author – activist – faculty – mom
In my 20s, I had an abortion. I never regretted it, but I did have a small concern that if I was unable to get pregnant later, I would see that choice as lost opportunity. As it turns out, I was able to get pregnant and have my daughter in my early 40s. I love being a mom, and I love the life I was able to build for myself during the years between my abortion and my decision to build a family. I am so grateful that my parenthood was planned. One day, I was carrying my toddler on my back through a mall. When we walked past a Planned Parenthood, I detoured to walk in with my and thanked them.
Years after my abortion, I came to the realization that I also could have made a different choice. I could have had that baby. I would have loved that baby. My life would have been forever fused with that other human, and I’m sure I would have said things like: “she/he is an amazing gift,” and “I can’t imagine my life without him/her.”
But when I came to this realization, I didn’t suddenly regret my abortion. In fact, it had the opposite effect. I cherish my ability to choose all the more. Because this is the truth about babies, about human beings, and about life: human beings are precious. I don’t need to have a baby to show that life is a miracle. Life is going along, being a miracle, with or without my procreation. The problem with our society is that we are so disconnected from each other, as human beings, that we rely on babies and small children who haven’t yet been hurt and disillusioned by our society to be a symbol of humanity’s potential. Funny, how our society invests the people in the society with the least power with the sense of hopefulness for humanity. Not only can’t they vote, they can’t even talk. And there’s something off about that. I had an abortion because I was hopeful about the potential of my own life as a young adult, and I wanted to fulfill my potential in other areas before I took on the hard work of motherhood. If our society were organized differently, I wouldn’t have had to make that choice, but without social, economic, and workplace support for mothering, I didn’t have the options I would have needed to feel confident in going forward with that pregnancy.
Yet I would have loved that baby and she/he would have become one of the most important people in my life. However, the same could have been said about a baby that never happened because I decided NOT to go home with the random guy from the club. Or how I never called the guy who gave me his number on the bus. Or how I never followed up with the guy who flirted with me at the grocery store. My ability to make a baby and then love and bond with another human being doesn’t mean that I should or that I must. Love is a choice. My ability to love the child I chose not to have in my 20s isn’t mutually exclusive with my ability to resent that child. When I got pregnant, I had yet to break various patterns of abuse, neglect, and disconnection in my family. So my ability to love that child wouldn’t have protected that child from me, as her/his mom, acting out unhealthy family patterns that would have been traumatic for her/him. The bottom line is that I had an abortion because I knew I wanted to be a mom, but I knew I wanted to be a better mom than I was capable of being at that time in my life. I also wanted to have a family with a more present dad, in a stable, loving relationship. And I wanted to move forward without resenting having my dreams truncated. I have all those things now, and mothering is still challenging. But I love my kid without regret or reservation. I love the mom I am today, and my child is thriving. I am proud to be #1in3 women in the US who has had an abortion, and my joy in motherhood supported and affirmed by my ability to choose.