Abortion Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

March 25, 2009

“She only saw him once.

Once, from behind the window of the nursery. He was wrapped in a blue blanket, and he was oh so small. They asked her if she wanted to hold him, and she said no. Just as she had in the delivery room, right after he was born, when she had squeezed her eyes shut so that she wouldn’t see him, her heart, the heart that she was giving away. She said no.

No.

It would have killed me, she said. It would have killed me. I couldn’t have gone on. I loved him.

So she said no. She refused to hold her son.”

I was holding my own son – then just two and a half months old – on my lap when my mother told me this story. I would be stating the obvious if I said that I clutched him a little tighter as I listened to her words and watched the tears brim in her eyes, but I’ll state it anyways: I held him, tightly, and my heart ached to think of not holding him. My heart ached to bursting at the thought of not holding him, of giving away any opportunity to hold him. And then my heart ached some more, because I had, once upon time, done something that, in some respects, amounts to the same thing.

When an anonymous poster made a plea, last week, for everyone to pause and consider the emotional fallout from adoption – this within the context of debates concerning the emotional consequences of abortion – I immediately thought of my mother and the gut-wrenching turmoil she experienced as a result of giving up a child for adoption. And then I thought of myself, and of the secret inner dialogue that I conducted with myself while she and I sat discussing that boy, that child that she had given up for adoption years before I was born. The secret inner dialogue that went something like this:

Me: Oh, my god, my god, how terrible, how heartbreaking, how did her heart survive it?

Myself: How did YOUR heart survive it?

Me: Survive what?

Myself: Abortion.

Me: That’s so different.

Myself: It’s not.

Me: The heartbreak of giving up a child…

Myself: Isn’t abortion a kind of ‘giving up’? Except, you know, MORE FINAL?

Me: Yeah, but…

Myself: But what?

Me: She’s mourning a child that she lost, a child who is still out there somewhere.

Myself: Exactly.

I clutched Jasper to my chest and squeezed and thought about the child who is not out there somewhere. A little part of my heart collapsed in on itself.

My mother’s heartbreak was almost unbearable to absorb. Her guilt, her worry, her desire to both know and not know whether he’d been given a happy life, whether she’d done right by him to give him up. She insisted that there was no regret – she’d done what she had to do, she had no choice, it was the best thing to do, the only thing to do, at the time – but regret is complicated. She didn’t regret making the choice that seemed best for him, but she still hurt over that choice. She hurt over that choice because it represented a loss, for her. Because it represented the loss of an unknown and unknowable future. Because it was a choice that changed someone else’s life, someone else’s future. Because some part of her felt that she needed to explain that choice, perhaps apologize for that choice. Make it clear that the choice was made out of love.

The choice that caused her so much pain was not the same kind of choice that I made. There is no one to whom to explain my choice. There is no one to whom to apologize. No claim can be made that my choice was made out of love. There is no one to whom I might make that claim. Because that’s how abortion differs from adoption: it means that the only person you need ever – can ever – explain your choice to is yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you’re sorry or not. Abortion means never having to say you’re sorry. It means never even having to consider the question.

Which is not to say, of course, that we don’t consider the question. I’ve been considering the question – of whether or not I’m sorry, of whether or not I should be sorry, of whether or not sorry matters – since I first set foot in that abortion clinic. I have agonized over this. As I’ve explained in these virtual pages before, I can’t say that I regret having had an abortion, but I also can’t say that I don’t. It’s complicated. Its complicatedness sometimes hurts my heart. Which is precisely why people talk about the emotional consquences of abortion. Because many women find, like I did, that their hearts hurt. Because many women struggle to figure out how to reconcile the complicated tension between regret and not-regret and find that they’re unable, and because many women do so while bearing their children, their wanted children, in arms.

But that struggle – that is, my personal experience of that struggle – is one that can, most of the time, be compartmentalized, tucked away on some back shelf of the psyche and forgotten until some event – pregnancy, say, or miscarriage, or one’s own mother’s admission of having given one’s brother up for adoption – prompts one to go rummaging around on the shelves of Buried Hurts and Ambivalent Regrets and Things That I’d Rather Not Think About Unless My Sanity And/Or Moral Stability Depends Upon It. My mother’s struggle with her longstanding conflicting emotions around having given up a child for adoption is not – has never been – something that she can just tuck away on a shelf and forget about. She has never passed a day, she told me, without thinking about her lost boy – without looking at the faces of strangers who seem about his age and wondering is it him, without reading in the newspaper or hearing on the news something about any male person of his vintage and wondering is it him, without casting back to that baby in the blue blankie and wondering what became of him what became of him what became of him?

And that is so hard for her. I have seen the heartbreak on her face. Some 45 years or so after the fact, and the heartbreak is still there. I see the heartbreak on her face and I tell myself, there but for grace went I. And, thank gods for that grace, that I did not go.

But it is not so simple. It is not nearly so simple. For I know that the primary reason I am able to compartmentalize my own, quiet struggle is because it is entirely my own, and it is entirely my own because of the nature of the choice that I made. My child does not wander this earth, living another life. My child – and it is such a mental and emotional wank to even use these terms – was never born. My child never became my child. He/she/it was embryo, barely fetus, not a child. I did not have a child; I had a pregnancy. And then I didn’t.

(And yet. Even as I say that – “I did not have a child; I had a pregnancy” – I want to take it back. I’m a mother. I’ve had a very early term miscarriage. I very nearly lost Emilia to miscarriage. I know the terror of losing or fearing to lose that embryo, that not-quite-fetus, that not-child who is loved none the less for his or her unformedness. I would never have said – could never have said – of the embryo-that-became-Emilia, this is just a pregnancy, there is no child here. For even though she was not yet child, she was the cellular embodiment of my wish that she become a child, that she become my child. In the absence of that wish… is it just cells that remain? I don’t know. I do not know. I have not yet sorted this out. It is painful, trying to sort this out, this which might be, simply, unsortable. All I know is that these experiences are different, despite their similarities, and that I remain firmly committed to the rightness of having the ability – the choice – to distinguish between them. Ah, me.)

What remains: my inconstant, ambivalent hurt, and my mother’s endless heartache. Neither of these would I wish on anyone, but neither would I hold them up as justifications for tampering with our rights to choose those hurts, those aches, over others. We both chose our heartaches, out of desire to avoid greater heartache for ourselves or for others. In my mother’s case – in any birth mother’s case, I think – a more difficult choice was made, because it was a choice that opened up another future for another life, a future that she would never be able to see but would always, always feel. I, on the other hand… I chose the road that denied other lived futures, and that has made all the difference.

The right difference, the wrong difference, I don’t know. It is, ever and always and only and nevertheless, the one that I chose.

I live with that.

*Because you’re asking: yes, we are – I am – still looking for that boy, the lost boy, my brother. There has been some very limited progress recently, and I’m hoping that it yields something, but I don’t want to jinx things by speculating. Thank you all for caring so much.

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    { 180 comments }

    Backpacking Dad March 25, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    I’m out of jokes.

    Erin March 25, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Beautiful and heartbreaking. What you said here summed up why I will always be pro-choice: For even though she was not yet child, she was the cellular embodiment of my wish that she become a child, that she become my child. In the absence of that wish… is it just cells that remain? I don’t know. I have not yet sorted this out. All I know is that these experiences are different, despite their similarities, and that I remain firmly committed to the rightness of having the ability – the choice – to distinguish between them.

    I remember being surprised after my first pregnancy that I was still pro-choice, but then it hit me that, of course I was. He was a baby, a child, when he was only a clump of cells because I *wanted* him to be.

    Pgoodness March 25, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    I hate leaving comments that say nothing, but I hate reading without leaving comments more.

    So, thanks for sharing this. Lots to think about.

    The Mad White Woman March 25, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Heartfelt, honest and touching. As usual. I too have been there, but didn’t go through with it. Lack of money. God’s will. Call it what you want. But had I found the money and gone ahead with the abortion, I would not have Tre. And I cannot imagine my life without him. I’m glad I was broke, for once.

    April March 25, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    You’re always genuine and thought provoking. Thank you.

    Anonymous March 25, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Both choices are very difficult. I don’t think just birth mothers have regrets like described here. I had an abortion 15 years ago and I think of it everyday. I regret it everyday, because there was, in my mind, a better choice. I, also, hate to admit to any doctor who asks how many pregnancies, how many live births that yes I did have an abortion. I would rather have the wonder of a child that was out living a life, then knowing that I killed my child.

    BaltimoreGal March 25, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    You are one of the bravest people! There was a time when I would have absolutely had an abortion, if needed (I never did) and I don’t regret that. It was where I WAS. Now is different. And that is the point, isn’t it?

    barelyknittogether.com March 25, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    What an incredibly difficult thing to put words to, and what a good job you’ve done of making us understand it just a little bit better. A conundrum, indeed. Hugs for you, her not-so-bad mother.

    Amy March 25, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I hope my comment doesn’t get moderated away, I am not intending to create controversy! But your beautiful post inspires me to comment.

    You asked: “In the absence of that wish… is it just cells that remain?” I would say an emphatic NO!!! Which is why I will always be firmly pro-life. A human is not a human by someone’s mere wishing.

    That being said, thank you so much for sharing your experience, and I am so sorry for the sadness in your and your mother’s hearts.

    Chelle March 25, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    All choices are difficult but you might feel better if you think of it as that soul will have another chance at life in a better time when the world is ready for them.

    Anonymous March 25, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I’ve read so many emotionally driven blogs today that it was almost hard to get through this one.

    I agree with everything that you had to say and I love the way you put abortion and adoption into those contexts. Hearing stories like this gives me hope that I’m not the only one who feels like this about abortion.

    I know it might be different if I ever find myself pregnant one day, and I’ll wonder what I would do. I don’t think its time for me to be a mother and I still think its my choice to decide when that time is right.

    Thank you for sharing this, it really touched my heart.

    cat March 25, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    The complexities are the crux of the debate – which is the frustration I have with the arguments on both sides. Everyone trying to simplify something that just.isn’t. ever.simple.

    It has been said already – but wow, how brave.

    Megan March 25, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    As a person who had to make one of the three choices (abortion, adoption and keeping the baby), I cannot express how much this post touched me. I have always wondered how others feel who made another choice, but wasn’t sure how to ask. Thank you.

    The Estrogen Files March 25, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    This was obviously a hard post on a very charged subject. I have very firm opinions on abortion and would much prefer the gift of adoption, but we can’t change the past – only the future.

    Jane @ What About Mom? March 25, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    So a birth mother might apologize to a baby for giving it up, but a woman who aborts has “no one to whom to apologize”?

    It surprises me that such a beautifully written elegy to the pro-choice stance can nudge me yet closer to a pro-life conviction.

    “For even though she was not yet child, she was the cellular embodiment of my wish that she become a child, that she become my child. In the absence of that wish… is it just cells that remain?”

    Determining life based on “my wish” sounds a bit selfish/self-centered, and being glad to have made the easier choice, the choice that requires never having to say you’re sorry, seems quite cowardly.

    Joy March 25, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    I am almost in tears after reading the stories of you, your mother, and the anonymous poster on the other site. I am firmly, adamantly pro-choice, in part for the reasons listed in these stories, and in many others.

    My family, too, knows the pain and unceasing thoughts of lost children although the circumstance of the adoptions are not the same. But that’s the thing, right? The experiences and realities of the people involved are never ever the same.

    Hugs and love to you and your mother, and all women living some part of this.

    Her Bad Mother March 25, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Jane: that’s my point, sort of. I struggle with the idea that it was cowardly, that it was selfish. Certainly compared to my mother’s choice it seems that way. So although I am pro-choice, this was not an ode to choice. It was a lament for how hard, how sad, choice can be.

    The title: it’s meant to be ambivalent. Is it a good or bad thing that there’s no-one to whom to direct a sorry? Does sorry even matter?

    I just don’t know.

    Goddess in Progress March 25, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Thank you for your post. I am strongly pro-choice, but I also think that we sometimes ignore that it takes an emotional toll on the woman, even if it was the “right” choice. Adoption, I can only imagine, is so similar. It may very well be the best choice. But that doesn’t mean there are zero regrets, second thoughts, or whatever the right word is.

    Thanks for telling your story.

    Jane @ What About Mom? March 25, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Sorry, I re-read my comment and wished I’d temporized a bit more — wished I’d said “a bit cowardly” rather than “quite cowardly.”

    Either choice would be difficult, I’m sure, but there’s something a bit dog-in-the-manger, or again, self-centered, to think that if a life that comes from me is going to be lived outside my control, outside my purview, then better, or easier for me, if that life just never exists.

    That really, really bothers me. If abortion (versus adoption, where that is an option) is about making things “easier” on the woman, I just don’t know how I could support it. Is life all about risk and hurt reduction for ourselves?

    You make abortion sound so incredibly selfish, and adoption so incredibly self-sacrificing and venerable. {I can’t imagine that that was your intention, as a pro-choice proponent.}

    Lori Hutcherson a.k.a. kcgirlgeek March 25, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    That was the single most profound, heart-breathed, transparent and real blog, article, piece, history…whatever we want to call it…about choice and consequence regarding our babies (and even other choices) that I have ever, and I mean ever, seen.

    I don’t want to make this comment seem self-serving at all, so please forgive the reference I’m about to make to my website’s name. Just ignore the correlation there and try to read the rest of what I’m writing, because it has nothing to do with websites.

    Your story, and your mother’s, and ALL of our various stories in a similar vein, are what I have come to refer to as “ferocious dust bunnies.” There are things that we all have in the deep recesses of our beings, that seem often to be so innocuous in nature, and yet, when stirred up only a tiny bit, can be seen for the complex truths that they are. We are so emotionally complex and complicated as human beings. And life just ISN’T a simple thing.

    We all make decisions. Sometimes they have been laboriously well thought out. Yet what we cannot know when we are making them, is the affect they will have on us, on others, or on the future. We can only use the tools we have at hand in the PRESENT to make those decisions. And somewhere along the way then, we have to just trust fate, dharma, karma, the gods, God, our higher collective consciousness, whatever, to determine the ultimate outcome and the path that we, from there on out, tread.

    I had a best friend, Debbie Johnson, that died of cancer at the age of 33. She used to always say, “There is a purpose. Everything happens for a reason…everything.” That bears witness in my soul. I believe that is Truth. We may never know some of the “reasons” things happen, and granted, some things are terrible, but I am utterly assured within myself, that nothing happens without serving some purpose, without fulfilling some specific design in the tapestry of our collective lives.

    I’m really grateful to you for your sharing yourself so selflessly with all of your readers. It touched me. Maybe it touched me in a way that no one else could have. All of our lives and stories are so unique, and yet so emotionally, and somehow even spiritually, interwoven.

    And yes…I agree. When you take away the right to choose…you take away the very core of who we are. Our choices determine our path, in some sense, and I, for one, would not go back and change any of mine, for I have no idea where some other choices might have led me. I was destined to live the life I am now living. It is part of my fulfilling my own unique purpose, whether I understand what that is just yet, or not.

    jcaroline March 25, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Wow. First, thank you for linking me to Shakesville, which was also a great read. Thank you, also, for sharing your personal story. Wow.

    I had a terrible pregnancy experience- okay, stillborn twins is a bit more than a terrible pregnancy experience- and am now an adoptive parent. But I can, at times, get all uppity that my choices are SO much harder than so-called “normal” mothers. Au contraire, my friend. This thing called motherhood, or the lack thereof, comes and kicks us all in the ass in its special way. And that may the thread that connects us all.

    Anonymous March 25, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Thank you for this. I am firmly pro-choice but I still struggle with my feelings about the abortion I had more than 20 years ago. You described it perfectly.

    Issas Crazy World March 25, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    I find myself trying to decide if I am going to comment on the post, or on the comments. Somehow, I always have that trouble here. Post wins. (At least in this moment.)

    I love that you can write about this so beautifully. It’s all about choices. The choice too bring a baby into this world or not, is not an easy choice. It’s the hardest choice any woman could ever have to make. I think your take on it makes sense.

    Too me, a fetus becomes a baby, when I accept it as one. Until then it is a fetus. That may not makes sense to anyone else, but that’s the way I feel about it. I’ve never had an abortion, but I’ve known many people who did, mostly when they were really young. They’ve, all but one, gone on to have children.

    Right or wrong, I don’t really know, but that’s how I see it. (and what’s right or wrong for one person, is generally completely different for someone else.) I will say though, I had a miscarriage, a 14 week one, in July 2007. To the medical world, to most people, my baby was just a fetus. She wasn’t that to me though, she was a baby; my baby. A baby that I had dreams and hopes and wishes for. Maybe that’s what all babies are, a wish?

    Her Bad Mother March 25, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Jane: abortion is, in most cases (I can think of some important exceptions), selfish. No way around that. MY abortion was selfish: I was young, I wasn’t ready, I wanted an unfettered future. But the fact that my choice was selfish doesn’t mean that the choice should be taken from me.

    I live with having made that choice. Sometimes I have a hard time, living with having made that choice. That’s part of my point. I think that living with adoption is probably harder. Probably MUCH harder. Which is something to think about, when we ask, as a society, whether more women should choose adoption.

    End of the day, though, I just wanted to get across that regardless of what decision is made, there is hurt. That’s unavoidable.

    Chrissy March 25, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Thank you for the link to anonymous’ story and for sharing your own feelings about it. Both are very heart wrenching to read, especially since I have up my firstborn son almost 23 years ago (April 6, 1986)at the age of 17. The decision was taken out of my hands by my mother and I don’t think I’ve ever really forgiven her or gotten over it, although I do believe that in the end it was the best in the long run for all. It’s unfortunate that is not the case for everybody.

    Anonymous March 25, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    I feel like you were writing my story. Thank you for putting words to the thoughts that I’ve never been able to express.

    Lala March 25, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    OOOF. I have never in five years of blogging read a post that had more of me in it than I could elucidate on my own. The only thing I would add is that the waves of emotional trauma that come after an abortion are like post traumatic stress disorder and you cannot convey that to anyone until they’ve walked a mile in your shoes. I think you’re wearing my shoes today.

    thedailysnark March 25, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Both choices are very difficult. I was adopted as a baby and I think my birth mother could not have given me a better gift—she was young and wanted me to have a better life than she felt she could provide. I know how hard that decision must have been for her—when I was a teenager I had to make that same choice, and I chose differently. I don’t regret it because it was the right choice for me at the time. I knew I wasn’t strong enough to do what she did.

    I hate to say it, but I probably never considered how this could be a life-long struggle for her—or for any birth mother. I truly hope, as you write, that “it was a choice that opened up another future” for her. I hope she found peace with her decision.

    Mr Lady March 25, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Catharine,

    Not only was this quite brave, it was quite beautiful. I think I’ve come to peace with my own choices; I can let myself feel sorrow without forcing myself to also feel regret. It’s taken me, personally, a long time to come to the place where I can separate those two emotions, in all aspects of my life. It’s come down to me being able to just accept, not necessarily forgive, just ACCEPT my life as it’s played out so far.

    Thank you for writing this. I’m sure you’re going to take a lot of fire for it, but look inside yourself when it comes and know that it’s done, what’s done. And that it’s brought you to the place you are now. And that is okay.

    Francesca March 25, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Reading your entry, I had an immediate physiological response to your words. I burst into tears and thought, for the first time, after 2 beautiful boys, of the ‘someone’ that was not born due to my choice. That ‘someone’ who could have been held as I hold my boys now, who was no less deserving of his or her life as they are.

    I don’t sit here now in a pool of regret but I’m sitting in a murky pool of heartache and rawness that I’ve never before allowed myself.

    Thank you for your words.

    Merrily Down the Stream March 25, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Impeccable post.
    Brave, honest, heart wrenching…
    Speaking from my own experience neither was good but the emotional havoc wreaked by giving up the child has been a life long struggle and my reunion with him has a story book quality to it. The best possible ending and yet all of that pain… Thank you for bringing it up and thank the anonymous poster.

    J from Ireland March 25, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    My heart aches for you and your mother. Both awful to go through. You have really made me think and opened up my eyes to the different sides of adoption and abortion.
    Thank you for this thought provoking post and thank you for sharing.

    janet March 25, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    I truly appreciate your acknowledgment of the struggle of “your wish”. That’s always been my struggle with abortion – to me, the question is: does whether or not you want something, change what it is fundamentally?

    I can see how for some, that answer is yes…but for me, it’s always been no: it is what it is, and because when I wanted it, it was a baby, that’s what it always will be. Again, for me. So that’s what puts me in the pro-life camp, I guess. But again appreciate the acknowledgment that the same debate exists on the pro-choice side.

    Anonymous March 25, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Everything Jane said I agree with.

    Adoption may be harder. Of course it is! Because you are doing what is best for your baby! You are giving them a life that for some reason you can’t give them!

    Abortion IS selfish, as you stated Catherine. And if it is easier, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the better choice. Sometimes the hardest choices in life are the best ones. Kudos to your mother for recognizing that!

    Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah March 25, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I stopped breathing reading this.

    I have never had to give up a child for either of these reasons, but I was just lucky. It could have just as easily been me.

    Beautifully said, Catherine.

    Nissa Nicole March 25, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Catharine, I know that I don’t have to tell you “that post was so well written” because you know you are a fantastic writer. But I want to say it now, because what you just wrote is something that so, so many of us who have made the choice have tried desperately to understand and transcribe. All inside of our own heads.

    Your honesty and straightforwardness on this blog and in particular, about this situation is shocking, inspiring and therapeutic for me and I assume, so many others who lurk or stop in once in awhile to read a post or two.

    Thank you.

    K.Line March 25, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    What a beautiful, honest post. I feel so much for your mother – I cannot imagine how terrible her choice would have been. But how wonderful that you have the kind of relationship with her that allows her to explore her hurt and regret with you. It gives you the emotional license to explore your own experience of abortion and miscarriage with us. Some truly tragic things happen. Talking about them makes them bearable.

    Emily March 25, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    What an incredibly brave, beautiful and brutal post. You managed to put into far more succinct words thoughts that have been swimming in my head since we finally managed to get pregnant.

    My mother was forced to give up a child and revealed the truth to us when I was 17. I can honestly say that her decision not only haunted her (and does despite being reconnected with her birth daughter) that it truly and deeply effected her mentally as our mother. There are so many things, behaviours (rational and irrational)and decisions that made perfect sense once we knew the truth. (Perhaps unsurprisingly?) when I fell pregnant a year later she basically forced me into an abortion.

    I have seen and experienced the knock-on effect and carnage of both decisions and believe that when women give up children they are often giving up a part of themselves (literally and figuratively). People who tout adoption as the “only” option should be aware of the pound of flesh that is given up alongside the baby.

    Neither decision is made lightly or without cost.

    deb@http://forsakenforlent.blogspot.com March 25, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    How unbelievable that you were able to express such honest and for better or worse feelings.
    I have been struggling ironically in a quite opposite coming to terms with my rejection of mother.Laying bare that heartache.

    Alexicographer March 25, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    I found my way over here from Alexa at Flotsam and just wanted to say thank you for writing this. What a thought-provoking piece.

    For those above who protest against it, I don’t think “selfishness” is inherently unacceptable. I donate blood but not plasma and have not signed up as a possible marrow donor much less volunteered to be a kidney donor, though I understand I could live fine with just one. Why haven’t I done the last three? Well, selfishness, basically …

    Perhaps my noting this will prompt someone reading this to sign up to donate marrow … or a kidney … so that would be a good thing, right?

    jonniker March 25, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    I made the same decision that you did, many years ago. I don’t regret it. It’s not that I don’t have feelings about the topic, or think it’s a complicated issue or consider it in ways I never had before now that I have my daughter. It’s that without that decision, I might not have the life I have now, and it’s a magical one.

    Regrets, for me, are somewhat useless. Would I do it again? Of course not. Of course not now, of course not in my current life state, of COURSE. But to regret it, for me, is to say that the life I have now is a waste, and that I wish for the life I’d had if I’d done something different back then. To wish that I didn’t have my daughter or my husband, or be where I am right now.

    And I can’t say that I do, and I can’t say for a second that my life would have turned out completely differently, so how can I say for a second that I wish otherwise?

    So in that respect, I think abortion is easier, because there’s nothing left to think about, if you look at it the way I do. Which is, again, NOT to say that it was right, or that I would make the same decision if I had to do it over again, but that for me, it is, by the nature of how I think, without tangible consequence. Other than going to hell, according to many. You know.

    paperfairies March 25, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Not only is abortion selfish, I think it is the most selfish thing a woman could ever willingly do. But the choice should always remain there, selfish or not.

    Her Bad Mother March 25, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    paperfairies: yeah, pretty much. which is what makes it, sometimes, for some people, a bit hard to live with.

    but as you say, that’s a decision that only each of us can make, for ourselves.

    Anonymous March 25, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    I can’t see the link to Shakesville — if anyone else is similarly impaired, here is the one I think was meant: http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/03/breaking-silence-on-living-pro-lifers.html

    Lucie @ Unconventional Origins March 25, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Thank you.

    Kristine March 25, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Twenty years ago I’m fairly certain I would have made the same decision you made. For the same reasons.

    Now I am so very thankful that I never had to make that decision!

    As the mother of a child who was adopted I am so very thankful to the women who chose to place their child for adoption. I don’t think I would have been strong enough as a teenager to do that.

    Again, I am just so very thankful I did not find myself in such an impossible situation.

    Well done post! And I am happy to see that up to this point the comments have been respectful, whether pro-choice or pro-life.

    Musings of a Housewife March 25, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    It is incredibly complicated, is it not? I particularly appreciate yours and Jane’s exchange in these comments. Thank you for sharing.

    Meli March 25, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    I am so sorry for the sadness in your hearts. Both decisions produce infinite amounts of hurt and are difficult to endure.

    This post was beautifully written and I thank you from my heart for writing it.

    Shash March 25, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    I think in either choice addressed here in this post there is pain on many different levels.

    Having participated in one of these choices myself, I can painfully relate.

    You always bring the beautiful. Thank you Catherine.

    Don Mills Diva March 25, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    And this is why you are the best blogger out there…

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