I spent my entire life being pro-choice for America and pro-life for myself. In fact, my mom tells me that as a teenager I told her that if I ever got pregnant I'd keep the baby. To this she replied, "then you better not get pregnant while you're living in this house 'cause I'm done raising babies." That pro-life mentality stayed with me through college as I worked to achieve my goal of becoming the first college graduate in my family. I was educated and took care of myself as a woman. (Side note, without Planned Parenthood I would not have received women specific health care in college. So, thank you PP.)
I considered myself pro-life until September 2, 2011 when I was presented with the most devastating news I ever hope to hear. My much wanted, already much loved baby was not going to survive the pregnancy; I had a CHOICE to make. Together with my doctor and my husband, and through a broken heart and many tears, I made the choice to terminate my pregnancy. I experienced so many emotions related to the news, our decision, and the aftermath of our decision that my head was spinning. Sadness, guilt, anger, resentment, relief, and everything in between, I felt it all. The bottom line is, I felt it. My husband felt it. Our family and friends felt it. Strangers did not.
So, when strangers react to my blogs and posts with hateful comments and aggressive name-calling, I can only shake my head. I've been called some pretty heinous names and have had some pretty heated debates. I've been ridiculed and judged, even by loved ones, and have been offended on way too many occasions. It used to really bother me because I felt like no one was listening. I'm not the uneducated, unwed, unemployed, abortion addict that pro-life extremists like to pretend that I am. I am one class away from finishing my Master's degree. I have been with the same man for 10-1/2 years and we've been married for 4-1/2. I wake up every morning and commute to a full-time job where I work 50+ hours per week. I've never been arrested and take pride in my volunteer work. I come home to a house that I own and cherish quiet nights at home with my family and friends. I am not the embodiment of evil that many like to accuse me of being. I am a woman who was faced with a very difficult situation and who was lucky enough to have the strength, knowledge, courage, support, and freedom to make the choice that was right for her family.
We all have the right to our opinions; I don't want to take that freedom away from anyone. With that said, NO ONE has the right to judge anyone for their personal decisions, decisions that have zero impact on anyone outside the family making that choice. You don't get to make me feel bad for choosing my own path without also having the compassion to listen to the why behind our decision. I'm not asking you to agree with me; I'm just asking you to listen with an open-mind.
While I have always been politically active and passionate, the debate over women's rights has suddenly became much more personal and much more important to me. I decided to share our story because I don't want any woman to feel alone in her pain. I don't want women to feel shamed into silence. I want to remind extremists that not every abortion is a result of promiscuity to get rid of an unwanted baby. There is a whole other side to this debate and that side needs to be heard. If I have to tell our story in a million ways a million times on a million forums, I will. I pledge this commitment to women everywhere who have ever been judged, silenced, or shamed for their decisions. You are not now, nor will you ever be, alone.