In a bid to reno this blog, I found myself googling baby pictures recently. Not a good move. But then, savvies that you are, you probably already know this. An exercise not for the faint hearted. And that's without even mentioning: a) the obese baby that makes my own son look anorexic, b) the oodles of supermodel babies, and c) the babies that look like something off of an Eels album cover. But what topped them all was the picture of the Aborted Baby. I won't even say fetus, though doing so would surely make us both feel better. I think 'it' was around the 16-week-old mark. Truthfully, I couldn't stand to look for more than a second without wanting to retch. Now, before you say, I thought mommy blogs were supposed to be fluffy, and before your mouse makes a mad dash for the Back button, I promise this won't be some holy roller pro-lifer rant. Yet the image shocked me to my core, and I'm pretty sure it would have done so even if I wasn't a parent. Despite the fact that our eyes are bombarded with so many violent and sickening images on a daily basis, from CNN to CSI-wherever, few pictures still have the power to send a jolt of fear and revulsion from our brains to our stomachs.
But this picture did. And I feel pretty sure that no woman would be to sleep at night if she saw the aftermath of her 'termination'. Amazing how semantics, mere phraseology, can empower and exonerate us. Mea culpa. Whatever the predicament which led to her choice, such images speak for themselves. They are incapable of embellishment. You can use whatever words you want to describe an abortion, or a D&C, or whatchamacallit. Just as an annulment is a fancy word for divorce, and a red rose by any other name is still a rose... The image I saw was bloody and real and indisputably human. Honestly, I've never felt strongly about this issue. I've even gone so far, at times, as to consider myself having feminist leanings. And it has been a luxury not to hold strong views on a matter so contentious that many have killed, and died, in its name. I'm not here to judge. I know as I type these words, from the smug comfort of my kitchen counter -- as a woman whose pregnancy was both straightforward and planned -- that there are women out there, women caught in the flames of personal hells, feeling there is no other choice. No other option available to them. Women who have been raped. Women whose lives would be irrevocably destroyed if they brought a child into it. Women who would hate me just for having the audacity to talk about their lives in some stupid blog...
Still, there is the picture. And a whole host of 21st Century contraception. Failing that, the morning-after pill. And failing that, millions upon millions of other women who would give everything they have to bring a child -- even a stranger's child -- into this world, unjust and cruel and completely bonkers as it is. I am thankful for your sake that you did not see this image. That you won't go to bed tonight with it in your head, inspiring your nightmares. But how much worse, to go to bed with this image written on your conscience when maybe it doesn't have to be that way. I remember clearly my first ultrasound. I expected nothing but a bud, or a cluster of cells (patience, reader, I was no science major!) at the most. But LGO was so formed already. His heartbeat ox-strong, his spine, his head... That came as a surprise.
Ok, so this post does smack of pro life. How can it not, though, when my own mom found herself in the aforesaid hell? It was circa the '70s and she was a very young, very unwed mother, eg. the scourge of society, then and -- to some extent -- now. My bio father flew the coop when he found out. She was scared shitless. And she was deeply ashamed, it goes without saying. How much easier would it have been for her to take the path of least resistance? Get her life (and body) back intact, finish school, ease herself into adulthood. But no, she played the hand that was dealt her. She graduated high school in her balloon-shape, went on to get a degree in night school, and a respectable career. Years later, she met my stepdad, got married, and today looks every bit the pillar of her community if you didn't know her past.
Metaphorically speaking, I know of no one with kahunas as big as my mother's. And yet she plays it down. She had a choice, and she made it. Sure, it's not for everyone. But looking back she says she wouldn't have it any other way, as hard as it must have been for her at the time. And you know what, I'm kinda glad she did.