Sep 052010

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I am in my mid-fifties. I have two beautiful daughters and a wonderful husband. I have had two miscarriages and three abortions since I was in my mid twenties.

This is what I have told my daughters when they were at appropriate stages of maturity and curiosity:

The first time I got pregnant (late 70′s) ten years of multiple partners and drug abuse, and impending divorce made abortion at three weeks the only option. Determining the father would have been impossible. Congenital damage was almost certain. Lacking basic survival skills and expecting no support from my extremely conservative and fanatically religious family, I had doubts about my own survival. In the proces of bettering myself, I discovered the guilt and misery I was experiencing was not only controllable, but even expendable. Eventually, I chose to examine their sources and eliminate everything detrimental based on superstition in my life.

Over the next few years, I grew up, got straight, found my soul mate and my self esteem. Two months before we were to be married, we discovered that, in spite of our careful adherence to contraceptive regimes, I was pregnant. He was willing to have the child, but he allowed me to make the decision as it was, after all, my body. Although I had finally regained some respect from my family, I knew from other family members’ experience that a child out of wedlock would be the last straw. I could not submit a child or my husband-to-be to the anger and meaness which would follow the rest of our lives. Again, I do not regret the decision at three weeks to abort the embryo, although I have always kept the idea of that child close in a very private corner of my heart a very small relapse into superstition, I will admit.

The third time I got pregnant, we were actively trying to have a child. I miscarried a molar fetus at 6 weeks. This is a fairly common situation in which cell developement is, for any of a number of reasons which are impossible to determine and thus termed natural, mutated to produce a ball of overgrown cells which cannot form anything human. I had never heard of it then, and was horrified at the sight and saddened by the loss, but with my husband’s help, I moved on.

Next came my oldest child. Even though I endured 17 hours of the most excrutiating pain I have ever felt, her birth and all that has come after have been the most glorious experience of my life.

When we began trying to have a second child, at three months I miscarried again, same problem. This time I had researched the whole childbearing business a lot better, so understood and coped a lot better. Unfortunately, this time we had already told everyone we were expecting, so the loss was greater, but so was the support. I realized, though, that other people gave it a lot more importance thn I did. I began paying more attention to other people’s experiences with abortion and miscarraige, trying to understand why people handle one or the other or both so differently.

My sixth pregnancy resulted in another beautiful, healthy child whose smile makes the sun seem pale and gives us a new reason to live every day.

We had made a very carefully considered decision to have only two children, so when we foolishly slipped during a celebration of an important event, we agreed there was no question about having having another. I aborted as soon as possible. Again, there has been no regret.

Where would the first embryo be? Or the second, third, fifth, seventh? I do not speculate. I am proud to be raising two amazing daughters who know they are loved and who have the potential to do wonderful things in their own lives. The best thing I canpass to them from my experiences is the knowledge to help them make good choices, and the freedom from guilt that comes from living in a real world, not one buried in superstition. The crucial choice in any life is not about sex or abortion, but about the thoughts each person allows themself.

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