The New York Times has a blog called Motherlode, about various parenting issues, and earlier this year the blog’s author Lisa Belkin posted about a couple of unexpected pregnancies. One young woman, after some consideration, opted for abortion; the other opted to keep her child.
Several months after those decisions, Belkin today posted some afterthoughts, from both women.
The woman, named Emmie, who chose abortion:
So many people feel so sure about abortion. They know with a pillar-like certainty what is right and wrong. However, after having an abortion, I cannot say for sure where the moral line can be drawn, if there can be a line at all. I’m at peace with my decision, even if I occasionally linger over it as if I could pass through those moments again. I do not care if there is any fanfare or vindication. Without apology, I’d make the same decision again even if I always think “what if?”
So, to those who so bitterly asked if my graduate program was worth it, I’ll tell you now that it wasn’t. Even without the burden of an unintended pregnancy, I was miserable and bored at school. I ended up leaving the program. To those who warned me against men who make promises from a distance, I’ll let you know you were right. I’m engaged now, but not to the boy who fled to Chicago days before my procedure. I’m going to marry the man who was by my side the entire time, even as I spent weeks in and out of doctors’ offices and the hospital for serious complications.
I’ve picked up and moved hundreds of miles to a city with friends and family. I’m working as a teacher at an inner-city school and earning my Masters of Teaching. I adore my students. I am blessed with a strong, wonderfully dramatic mother-in-almost-law, a devoted fiancee, and a supportive family. I wouldn’t have the joy I have now if I were still pregnant.
Bringing a baby into the world unprepared, resentful, and overwhelmed wouldn’t have made me a good mother. My next child will know the love I have for my family, what I sacrificed to find happiness and complete my life before creating another one. I am a good mother, even if what was once a twinkling of an infant is now a microchimerism. This is what a good mother is: complicated by hard decisions in an unyielding world, nurturing and protective to the very end, sometimes confused but always confident in her stride.
The other young woman, named Liz, wrote:
I had the worst time with trying to get medicaid and after almost three months of calling and trying to find out what the problem was, I was denied medicaid. I had received loan money from school (which I, of course, have to pay back once done with school). And I found out through a medicaid specialist that loan money does not count as income in the medicaid process. Still, though, I was denied medicaid on those grounds; once I explained this, though, the person from the medicaid office never gave me a real reason. So that whole process was the worst of it all. So I’ve been making payments, with my parents and boyfriend’s help, towards my doctor bills. I also had problems in dealing with my parents and boyfriend, but, thankfully, those issues have worked themselves out.
I have been extremely blessed in other ways, though. I had been interning at a great company in my city, and once I told my boss my situation, he offered me a full-time position with benefits. So I’m able to have a decent income while I finish my last semester in school starting in a few weeks.
I can say now that I feel confident in my decision to keep my baby. When I had my ultrasound this past week, I was able to see his little face and body; it was then that I knew I’d made the best decision for me. Throughout these past 5 or so months, I really do feel like I’ve grown. I’ve had to grow up, become less selfish, and do things myself without depending on others. But I’ve been able to see how much I can withstand and still make it.
There is much more, from both women. Check it out.