Musings on the big A

This week I was shocked to hear about the death of Dr. Tiller, one of only a few providers of second and third term trimester abortions in the entire United States. A couple of nights ago, I was flipping through the tv and ran across one of the cable news shows, I believe it was Anderson Cooper and he had a physician on the program who had known Tiller personally as well as a woman who made the choice to carry to term her fetus that she knew would not live more than a few hours. I went to sleep thinking about the abortion issue and after many years have decided to come out of the closet.

I have had an abortion. Many times women will say after giving birth to their first child that they  could never imagine having an abortion, women who prior to giving birth had always fancied themselves pro-choice. Well my story is different it was only after I became a mother that I came to understand why abortion must always remain legal and safe in this country.

I admit thoughts of abortion crossed my mine when I got pregnant with my son at 18, but I could not make that choice, obviously he is here and he is one of the two greatest lights in my life. That said, it was after he was born and I understood what it meant to be a mother that I understand why some women make the choice they do to terminate and I ended up being one of those women.

I won’t provide the details, the hows and whys don’t matter, just that having already been a mother, I knew I was not ready emotionally, financially or mentally be a mother again at that time in my life. Could I have chosen adoption? Maybe, but at least at that time, cuddly babies of color were not a priority for adoption and the idea of my offspring existing in the world not being treated right at someone else’s hands was not a thought I could bear.

I am older, stable and a Christian, do I have regrets you may wonder. No, I don’t. I have made my peace with that choice, yet for years I have lived with the secret. Even now I hesitate to write this knowing I have real life friends and family including my son who may read this and judge me. Yet I clearly believe that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.

Working in my line of work, I have seen families that brought children into the world they were not ready to parent…I believe that the scars of bad parenting last a lifetime. As a Christian I am constantly frustrated with those who are so completely anti-abortion yet do nothing to help out the kids who are here. People who complain about welfare moms yet get riled up about abortion.

I think about the many clinics I have run across over the years that claim to help women who are pregnant and dealing with an unwanted child but where are those same people when that child is 10, 12 and so on?

Dr. Tiller’s murder was a tragedy on so many levels as surely the killer may have felt it was his job to rid the world of evil…yet who the fuck are we to judge? So many folks run around claiming the name of Jesus but if Jesus was here, I doubt he would be happy with them. Jesus himself said he who is without sin throw the first stone, this was said in the context of the woman caught in the act of adultery.

I also decided to share my story because so many folks wonder about the women who choose to have an abortion…who are these women? Well these women are your sisters, daughters, friends and yes maybe even your mother. Rich women, poor women, black and white…we are the faces of abortion.

Note: I suspect such a hot topic will get more hits here than usual so I am letting you know now, all new commenters must be approved by me and if you choose to leave a nasty post, expect that you won’t see it here.

8 thoughts on “Musings on the big A”

  1. Shay, the parallels continue…today a very good friend of mine revealed (after us being extremely close for the past 9 years) that she too has had an abortion.
    I applaud you for your honesty and think it’s really important that people know women’s stories and understand that it is NEVER a black/white issue. Ever. I am a mother to two, as you know and some would think the grief that I experienced birthing my dead son at 9 months pregnant would lead me to be anti-choice but nope, I am more fervently pro-choice than I was before I became a mother. No one should have right over anyone’s uterus except for said owner of that uterus, imo. I am deeply saddened and disgusted by Dr. Tiller’s murder and I admire you for writing about it and about your experiences. Big hugs.

  2. “That said, it was after he was born and I understood what it meant to be a mother that I understand why some women make the choice…”

    This is me, though I’ve never had to make the choice, but this mirrors my own evolution regarding my views on abortion.

    Thank you for your honesty, Shay.

  3. very well said. & hard to say, too. i was raised catholic & although i can say to my family that i am bisexual & pagan, i have trouble telling them i am pro-choice. but i am. i agree that bad parenting scars last a lifetime. i have faith that the energy of a baby aborted will come back to light in a new form. a better chance, hopefully. i was raised by bad bad bad parents & have said that they never ever should have had more than one or two kids (they had 6 of us–i was #4). if i had not been born to them, i would have found my way into this world somehow, meanwhile, my not being born would have saved my mother a lot of pain & i would not have the daily struggles with coping that i have. i do not wish myself gone, but i wouldn’t have begrudged my mother aborting me. is this a weird way to look at it?? sorry if im being a freak. all i was trying to say is, thank you for posting this.

  4. Hey Shay,

    This is an important discussion to have because it is a subject that many black women (especially) just do not discuss openly.

    Clearly, plenty of black women are having abortions since twice as many black fetuses are destroyed than there are live births of black babies so we know that this issue is touching many lives.

    Women are ashamed to admit that they have had abortions. There are many reasons for their shame…most are afraid of being judged by others. And who cares what someone else thinks – do they pay your bills? Can they confer your next degree? What power do they have over you with their judgment? That is the question I continue to ask women who tell me that they know they will be judged by others.

    For those who have had abortions…please strive to move past the fear of being disproved of. The more you love yourselves and work on the inner parts of YOU…doing YOU better than anyone can…the more you can accept that all of us have made regrettable decisions. We don’t need an “amen” from anybody to know that we’re okay. We’re still here. There’s always a chance for a life makeover…if we want one.

  5. Like you, having kids solidified my pro-choice stance. I mean, I never could have imagined the kind of emotional, mental, physical, and financial responsibility kids are. And I’m all for folks being well prepared to undertake the challenge. Or at least feeling up to the challenge.

    I have to be honest . . . when I heard of the doctor’s murder my first thought was, “Man, karma is a b***.” But I don’t condone vigilante justice. As a mother, I still can’t get with late term abortions, try as I might, though. Anyway, as long as abortion is legal, no one should be attacking or harming doctors who perform them.

    So many women I know have had abortions. Sometimes I think if I were to get pregnant right now, that would be the way to go. I’m up to my ears on the verge of being overwhelmed much of the time. While life is precious and sacred and all that, it’s still hard. Reality is tough.

    And since I’ve come to understand the soul a little differently, believing in reincarnation and the eternity of the soul, I know that even though the body might be destroyed, the soul is never destroyed. We could never wield that much power. Maybe the soul comes back through the same mother or through another mother. Who knows? Maybe the soul just wanted to see what it was like to be on the physical plane then changed it’s mind? Is the soul even in there while the child is in the womb? Does it arrive at birth? So many unknowns . . . makes it so complex.

  6. Truth is, Chi Chi, folks don’t get late-term abortions just because they had second thoughts late into the pregnancy. There are typically much larger issues involved like survival of the mother, a fetus dying in the womb, a fetus with zero chance of surival, etc. So I don’t think we can call karma into this. There is a need for late term abortions at times, and precious few physicians who know how to perform them or are willing to put themselves at risk to do so.

  7. True, BGIM’s SI, good point. Just for me as a mother now . . . that late into it, I just don’t know. My gut reaction was “Karma!” but now giving it some deeper thought, it’s really not black and white at all.

    I can’t imagine being in a place where I had to make that decision. 🙁

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