Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Motherhood.The Other Side. Chapter II

        Abort(ion) mission!

Foreword: I wrote this a while ago when I ran into some pretty unpleasant reactions over abortion. If anyone reads Chapter I of this trilogy you’ll know I am as pro-baby as one can be. Still, I would be a hypocrite to hide behind fake good intentions if I said I don’t encourage women who want to have the last say when it comes to their lives and bodies.

Considering I was pretty pissed at the moment when I wrote this, I thought about re-writing it several times. But the truth is, if I were ever slammed in the face with the same radical views displayed in such rude inconsiderate fashion, I would react just the same.

So excuse the tone and nervousness in the writing. It belongs to a Mela on the edge. We all go there and it’s part of life and we are all entitled to our own beliefs, change of hearts and moodiness. Amen!

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Note: for those who feel like jumping at my throat right away I recommend that you read the entire thing no matter how much you feel entitled to bitch and cry “murder” from the word start. This is not a pro-abortion piece but a rational approach to why abortion has to stay a free choice and should be allowed to happen in special situations – to say the least.

I don’t unfriend people on FB unless I get mad for various reasons. From rudeness to weirdness to extreme views that seem too violent for me to digest. And I got mad a little while ago on a guy that I actually appreciated generally for his ideas. Most of the time he seemed to have decent opinions and had a good sense of humor. But sometimes he would display his beliefs in a very impolite manner. They were rude, equivocal and one sided. Like he held the absolute truth. No one holds the absolute truth. Plus, any idea shared with others has to leave room for their opinions to fit in, because we are presenting our case not trying to convince others that what we believe it’s the right thing. And surely using verbal violence while doing so and being rude surely doesn’t help a cause. Not even a good one. It’s like PR work. A good project can go to hell if you’re not selling it right.

So this guy posts a video from a women’s protest in Poland. It all started when the Polish Prime Minister supported the idea of turning abortion illegal no matter the cause or case. Basically, no woman, regardless of the reason, would have the right to have an abortion. A local priest embraced the idea (as it is expected in most such cases) and started talking about its legal grounds in church. Most women got up and left. Now this guy comments to that video, “Look at these tramps, all leaving in protest!” And amazingly a lot of men came in to support his comment.

Let me say this. If you adopt such legislation then you’ll have women dying from home induced abortions by means beyond sanitary. To put it in the simplest way possible. Just like back in the communist age when women weren’t allowed to have abortions because we needed to increase the population and show just how thriving Romania is. And then you had human embryos floating down the local rivers thrown at night when the militia wouldn’t catch you or an informant neighbor couldn’t sell you out. Or, women in villages who did not even know specialized doctors or nurses and would use wire coat hangers, absinth infusion or violent massages on their abdomen to cause abortions. Oh yes, the truth is so fucked up. It’s disgusting. But it happened for generations on end because of reasons beyond our imagination or acceptance. But who cares, you know? Because you can’t really judge once you’re not there. We’re not talking about those couples who have numerous children not caring whether they can provide for them or not. Unfortunately love is not enough to feed hungry mouths. We’re talking about the uneducated, the ones lacking means of contraception, the ones who by accident get pregnant when they are too old or have too many kids already, those who get pregnant following rapes, those whose babies are discovered to have physical or mental disabilities in the womb and the list could go on.

When not given the chance and access to proper medical treatment and abortion, women still go for one and in desperation they end up dead. Think that when fighting for the baby's life that you think she's taking away, you might be taking hers. And neither her baby's life nor hers is ANY OF OUR decision to make!
None of those would be able to have an abortion anymore, legally. Do you think that would stop them? A man commented, “a woman who has been raped can always give the baby up for adoption if she can’t bear to raise him/her.” Really? What about the 9 months she carries what she probably perceives as a little “monster” in her belly due to the violence and abuse she had endured? Perhaps she doesn’t want to relieve that nightmare every day for almost a year. Perhaps she feels dirty by carrying the product of her rapist in her womb. But what do we care about her mental trauma. All we care is for her to bring a child into the world to then give it up for adoption. Double trauma. But again, what do we care that with how funny life is, perhaps that child will find out not only that he’s been adopted but that he was also the product of a rape. Of course, the child may never know of any of this and have a happy life. But you can’t only see the glass half full, because there is a very bitter half empty for that woman and no one can judge the situation better than her.

A woman said, “a woman doesn’t respect herself if she is having an abortion.” Really? Let’s say that you were on pills and you took antibiotics and somehow it happened that you got pregnant because of that. Your friggin’ condom was punctured and you got pregnant. The pills you were getting were not strong enough. You miscalculated your period. You thought you menopaused, when surprise! You’re pregnant at 49 with two kids in college and you’re not up for round three. There are a million ways to get pregnant. Or you’re a student (the number of teenage/college pregnancy is rising). Yes you could have the baby but then your life will not be the same again. If you’re lucky and the father sticks around, with a bit of the parents helping, you’ll graduate college. It’s a huge effort. Some make it and love it. Some have to give up education and in most cases they don’t actually get back to school because they won’t have the money or support they need.

Babies detected with the Down Syndrome (or anything similar from physical to mental illnesses) or any other such disease that cannot be treated in or outside the womb. What then? I read the FB profile/comments and posts of a mother who did not have one but two children with Down Syndrome. And yes I can understand everything she says about how much she loves them and that despite knowing what they were suffering from she still decided to have them. Because to her they are beautiful precious creations. And that makes her a wonderful person to me. But as I said, it’s a matter of choice. I would not bring a child into the world with such a problem and I don’t believe I am less because of this. Because even when we try so hard to give them a better life, even when they’re perfectly healthy, one cannot still say 100% that their children will have a good life. Isn’t this a major part of why we have children? So they are our legacy into the future while enjoying a better brighter life than we had as parents? There are people fighting in different countries right now to legalize “suicide” for terminally ill cancer parents who do not want to go on living a painful torturous life while seeing their loved ones suffer for it as well. They don’t want to live just to live when there is nothing but pain and anguish. So if our old and sick ask for a right to better life quality or nothing at all, what makes you think a sick baby wouldn’t want that? Of course they can’t. Their death is not a solution, but a lifetime of struggle is? What do you say to your child when he will be fed up with being "different" and sick and in hospital all the time and he will ask, "why did you allow this knowing what's coming?" Is it easier to hear them say "I wish I was dead"? You think that doesn't happen? Life is no fairy tale world where sick kids are so thankful for having a loving family but once they step outside their home existing suddenly becomes a little bitch where they are treated (usually) badly and they are not accepted. Let's not even mention getting girlfriends, boyfriends, jobs, sex etc etc - you know. The normal life they would crave for when seeing it happen to teenagers their age on a daily basis. I wish your love and care as parents would save them from all that, but in reality it won't. 

If I were to have a child suffering from something similar and then something happens to me, not only that he had a bad start in life but once I’d be gone or unable to help (we do grow old, weak and eventually die before they do), who will insure even that level of quality I was able to provide? Look how we’re still struggling as a society to accept and give job opportunities and equal rights to an independent life to people with Down Syndrome, autism, the sensory and physically impaired. Not too long ago an 8th grader suffering from autism here in Romania scored higher in his final gymnasium tests than most normal kids. You know what? He was not admitted in most high schools because of egotistic parents and a rudimentary educational system still existing in medieval times!

If some think I would be selfish in going for an abortion in such a situation because, I quote, “if the baby is faulty you just dump him”, then I say you are selfish in bringing him into the world and condemn him to a life in a wheel chair when all the others play freely. Or to a life in a mental semi obscurity where he won’t go beyond the age of 5 even if he turns 30. And the list could go on. Back in the day we didn’t have the choice to know beforehand details about the health of our baby. Now we do and it should help to make the right decisions, whatever that would be for each of you. And this would be mine.
To conclude with, a woman who decides to have an abortion decides on her body, on her life, on her soul. And no one has a say into that. It is not your sin or burden to live with it. And funny enough all those men commenting. I’m sorry gents, but what a joke! How many of you have actually queued up with your ladies at a gynecologist appointment to listen to a room full of women, from pregnant, to menopause elders, to 15 year olds coming in for their first check up knotting their legs as if they were going to be abused (I assume you do know that for most women opening their legs in front of a stranger who will stick metal parts in their vagina is kind of weird to say the least), from women with multiple abortions, to women suspected of cancer, to women annoyed by relapsing infections. How many of you have listened to their stories? How many of you have spent a week or two wondering why your period is not coming because your man did not want to wear a “corset” ‘cause it’s just not fun but he expects you to ingurgitate hormones for years and years. Let me tell you: very very few. The only true dedicated men I’ve seen together with their women at the hospital were those expecting or those interested in expecting. I’ve been to the doctor many times by now. Not once, in all the cities I’ve been, the hospitals and various doctors, have I seen a man there to support his woman after having an abortion. And we know how many ask for one if it happens that their girl gets pregnant. Perhaps we should make asking for abortions illegal as well, that might help with containing the numbers.

Stay out of someone’s life, people. You don’t know when your turn will come, or your children’s turn will come and one day you may end up with your daughter in tears on your door step saying she is pregnant, that it was an accident and she will not have the baby because it’s not the time yet. Will you think of her as a low life with no self respect? Will you balance the pros and cons? Will you help her have the baby and then put it up for abortion knowing she will think about it for her entire life? Will you support her to make sure she won’t do something stupid and die or never have other kids again because you didn’t take her to a doctor? You can assist, support, guide, advise and eventually show all the pros and cons of the situation but let her decide. After all, if you do decide to help her keep the baby make sure you won’t blame her when she is overwhelmed because she wasn’t ready, constantly reminding her just what she did and the kind of sacrifice you’re doing to help her out. And how her life is messed up. ‘Cause if you do, then you should better not help her at all.

I may not be a parent yet but I believe we need to provide children with a good start in life at least. That means give birth to healthy children that won’t suffer throughout their existence because we let them and we can’t help them get better either. Because even when they are perfectly healthy, there is a good chance that in the future they fuck up their lives on their own. But at least we did what we could to ensure a good path for them to walk on.   

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Ok. All things said and done, here is a little story as a final note. I was in college when due to a flue my period didn’t come. It only happened twice in my life and it was always because of some medical issue. So here I am standing in line at the gynecologist with a friend, to go see what it is. Yes, I had a boyfriend back then. And yes, I was using contraceptives. I was and am a fanatic with contraceptives just because I want babies so badly and I do not want to end up having one at the wrong time.

As we are waiting, I’m wondering why the hell it's taking so long for the doctor to see me. We were running about 40 minutes late already and the waiting room was packed with women. It was mid February and it was still very cold out so I was wearing this black turtle neck. It was pretty hot inside within the small crowded place. Eventually a nurse comes out and with one of those kindney/bean tray whatever you call them and she passes me by as I sat with my back at the wall. I could tell there were the small parts of a baby there. Made me so sick instantly I collapsed to the ground. My friend had to go get me water. A few minutes later the woman who had the abortion came out. She was white in the face and could barely walk, dragging herself across the hall, assisted by another nurse. No man in sight.

That tray horrified me. Horrified me for what it stood, what that baby could’ve been, what her life would be now. But you know what? Not for a moment did I judge her. She looked miserable enough to have others put more on her shoulders. And gents, only Virgin Mary had a baby on her own. Even if you both decide to have the abortion, even if she does it because you want it or she wants it, you should be there for her. Cause you were there when you made it happen. Take that damn responsibility.

I went in with shaky legs. I HATE going to the gynecologist. I hate being exposed like that, I do not like it in the least. The only thought that keeps me going is that I need to check on myself so I stay healthy so when the time comes I prevent as many possible problems that may occur when having a baby. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have easy pregnancies as I am sure you all know.

As he’s basically doing his stuff and my legs are high into the damn ceiling, he asks, what is a very normal question, “is there a chance you are pregnant?”. My heart succumbed in the pit of my chest, melted my spine and fell to the floor. All my life I was against abortion when there is no real cause for concern (medical or otherwise) and it's just an unwanted pregnancy because I always fought so hard to prevent an "accident". I didn’t say anything. He continued “would you consider an abortion?” My instant, instant answer was “yes” and I almost whispered it. It shocked me and threw back my world and trampled on all my 24 years of conviction. There was no pregnancy of course. But my life turned around after that episode.

As I walked from the hospital I called my mom and asked her: “you know, ever since I can remember you always said, Mela, if it ever happens and you do get pregnant, don’t be afraid, come and tell me. I may be upset with it but I will help you.”  I paused. “Mom, what kind of help did you have in mind? It never occurred to me to ask.”

And she said “I’d take you to a doctor and take care of it.” I stopped in the middle of the street, in front of the theater and said, “mom listen to me and listen to me well. If I ever become pregnant know that it was not by my doing. I am insane with contraception so it could only happen because fate is against me. I will have a clean consciousness that I have done everything to prevent it. So if it does happen, don’t ever take me to the doctor. Just talk to me. Talk to me so I walk through my fears and decide what to do.”

I am telling you all this to underline the fact that one moment of utter realization of how messed up reality can become due to a possible pregnancy will bring the unbelievable and impossible out of you. Your reasoning, your beliefs, your convictions will be run over by fear, instinct of preservation, overwhelming fright of responsibility, especially when you’re not ready. You have to get there, be in that situation to really know what you’d do. Theory is easy. In practice we might be more cowardly and weak than we want to believe we are.

Does that make us bad people? No. It makes us human. The important thing is to acknowledge that the first reaction says something about you and about your inner fears that you might have to face once deciding to have an unplanned baby. Support from family, friends, your man can be crucial in deciding what to do. Just as much as pressure, blame, negativity and anger can take a toll on you and steer you into a different direction. At the end of the day no one can tell what that woman is going through and whatever she decides will stay with her for the rest of her life. I want to believe that with a very few minor exceptions, women out there aborting for various reasons will always bare that on their shoulders even if they have babies afterwards. No one wants to do this, but life is not fair is it? So why add your judgment to what is already a form of punishment in itself? 

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