. (Note: I was not forced by a medical professional or my family. I felt forced by the diagnosis. It was 100% my husband's and my decision alone.) I just cried and cried and cried as I watched this TV character throw away the dream I had lost.

Tonight I watched last night's episode. Mistake. They haven't really revisited the abortion storyline since the opening episode. Tonight, Owen blew up at Cristina and the episode ended with him yelling "You killed our baby." Again, the tears flowed. I was taken back to September 2nd, the day my husband and I were forced to have to have a discussion about terminating our pregnancy. Instead of planning paint colors, room decor and picking out names, we were discussing our options and deciding which path to take toward the inevitable....losing our baby. Thank you Grey's for bringing this subject to prime-time TV. It's about time people start having real discussions about it. While my situation was very different than the one portrayed on TV, my situation has reinforced my belief that every woman has the RIGHT to choose. I just hope that every woman remembers that with this right comes a great responsibility and abortion is not and never will be an appropriate method of birth control.

A few days after I returned to work I wound up behind a mini van TWICE in one day while driving around my neighborhood. The bumper sticker staring back at me at every red light was "Smile: your mom chose life." More tears. (I wind up behind this mini van at least once a month. Awesome, huh?) This is in addition to the ones that now jump out at me from cars in parking lots every where I go. These include but are not limited to:
  • Abortion? If it's not a baby you're not pregnant. 
  • It's a child, not a choice.
  • Abortion stops a beating heart.
It sucks. Every time I see one, I am immediately taken back to the day we heard the news about our baby. Abortion is everywhere but no one is having "real" conversations about it. Everyone wants to think they have an opinion. I thought I had one too; I was pro-life (for me) and pro-choice for women everywhere. And then I was faced with the fact that my baby was going to die, either in utero or at birth or immediately thereafter. I was forced to face the fact that if our baby died in utero after a certain time in the pregnancy, risks to my health (and fertility) increased tremendously. I was forced to face the fact that I would bring a baby into this world who would never experience life. I was forced to face the fact that my first baby, the one my husband and I hoped for, would not ever live, regardless of if I terminated or not. Suddenly, I was pro-choice for me AND for everyone else.

What makes it so tough is that many of the people that think they're pro-life are only pro-life when people are aborting for birth control. I have friends that are pro-life that have told me that they support my decision to terminate. I just don't understand how you can pick and choose when to be pro-choice and when to be pro-life. I try not to get into it, because it's everyone's right to believe what they want, and I truly do appreciate their support, but it's tough to feel like their support is genuine when they post on Facebook about pro-life this and pro-life that. It's tough to not say to them, as they're telling me they support my decision: "But don't you think I'm a murderer? My baby's heart was beating before I went into the operating room and was not beating when I left it." I wonder what they'd say if I put it out there like that.

Whether I like to admit it, whether I use the "softer" vocabulary words, or whether I justify my decision until the day that I die, the fact is... I chose abortion. My choice to terminate my pregnancy was, and always will be, a medically induced abortion. It took  me a really long time to come to terms with that but I'm there and it feels good.

1 comment:

  1. Amanda,
    Thank you so much for sharing this very personal experience. I am so very sorry for the heartache and loss - I wish you lots of love during this difficult time.