Recently a column in ODN by Stuart Syme discussed a very personal subject, that of abortion, and the policy of various countries’ legality of obtaining the procedure. Such a subject can never be resolved as we all have our own beliefs on the rights and wrongs of the process.
My immediate gut reaction is that any stage in a pregnancy means you are carrying a child, not a foetus, not a blob but a child.
At nineteen I found myself pregnant and unmarried but, immediately the news was shared with my boyfriend’s family, arrangements were made for a wedding. No ifs, ands or butts, the matter was taken out of our hands and we were marched up the aisle, with me wearing my blue dress of the sullied bride, no white lace for the sinner! My own mother was so ashamed that she ignored the whole event and didn’t speak to me until after the birth, didn’t attend the wedding and didn’t even send a card of acknowledgement. Luckily Dave’s parents were more liberal and took me under their wing as if I was their own daughter. We struggled for many years but fifty five years later we are still together with four children, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
How different would my life had been if I hadn’t had the support of my wonderful in-laws and a partner who thought that marrying was the right thing to do.
I can’t imagine going through with a pregnancy if I hadn’t had such support, if the father had denied any responsibility in raising a child, if I had been alone to cope with the future. In 1964 abortions, if obtainable in England were certainly not mentioned, I would have had no knowledge of how to obtain a termination and, most likely would have had to obtain an illegal procedure if I had to go that route.
My husband’s sister also found herself pregnant several months later, she had an illegal abortion, nearly died in the process and was in hospital, recovering when our first daughter was born. Although I found her parents so wonderfully supportive of me, she was too scared to tell them she was pregnant and nearly died by having a termination. This young lady was of sterner stuff than I and, when she married several years later, it was in a white dress with all the bells and whistles, and why not? I only wish I could have been of sterner stuff and had insisted on a white wedding, but I was just glad to get it over with.
My personal thoughts have always been against abortion, but when an unwanted pregnancy arose in my family I kept my feelings to myself and was relieved that the family member had the choice. Would it have been my choice, no but I put up no resistance to the idea. Years later I wonder how she feels about her decision as a teenager, does she wonder about the child she could have had? Probably she does but I have never mentioned it, it was her decision to make and live with and I hope she is at peace with that.
Why should anyone interfere with a woman’s choice to bear or not to bear children? Such a personal decision should be left to the woman and her doctor. Unwanted pregnancies will always be with us, it is a very sad fact but I truly feel the choice should be left with the woman. I believe that government and public opinion has no place in this matter.
I am so very thankful that I never had this decision to make for myself. Every time I look at my eldest daughter, my heart is filled with love. This wonderful human being was once a blob, a foetus who could have been washed down a drain, instead she brings joy to all who know her. Thankyou God for the support I received so I never had to make this awful choice.
I am truly blessed.