Exactly one year ago I held a tiny, pink, wrinkly person in my arms. I remember his full curly head resting on my bosom and his tiny ‘o’ of a mouth homing in on a full, aching breast without opening his eyes to find it. I still remember effortlessly beating the sun to the next day, the shrill cries for attention penetrating the night. I could feel myself undoing and falling into emptiness more than I would like, but one year later I regret nothing.
The news was unexpected. I have always been driven. I have always climbed higher on the ladder than voiced anticipations told me to. I have always prioritised preparedness. What I was not ready for was the second pink line manifesting itself on each of 4 pregnancy tests after a week of nausea and spotting heralded a significant change to my body.
My husband yelped excitedly. I sat on my bed and held my head in disbelief. I was not ready to become a mother. But one year later I still regret nothing.
I don’t live in the U.S.A. but the decision New York has made to expand their abortion law to late term abortion has me reeling. Some who once argued to distinguish the importance of a baby’s life by terminology and trimester, expecting us to turn a blind eye from killing a fully formed human is chilling. It is a reminder that the more allowances we advocate is the closer to chaos we will get and the less egregious that chaos will appear. Does life matter to them as much as they claim? Consider putting a feeling, reacting, aware living thing through purposeful anguish to deliberate death. Where is our humanity?
I have always been anti-abortionist. This is influenced by my Christianity but also by my inability to fathom much more to voluntarily destroy someone who could some day live a life much like the ones we value so much.
Sometimes atrocious things happen. Sometimes women are assaulted and they get pregnant. Sometimes they experience gutting diagnoses for them and their babies. What do we do then? We will all try to make the best decision and hopefully that one involves saving the most lives.
One might say our own bodies have been set up against us. By fourteen most of us enter a bloody cycle that can range from a mild inconvenience to a vicious beast of agony eating us alive.
The reality is, that in a sexual exchange, the woman bears the potential physical consequences of an unprotected (and sometimes protected) encounter. Some would say that abortion gives women the right to redeem themselves from all the ways an unanticipated baby could rob them of liberties. I would say the odds are already stacked against us, let’s not add another one.
I am not trying to oversimplify abortion here. But I have seen women who have been raped find the strength to give birth and even keep the child. There are medical diagnoses that spur women to somehow spur women to sacrifice their lives so that their children can live. I have seen patience and endurance cultivated in women who were sure that their baby would have an impossibly difficult life. Science Fiction author Nalo Hopkinson unveils unparalleled strength in her novel Midnight Robber. The protagonist Tan Tan has the odds stacked against her. After her father kidnaps her she grows up in an abusive household where she is continuously raped by a man who should have loved her unconditionally. Her reputation tarnished and livelihood uncertain, her future unsure and her constant battle with trauma should suffice for her to rid herself of the baby growing inside her. Nevertheless, she does not even consider the thought. She eventually brings the child to fruition and there is never an echo of regret as the novel closes in undeniable purpose. How many stories so close to home resemble this for us?
One thing we are all terribly underestimating is the tenacity of the creation called a woman. People trivialise pregnancy yet it is no small feat. I am entirely aware of how the process of pregnancy literally jeopardises two lives. Until that baby arrives anything can happen. Conditions pop up unexpectedly. If we can pummel through ten months to carry a living thing, we can bring it into the world.
The world is a cruel place but it is also full of spectacular beauty. Ending a child’s life robs it of the possibility of inevitably experiencing both. Instead of thinking of the many who come from broken situations and live defeated lives, focus on those who emerged from the brokenness like butterflies. We don’t know which one an unborn child can experience until he or she is given a chance.
Pregnancy will challenge you to exceed fears you thought insurmountable. We face fibroids and PCOS and endometriosis and hostile wombs and cysts and diabetes and depression and exhaustion and a long, long, long list of potential and existing conditions. For generations women have silently found fortitude to break their own limitations even though there was often no sound of applause coaxing us on at the end. The severe pain of labour is often equated with the breaking of several bones. We have the ability to find it somewhere in us to get through severity and then we have the ability to shepherd new generations to do the same.
We have more backbone than this.
I overcame my fear of needles. Gritted my teeth through my medical conditions. Went grudgingly to every consultation with the disagreeable speculum. Held my breath at each concerning moment. Cried at the first ultrasound when I saw my baby displaying his footballer potential. Held on the best I could through delivery. Leaned on my husband through it all. Thanked Jesus through it all. I regret nothing.
There are so many things we tell ourselves we couldn’t do, pregnancy and motherhood stretch you in a way that inform you of how much you can. They generate a love in you that urges you to sacrifice, to pain and sometimes to war. War against selfishness, war against fear, war against helplessness, war against brokenness, war against false perceptions, war against what is wrong. These things strengthen us unto resilience. Women are stronger than this.
I’m still tired all the time, but watching my beautiful, strong, clever, charismatic little boy spout into childhood is worth it all. Not every woman wants children. But there are kinder ways out than injecting a baby with poison. Please give the baby to a goodly family if you don’t want it. Reach out to someone willing to help. Call somebody who holds hope for the potential of the little life. Please be strong enough to be kind.A woman’s role in facilitating living is one of the best kind of miracles.
When you see that little face looking up at you, you will know he or she used to be a tenant inside of you. You will know that there was so much wonder in the fired punches and kicks on your mid-section. A drum with a rhythm almost like a heartbeat. A distinct wobble that proclaims “I’m here mommy!”
Women are often compared to delicate things like flowers but perhaps God has also made us of steel. There is so much unspoken mettle in there. You were made to handle menses and marriage and creating miracles and moulding them into men and women. And so, so much more! How heavy is a mother’s charge! But doable and rewarding. I hope that when faced with the choice you would choose to embrace it. I pray that in those moments of love you can hang on tightly in gratitude and I hope that even in those tough moments you will still be able to say: I regret nothing.