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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Unborn

A few days ago, I shared a note on my Facebook wall that sparked some interesting comments from my friends. I was going to post a comment in reply, but then realized that it was too important for me to leave my thoughts and experience in the form of a simple comment that would disappear in a matter of hours or days.

"Unborn" was the title of the note that I reposted from a friend's wall:
A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said: 'Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 year old and I'm pregnant again. I don't want kids so close together. So the doctor said: 'Ok and what do you want me to do?' She said: 'I want you to end my pregnancy, and I'm counting on your help with this.' The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the lady: 'I think I have a better solution for your problem. It's less dangerous for you too.' She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request. Then he continued: 'You see, in order for you not to have to take care 2 babies at the same time, let's kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we're going to kill one of them, it doesn't matter which one it is. There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms. The lady was horrified and said: 'No doctor! How terrible! It's a crime to kill a child! 'I agree', the doctor replied. 'But you seemed to be OK with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.' The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point. He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that's already been born and one that's still in the womb. The crime is the same! If you agree, please SHARE. Together we can help save precious lives! "Love says I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person. Abortion says I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself..."
After reading some of the comments my friends left regarding this "cute parable", I felt I needed to share my own experiences. So with some trepidation, here goes.

I have had two abortions in my life, and to this day I mourn my 'unborn' children. I had my first abortion in Estonia at the age of 17. I was young and wild and scared and horribly unprepared and I didn't think I had any other option than to terminate the pregnancy. I am saddened and disturbed that the thought of killing my baby outweighed the thought of giving birth, but more importantly I realize how uneducated I was in the whole arena of sex and, well, life. Don't get me wrong, I had learned the basics and knew I needed to "protect" myself, but condoms slip and break and.... yeah. I'm not going to go into much more detail about that time, but the education (or rather, lack thereof) is worth mentioning. I may or may not have sat through an embarrassing movie at school, and had a brief, uncomfortable talk (far too late) with my mom about whether I was using condoms. Honestly, though, I think I could say that the bulk of my sex education came from sneaking peeks at my parents' copy of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex: But Were Afraid to Ask. The spiritual side of love and intimacy and its consequences were, to my recollection, never really addressed.

My second abortion was many years later, when I had big plans and a (surprise!) baby simply did not fit into the equation. This time, being in the US, I went to Planned Parenthood. Inside the clinic, I was given a number (and I'm not talking about one of those tear off deli slips) and was then ushered in to speak with a counselor. The counseling session was a joke- it consisted of an apparently disinterested woman asking me what type of birth control I was planning on using in the future. When I earnestly replied "abstinence", she laughed out loud and said, "Well, THAT will never work!" She handed me a prescription for birth control pills and a handful of condoms and moved me along to the next room. There was not one mention of any alternative to the abortion. For my first abortion, I had been put under full anesthesia, but I was awake for this second one. When I gasped and flinched in pain as the doctor started the abortion, the nurse beside me gruffly barked at me to be quiet and stop moving so that the doctor could do his work. After it was over, I was taken to the large recovery room that I shared with several other women, and when I cried out in my pain and grief, I was coldly told by the nurses to shut my mouth so that I wouldn't disturb the others.

If you have half an hour (or even if you don't), I highly recommend you watch the following video of former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson talking about Planned Parenthood's financial motivation regarding abortion, as well as her change from pro-choice to pro-life. It certainly shed some light on my Planned Parenthood experience.



The thing that amazes me and saddens me when I think about abortion is that with each conception a completely unique human life is created. How selfish of me to simply say no to this life because it doesn't fit into my schedule! What gives me the right to decide whether a human life should live or die? I can only wonder what my two unborn children would have been like, and what it would have been like to watch them develop, grow, and learn. What it would have been like to touch their soft cheeks. I wonder what they would have looked like and what their thoughts, their dreams, and talents would have been. I can only imagine how my own life would have been changed by them, and how they would have changed the world. All children are a blessing, and all life is sacred.


5 comments:

  1. Wow...what a beautifully written story.

    I will say that I gasped aloud when I read it; I didn't see this story coming from you. You're taking such a big risk telling it, and your honesty is admirable. (hug)

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  2. Thanks for writing this.

    Still, you can't beat yourself up. And it compounds the guilt and pressure when you add unqualified statements like "life begins at conception" and "every life is sacred". Even if you believe that or have been convinced of that, it isn't necessarily true, and it's relative.

    My opposition to those statements is not because I'm necessarily anti-religion. It just sounds like it isn't you talking. I'm not saying life starts with the severing of the umbilical cord either, only that it crystallizes slowly. As a midwife, you know that until a certain amount of time, nothing is a lock, the body decides how things are going.

    On the other side of the continuum, is a sperm cell not alive? I'm not being Monty Python-ironic. If you've ever watched spermatozoa under a microscope, you know that there is drive and personality there. Why does everything have to be so fertilization-dominated?

    But for a fluke of chance, either one of your kids could have been twins or not there at all. It's a universe of splitting probabilities. You live in one sum of possibilities. Say the Serenity Prayer, about accepting what you can't change anyway, and get on with it. Regarding both abortions, I don't think you did anything wrong. Again, if any "religious leader" or doctor lectured me on past choices, I would tell them to shove it.

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  3. Sharing your pain is the bravest and most compassionate thing you can do. By writing this, you could be saving another confused woman from experiencing the same regret and sadness you now live with. I commend you for your courage, and pray that you will find healing in God's mercy. There are universal truths, right and wrong, black and white. Not everything is "relative." You are right- all life IS sacred. Don't be afraid to keep sharing just because you hear negative responses. Some people are just in their own pain. God bless you for standing up and speaking for the unborn!

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  4. Kristopher:

    ...because without fertilization, an egg or sperm alone would not develop into a human being.

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  5. Kai
    I think the fact that you are posting this and sharing about it shows how much God has been working in your life, and how when we have accepted Christ, the slate is wiped clean, and God helps us to heal from those hurts in our past. I have been learning so much recently about how God wants to use our mess for His message, and God has been using, and will continue to use your story to support and encourage others. I love your heart and how openly and honestly you share.
    I love you!

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