I Vote Pro-Choice, But I’m A Personally Pro-Life Mom

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pro-life momWhen I was in my early 20s, I was completely pro-choice with zero understanding of pro-lifers. Although I had women’s rights in mind, another primary, albeit callous, reason for thinking this way was because it would keep the human population in check. I also figured that if I got pregnant before I was married, I may very likely have an abortion, too.

Then it happened: I did get pregnant before I was ready.

I remember being 21 and going to the doctor thinking I had the flu. I’d been vomiting for three days straight, unable to go to work, barely able to get out of bed. I wasn’t sick, and as a last effort to diagnose me, they had me take a pregnancy test. Despite my being on birth control, I was pregnant. On my drive home, I didn’t know if I would get married to the baby’s father, go back to school or continue serving tables. But I did know that there was no way I was aborting the baby. It was just a gut feeling, a primal necessity to hold on to this little life that I was already eager to meet.

Calling my parents and telling them I was pregnant out of wedlock was the most nerve wracking thing I’ve ever done. My mom’s visceral response was a horrified gasp, and my dad’s was to ask, “are you safe?” And being the eldest child, disappointing them was and will always be my worst nightmare (even knowing they may read this sends me into panic mode). But this is the very reason I know now that from a personal standpoint I’m pro-life. Instead of terminating the pregnancy and remaining in my parent’s good graces, I decided to keep the baby at the risk of losing my family’s respect.

Things very slowly got better. My parents even came and sat in the doctor’s office while my boyfriend and I went to our 12-week ultrasound. Once we were settled in the room, the image on the screen, an empty black hole, confused me. I thought the doctor needed to prod around more, that she just wasn’t good with the machine or something. I listened as the doctor said matter-of-factly that the embryo must not have developed. After I dressed and we left the room, my parents were smiling and awaiting good news. When I told them, their faces fell. My boyfriend and I spent the rest of the day walking around silently at the zoo, trying to make sense of our feelings.

Even though I’d never intended to be pregnant, I grieved for the lost baby and the hopes I’d had. It wrecked my relationship—my boyfriend and I broke up just months later. And it still chills me to remember the baby gifts from my sister (who had both celebrated and grieved with me): three Dr. Seuss books that I wound up donating to Goodwill.

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