When I found out I was pregnant with my fifth child, my first words were, “Oh my god, NO!” I was alone in the bathroom while my husband was at a conference, and all I could think about was how my life was ruined.
I texted my brother and asked him not to tell our mother yet because I was debating whether I should keep it or not. He sent back a “wrap it up” meme and I laughed, but from the inside I was panicking.
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I sent a message to a friend, then several friends.
I waited impatiently at the door for my husband’s call to end, and when he opened it, I practically threw the test to him. I can not remember exactly what happened – except that there were many tears and he held me while I sobbed in his arms.
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“I’m sorry I was selfish,” he said.
You see, I’ve been trying for years to get him to get a vasectomy. I was sick of hormonal birth control, sick of being the one in charge of birth control, sick of being the one watching my ovulation, sick of the burden of not getting pregnant, only on my shoulders if he was an equal partner in the relationship. I was on hormonal birth control for a decade before I had children, and it was only when I was off that I realized that the hormones were wreaking havoc on my emotional state.
There was no manner I went back to that.
“I know how babies are made,” I replied.
And it’s true. I do.
I had 4 pregnancies and live births. I have written numerous articles on pregnancy, fertility and women’s health. I was a major in microbiology and molecular genetics at university. I follow my ovulation religiously and also know the signs of it in my body.
I always knew I was pregnant either before a missed period or days after. Always.
This pregnancy was not a surprise. We both knew the risks of unprotected sex – especially after I remembered I was ovulating. However, after more than five years of the same fright (look, you can know all these things and also be stupid and lazy) and had false alarms, we became complacent.
I became complacent.
So imagine my sadness then about a week after I had unprotected sex, my nipples were sore and I was so exhausted that I fell asleep twice before 8:30 p.m.
I took a pregnancy test two days before my expected menstruation and it was negative. The sigh of immediate relief (though, accompanied by a slight sting of disappointment) ran through my entire body.
Of course, I thought of having a fifth child.
I love babies – children not so much – but I recognize that children are the natural consequence of babies. My husband worships our children and considers them the best thing we have ever done (or will ever do). We are financially and emotionally able to have another child. And yes, the thought of having another fat, plump baby to cuddle and suck and hold on to was enticing.
But, I also only recently reclaimed my life from 4 back-to-back pregnancies. Before this pregnancy I was already 3 years pregnant and I have been nursing for over 9. I will be 44 years old in two months and already have four other children aged 12, 10, 8 and 5.
My body is tired. I is tired.
So when I had a positive pregnancy test 4 days after my period was supposed to start, I was very upset. More so, I was terrified.
I would turn the clock back on when I would have physical autonomy without being tied to a little person who needs so much. I realize it’s my job and function as a parent to provide for this – and also, my freedom will be severely curtailed and I mourn that inevitability. They can both be true at the same time.
I will love my husband forever and appreciate what he said to me after I finished crying. He said he’s okay if I do not like it – that he will support me.
We discussed this in detail and decided we would most likely choose to continue with the pregnancy.
Roe v. Wade: Why am I telling you my story.
What if my husband do not have was so supportive?
What if I did not live in California, where it is legal to be 10 weeks pregnant to have a medical abortion (drug abortion) and 24 weeks for a surgical abortion?
What if I did not have regular conversations with my husband and our children about abortion? (Yes, we have discussed this topic with my children many times – and in fact, when we told them about my pregnancy, I told them we might not like to normalize abortion.)
What if I still experienced the effects of my Christian and sex-negative education regarding pregnancy and sex? What if I feel ashamed to even consider an abortion?
What if I could not afford to have this baby, did not have adequate health care, or did not have a large network of people to help me?
I know that as soon as this article is published, I will receive hate emails and death threats, because that is what happens every time I, a woman of color, publish an article that the establishment does not like. People will call me all sorts of common names and threaten to report me to Child Protection Services (CPS).
But I also know that I have a great privilege in where I live, to be able to support this baby financially with my other children, to have excellent health care, and in the fact that our existence does not depend on me being in the good grace of public opinion.
I’m tell you my story because I’m confident I’m not the only person who’s tired. I am not the only one who has children and has considered abortion, even though I am financially and emotionally able to carry a baby.
I’m tell you my story because I’m sick of people dying.
People who can get pregnant shall die.
Finally, the result of the overthrow of Roe v. Wade that people who did not need to die due to lack of a medical procedure, shall.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 930,000 abortions was conducted in the U.S. in 2020, of which more than 1 in 3 were obtained in the 26 states that will or are likely to ban abortion. 13 of these states have “trigger” laws in place so that within days or hours after Roe v. Wade was overthrown, ban set automatically.
“Evidence also shows the disproportionate and unequal impact that abortion restrictions have on people who are already marginalized and oppressed,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Guttmacher Institute’s president and CEO, said in a recent statement. “Including Black and Brown communities, other people of color, low-income people, young people, LGBTQ communities, immigrants and people with disabilities.”
The overthrow of Roe v. Wade is not about states’ rights. It is about terrorizing our communities with the threat of maternal death, lost wages, disability due to complications during pregnancy and shame.
And let’s be real. The overthrow of Roe v. Wade does not stop abortions for the privileged. Those who have access to money and networks will always have options with unwanted or life-threatening pregnancies; it is unacceptable that someone with fewer privileges and less access would not do so.
I will be honest.
I did not want to tell people that I had considered aborting this pregnancy, except that I refused to live in shame or hide. I refuse to contribute to the further stigmatization of a completely reasonable option for a pregnant person, no matter what that reason may be.
If you are pregnant or could become pregnant, you deserve the option to terminate a pregnancy easily. I know my story is not terribly dramatic or exciting – except that it’s exactly why it’s important. Abortion not need to be dramatic or exciting. This is just. If my story could be one small pebble that joins all the other pebbles that are rippling around the world to make abortion legal, safe and normal, it would have been worth all my discomfort.
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