Me, three days before Zoe's birth. Whew! LOL!
I read a fantastic post on Egregious Twaddle last week that reminded me of some troubling things I noticed last year while I was pregnant.
Right around the time I was letting the office know I was preggers, a few other staff members announced they or their spouse was, too. We joked about the water, and an office baby shower was planned. The bosses lamented the months when the department would be without so many.
Behind the scenes, I noticed how each of our pregnancies, and by extension, our babies, was viewed so differently by various blabbering coworkers. At 29, and married for over two years, me having Z was a great thing. The only damper was my neuro issues, but they were dismissed as my belly grew.
For another expecting first time mom, things were markedly different. In her early 40's and married, her pregnancy was a complete surprise. She had been told by doctors throughout the previous decade she couldn't have kids. She didn't even know she was pregnant until she was three months along. She considered it a miracle. Some chattering coworkers did not. She was too old and a diabetic. Her little girl might be a problem.
For one couple, they're unplanned pregnancy was disastrous. He worked in our office part time, while she worked a minimum wage job that was going nowhere. They were young, unmarried and living separately with family. He was nearly finished with college, and a kid would throw all that off. She didn't want another abortion. He didn't like it, but definitely didn't want to be a dad yet. Their child was, without a doubt, in the minds and mouths of the chattering coworkers, a big problem.
While I realized there was definitely difficulties in each of our circumstances, I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea that these babies, who hadn't done a lick of wrong, were... wrong. They were... them. Separate from neuro issues, diabetes and college credits. Why did Z being in utero warrant celebration, but the other babies, silence or even disappointment?
Baby Z in utero
On Egregious Twaddle, Joanne McPortland contemplates the mental gymnastics a person goes through when it comes to pregnancy these days:
Listening to MSNBC, Planned Parenthood, and other devout partisans of the new American sacrament of abortion rant about the reignited War on Women (if I have to hear Rachel Maddow repeat, grim frown in place, “THE GOP IS FORCING WOMEN TO BEAR THEIR RAPISTS’ BABIES!!!” one more time . . .), one claim stands out: No man has a right to tell a woman what to do with her body. Funny thing is, it’s a claim with which I agree 100%, even when I’m not crazy about some of the things we women choose to do with our bodies. Wanna get a tattoo, acquire Barbie boobs, paralyze your wrinkles away, have your stomach stapled, wax yourself as smooth as a bowling lane all over, have your fat cells vacuumed out, get more back than you were genetically endowed with, buy a new nose, ditch that old appendix? Go to, ma’am. As long as you’re an informed adult, it’s between you and your doctor / aesthetician / inker / beautician, and maybe your shrink if the problem’s not really physical.
But when it comes to abortion, it’s not only—in fact, not even largely, except in cases of a pregnancy’s causing an imminent threat to your health—your body we’re talking about. It’s the body of a child, a unique human person made up of two people’s DNA, yours and a man’s. That’s the thing nobody will talk about. I’m not even going to get into the whole gestational age thing, or talk about potentiality, or even speak here of my Church’s teaching (and that of basic biology) that a human life begins at conception. I’m not even going to go anywhere near the absolute disconnect in this country that leads us to believe that it’s defunding Planned Parenthood, and not having unprotected sex, that results in “unplanned” pregnancies. The point is, once you are pregnant, it’s not your body alone that’s involved.
... One thing science hasn’t done, though, is validate the notion that an unborn child is part of a woman’s body, with no independent life or genetic profile of its own... A fetus that has implanted itself in the womb (at the very least) is not a piece of stray tissue, a lump of cellulite. Something that is a child when desperately wanted does not become a disposable body part when it is desperately unwanted.
In all the arguing, I’d just like somebody to admit that reality. I am not among those who think it would be right for my Church’s understanding of the beauty and wonder of God’s gift of sexuality to be made the law of the land, with punishments incurred for those that violate it. I would love, as Mitt Romney said (and was immediately branded as an extremist and misogynist for so doing), to have a consensus in this country that abortion was regrettable, and to have in place systems that would assure no woman ever felt she had to kill a child in order to live. That’s a big wish, but I’ll settle for people simply admitting that when we’re talking about terminating a pregnancy, we are talking about ending a unique human life to which both a man and a woman contributed equally. We should be having a conversation (all of us, left and right, Republican and Democrat, men and women, religious and atheist) about when, if ever, that’s the right decision to make—not denying that that’s the decision at all. (emphasis mine, adf)