Recently, I read this and it resonated with me. The author and I have similar backgrounds and I, too, once thought my Republican voting record proved me to be pro-life. For me, it was all about the baby and in my mind's eye, the woman deserved any post-abortive fall out she may experience.
I've become more moderate about a lot of things in my old age. For one, I look at abortion as a tragedy for both mother and baby. I can empathize with moms who feel trapped by impossible choices.
I used to virtually stalk a message board on Baby Center that was entitled, "Termination for Medical Reasons." I knew that the number one "medical reason" to terminate a pregnancy is Down syndrome. I was hoping to reach out to an undecided woman and share my story, give her up to date information, and show her that life with Down syndrome is a life worth living. While I did contact many women, very few responded, and, to my knowledge, none chose life.
I remember reading post after post about the experience and fall out. At first, I was horrified. Because of the lateness of the pregnancies, many of them chose to have labor induced at twenty to twenty-three weeks of pregnancy and to deliver their babies so they could hold them and say goodbye.
They called their babies "angels" and they grieved deeply.
It took me a very long time to respond with compassion in my heart. All I could think of were those innocent little lives taken at the will of the one who was supposed to love them most. And, I took it personally. If they thought their babies didn't deserve life, then it meant they thought mine didn't either. It stung. And made me angry.
But there is no denying the fact that those babies are at peace and their mothers are decidedly not.
According to the posts I read, they struggled when they returned to work and someone asked them about the baby. They struggled with the secrecy and having to say they "lost the baby," out of fear of judgment if someone discovered the truth. They struggled with the noticeable pregnancies of strangers and with baby shower invitations and family outings. They struggled with depression and guilt and "what might have been" and loss.
These women are hurting and that hurts me, too. It's a tragedy, all the way around. A loss is a loss...no matter the cause. It's still hard for me to admit that, but I know it's true.
I get to sit on this side and enjoy my boys. I get to melt into Eon's bear hugs and laugh at Bo's antics. I get to celebrate them and read them stories and kiss them good night. I get to tickle their toes and run their baths. I get to grow old with them. I am blessed.
I have no right to sit in judgment of those who believed the medical establishment when told, "it is for the best"; those who experienced the same fear I did, once upon a time; those who could not imagine the joy and satisfaction in the life I now lead; those who convinced themselves it was the best decision for their baby.
Those left simply with an ache and not a child.
They are victims and, while I know they so desperately wish to think themselves heroes, victims they remain, bound to a choice they made during an unbelievably vulnerable and terrifying time. While I mourn for their children, I mourn with them, too.