Monday, January 24, 2005

Unhappy Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, which if not the stupidest Supreme Court decision, easily ranks in the top 5 stupidest Supreme Court decisions. I will now add my comments to those of the rest of the blogosphere, for whatever they're worth (no refunds!!)

I have polycystic ovaries, and I don't have periods or even cycles. Unlike most women with polycystic ovaries, however, every couple of years I suddenly have three perfectly normal cycles and can get pregnant. During most of those times I have gotten pregnant, and I cannot get pregnant except at those times. So far I've had three children and been pregnant four times (#3 miscarried at six weeks). I know a lot of people think that's TMI, but they can all stuff it because nobody's making them read this blog post, and it's important background to the opinion that follows.

Because of my fertility problems, I'm inclined to think of pregnancy as a gift from God and a blessing. I am one of the lucky ones to have been blessed so much. Many other women out there have to have medical treatments before they get pregnant, and many cannot get pregnant at all.

Pregnancy is traditionally a time for a mother-to-be to engage in reflection on her upcoming role as a mother. By going through the process of bringing another generation into being, she connects with her ancestors and all the women who have gone before her. By being a vessel of life, she touches the ancient feminine mysteries. Or, at least, the thought that pregnancy has a higher meaning makes the stretch marks and varicose veins a little bit more tolerable-- it certainly has worked for me. Pregnancy, like all other life experiences, can be either a royal pain-in-the-rear disruption of what we selfishly want to do, or a divine experience that teaches us something transcendent. It all depends on how we choose to see it.

I have not always "connected" with my babies before birth, but I definitely knew from the moment I was pregnant that something special and unusual was happening to me. I have felt chosen and joyful, even though I have shed many tears over some of the details, like the financial problems Bagel caused, or giving birth to Sonshine during the semester I was supposed to have finished my thesis, or having to go on Medicaid with Tiny Princess' pregnancy because we got pregnant in the two-week window between health coverages. Each time I had a choice, I chose to approach my pregnancy in a mature way and accept the consequences, and I believe these experiences have helped me become a better person. This maturing process has done more to develop my character than finishing my thesis on time or having a larger house or better health insurance could ever have done for me.

When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I cried because it was not happening the way I had wanted it to. But then I realized that having a baby is not like having a wedding. You don't get to select whatever details you want as long as they fit in your budget. You don't choose the way your pregnancy will be; rather, the pregnancy chooses you. Having babies, even planned babies, is never easy or convenient, but it is very special and worth it.

So when I see women who want to see a pregnancy as just a piece of flesh, I am terribly offended. The whole idea of pregnancy is to transcend your role as a mere person and act as a vessel of life. Having an abortion is like deliberately drilling a hole in the bottom of the vessel of life and drowning all aboard. What kind of sick person would do that? Who would want to put her name on the list of volunteer vessels by having consensual sex, then reject the opportunity when she discovers she's been chosen? Who would want to be unchosen and go back to being a mere selfish person, just because she can't be chosen at the exact time and in the exact manner that she had imagined? Who would think she was proving herself to be an adult by rejecting adult responsibility in favor of a childish attachment to a particular lifestyle?

It is really difficult to shock or offend me; I've seen just about every kind of thing there is to see, I've heard it all, I've lived a bunch of it. But abortion both shocks and offends me. I can watch Law & Order: SVU and go to bed and sleep at night knowing there are sickos out there who would actually do that sort of thing to children; but I cannot read articles like this one all the way through, because after a while I just get nauseated.