I Can Love My Baby, Grieve My Loss, And Still Have Had An Abortion
They say, we are perfectionist uptight women who are unable to tolerate the thought of a child with special needs.
They say, we took the easy way out, to avoid dealing with a medically complex child.
They say, we are cold, uncaring women, throwing away our child the minute there is a problem.
They say, we didn’t love our babies, because we had an abortion.
They say, we are not allowed to mourn our babies, because we had an abortion.
They say, we gave up too easily because we had an abortion when our baby was sick but not dying.
They say, we don’t care about people with disabilities, because we chose to have an abortion for our baby who had a significant prenatal diagnosis.
They say having an abortion when your baby is very sick or dying is different from taking your 2-week-old dying baby off life support. Because it’s an abortion. Because we didn’t wait for nature to do it for us. They say we were pushed by our doctors or families into having an abortion, that we didn’t know what we were doing.
They say we’re not as strong or noble as women who continued a doomed pregnancy until the baby died of natural causes. They say we shouldn’t talk about mourning our babies. Because how can we mourn, if we had an abortion? They say we are greedy and selfish because we chose to value our own health and have an abortion for a sick or dying baby. When we might have died from continuing to carry a sick baby. When we might have died or had complications from delivering a stillborn baby who was several months more developed. They say it is eugenics to have an abortion for a baby with a prenatal diagnosis. As if our only reason for deciding on abortion was to change the gene pool.
The reality is, NONE OF THOSE STATEMENTS IS TRUE.
We can love our baby with our whole heart, and still have an abortion.
We can be fierce advocates for people with disabilities and still have an abortion.
We can decide to have an abortion, and fully support those who decide to continue their pregnancies. We can realize that sometimes life is not black and white, but very, very gray. It is not always either/or, but often both/and. We can listen to information, evaluate it, and come to our own wise decisions. We can ask our doctors to help us in our time of need, knowing full well it will lead to losing our babies.
We chose a path that leads to mourning in silence. Alone. Not socially supported, but with stigma instead. It takes enormous strength, love, and altruism to do what is needed and say goodbye to your baby, and then face a society that calls you “murderer” and worse.
We know that each woman needs to be able to decide what is best for herself and her family, no matter why she is considering abortion. We know that women are intelligent and capable, able to make sound decisions for their own lives and their children and family’s lives. We know that there are many religions in this country and that none of us should be forced by the government to follow the dictates of one religion, especially if it is not our own religion.
It is immoral, to say horrible things to women who are about to have or have just had an abortion.
It is immoral, to tell women they don’t know what they’re doing when they make sound medical decisions by deciding to have an abortion. It is immoral, to shame women instead of supporting them in one of the most difficult times of their lives. It is immoral, to make someone’s personal private medical decision an acceptable topic for public conversation and debate.
It is immoral, to tell women what kind of feelings are acceptable after they had an abortion.
It is immoral, to not pay women fair wages and then shame them when they have an abortion because they know they can barely support the child(ren) they already have.
It is immoral, to use the force of government to make everyone live by the precepts of one religion, especially when is not their own religion.
Photo by Elisabetta Foco on Unsplash
About the Author: Anne Mellinger-Birdsong
I am a pediatrician and epidemiologist who lives in Atlanta, and the mother of 2 children on earth and 3 in heaven.