Abortion

Do I dare even attempt to discuss abortion in a radical sense? Or for that matter can any of us discuss abortion in a sensible debate? Those who openly discuss abortion are those who either have never had an unplanned pregnancy while others proudly display their ethical crown and openly express their hate towards those who chose to abort and maybe the ones who regretted their choice to abort then later lash out in a hypocritical protest. And then there are the ones who are afraid to speak out, some of which had an abortion and now fear the backlash and judgment that will be thrown at them hastily so they quiet their voice for fear of ridicule.

As many of you know who have read my book, I have had abortions. I am not proud of this fact. When I had my very first abortion back in the early 1980’s, I truly believed that my only two choices were to either single parent or have an abortion. Adoption never even came up. The thought never entered my mind and I don’t remember anyone bringing up the adoption option. However, to speak frankly, I can’t say that if someone would have offered this option, I would have chosen it. I had no idea what it was like to be pregnant or for that matter to be a mother. My maternal instincts were very immature.

In my book, One Woman’s Choice, I acknowledge that my own existence was based on an unplanned pregnancy in 1962. My parents didn’t have the option to abort me. Well, legally abort me. They basically had two choices. Keep me or leave me. They chose to keep me. But this choice didn’t come without sacrifice. And too often, I became the sacrificial lamb.

I remember when I was around four years old, my older brother and sister would get picked up by their father or by their paternal grandparents for the weekend; I was left behind with our mother. My father had recently moved to Florida and my paternal family had no plans of picking me up for the weekend. I was sad to see my siblings leave home without me and even sadder that my own father wasn’t coming to pick me up. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes it was great hanging out with mommy. No sharing attention with my older siblings; just me and mommy by ourselves was fun. However, other times, it was quite a different story, like when my mother was forced to take me on her dates. My mother made it very clear that the only reason I was going out with her and her date was because she had no one to watch me, no place to drop me off. Basically, she was stuck with me. I remember how this made me feel. I had strict orders to keep quiet and make no sound. It was very apparent that I was not going out with my mother and her date because they wanted me to join them; I was going as a last resort choice.

As a mother myself and a single mother at that, I couldn’t imagine making my son feel like he was a burden or an unwanted guest. And sadly, this is exactly how I felt; unwanted, uninvited, and unaccepted. My father didn’t want me, my mother didn’t want me at that moment and her date surely didn’t want me ruining his plans. Wow, now that’s a heavy load.

From the moment I arrived, my delivery into this world was based on lies and deceit. My mother was still legally married to her first husband when she gave birth to me and with the approval of her separated husband, led the hospital to believe I was his child so his insurance would pay for my delivery. And if that’s not enough, I overheard my mother on a rare occasion give the impression to an old friend that I was from her first marriage. Guess that’s because she was afraid that if they knew the truth, they would judge her. Does that mean I am a shame to the family?

At four and five years old, we can’t really decipher the entire scenario and make reasonable or for that matter practical judgments. At four and five years old, our heart and mind is developing and we are learning about the world around us. We learn from our parents how to love and honor each other; what is acceptable behavior and was is not acceptable. It was during these times, I was very confused about my place in this family, my existence to my environment and my worth as a human being.

I’ve confessed to my son about my abortions and he is aware that he and his younger brother were both unplanned pregnancies. He also knows what influenced some of my decisions. I told him that I myself was unplanned and at times, because my childhood pain was so deep, back then I “sometimes” wished that I was aborted. I know that this may sound horrifying to many of you. But in my mind, I felt like I could have still been in a spirit form hanging out with God my father rather than in this human form with pain and suffering. Of my mother’s five children, I am the only one who was born out of wedlock or illegitimate. I mean who wants to feel like you were given birth because there was no other option, no other choice. Who wants to feel like a burden or that your life has brought shame to your family?

With tears rolling down my face, I said to my son, “I believe that if abortion was legal when I was conceived, I would have been aborted.” You may ask why I feel this way. Well, besides what I described above, my mother suggested for me to abort my first pregnancy, she suggested to abort my second born son who was later placed for adoption. And lastly, upon finding out my first born son was bi-racial, (and too late to suggest abortion) she wanted me to place him for adoption. Why would I think anything else?

I reassured my son and admitted, “When I got pregnant with you, I had a choice. I chose abortion before you were born and after you born and could have chosen to abort both you and your brother. I gave birth to you both because I wanted you both. That’s one thing you can be sure of. ”

I will tell you of the three choices I have made; choosing adoption was my hardest choice both before and after the adoption took place. This choice brought about such pain that I would not wish this on my worst enemy. You can ask other birth mothers and just about all of them will tell you the same. Single parenting was by far my easiest choice. Although it is a lifelong commitment and can be very stressful at times, as a parent, we get so much in return. The love of a child is like no other love I had known before and something that I had longed to feel. As for the abortions, who knows how life would have turned out if I chose to give birth to the children I aborted? Would I have felt like they were a burden to me and mistreated them solely because they came at an inconvenient time, or because I was not married nor did their father want to marry me or parent or for that matter co-parent the unplanned child?

I am a single mother and more often a single parent, and a birth mother and I accept that I am not a perfect mother or for that matter a perfect human being. I know we all have our shortcomings. And I have confessed to my sons and apologized for any wrong decisions or poor choices that I may have made.  But I want them to know that I had a choice and my choice was to give them life. Not because I had no other choices, not because I felt pressured or needed to satisfy their father (who didn’t want any more kids) or a society or my family or my friends or my religion or whoever else wanted me to choose something other than what I felt I needed to choose.

My sons were chosen and they are loved.

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11 thoughts on “Abortion

  1. That article was deep and heartfelt. Abortion is such a topic for debate. I would rather a woman carry a baby for nine months and give that gift of life to a mother that was less fortunate to bare a child. But in the next breath can everyone handle the mental state of aborting a baby or handing their baby over with the thought of never reuniting with that child again in life. I would say until you have walked in those shoes we can’t be judgemental either way.

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    • adoption is pain you should never wish on anyone. and just because the baby is wanted by others, there’s no nice way to tell them when they get older that their first mother didn’t want them.

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      • Just because a mom give a child up for adoption does not mean the mother did not want that child. My dear friend put her child up for adoption and it was not because she did not love the baby or did not want the baby. It was a very painful decision but it was an unselfish choice she made to give her child a better life and to a loving family. Today the child knows his biological mom and loves her as much as his adopted mom and dad. Without saying too much buy the book “One Women’s Choice” written by Karen Whitaker. That’s my friend and she tell an amazing story of her choice of giving her child up for adoption. No one said pain does not come along with adoption whether giving or receiving. It’s not a chapter you ever close in your mind or heart i would think. Never personally experienced it but been close enough to know my friend true feelings.

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      • i’ve personally experienced it.

        no matter how logical the reason is that they gave the child up, the child may still perceive it as a rejection or an abandonment, as “my mom didn’t want me.” it may not seem “unselfish” to them that they’re no longer with their original family. adopted families are not always better, and adoption is not always what it’s cracked up to be.

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  2. Pingback: Here We Go … | The Selfless Act

  3. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I’ve never looked at it from that perspective. I will say that “adoption” and “goodwill” and “all things bright and beautiful” took on a completely new meaning after I adopted. Most things in life tend to get thrown into one big pile where if someone just walks by the pile they can’t discern anything unique…..and I agree with the other poster that “until you’ve walked in those shoes……” I’m sorry you felt like such a nuisance to your mother. These words actually convict me, because at times, I’m pretty sure I’ve let it verbally slip that “what in the H### was I thinking when I…..kept having children.” But that’s just the thing. I tell my older girls that we all have a nice little plan for our lives, but our emotions, our wants, our desires thwart those plans and we have to make the best of where we end up despite ourselves. I’m definitely going to work on making sure my children know they’re WANTED. Thank you.

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    • Thank you for your comments and sharing part of your story. I understand, as a mother myself. It’s never too late to let our kids know we love them and want them in our life. My mother has been very gracious by allowing me to share my story and my inner most feelings which at times, reflects badly on her. But mostly, she is a good woman, a giving mother and a faithful, loving human being. I also enjoy reading your blogs.

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  4. Thank you for your comments and sharing part of your story. I understand, as a mother myself. It’s never too late to let our kids know we love them and want them in our life. My mother has been very gracious by allowing me to share my story and my inner most feelings which at times, reflects badly on her. But mostly, she is a good woman, a giving mother and a faithful, loving human being. I also enjoy reading your blogs.

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