Sep 062010

I am 75 years old. I was active in the early seventies’ feminist movement. I was married for 20 years and had six children, four in five years, and then two more four years later- twins. I was and am totally devoted to my children. It’s clear that you are a mother all your life, even with fifty year old children. I used to kid my husband that all we had to do was look at each other and I got pregnant. Despite using a diagphram, other contraceptive devices, we got pregnant and I never minded. I looked forward and loved the birth of all my children. Then my husband went through a mid-life crisis, rose to the level of his own incompetence in his chosen field, became terrified because he didn’t know who he was, so he left me and my children and totally ran away, never coming back into our lives.

I was just 41, single with six children. My first priority was, of course, my children, but I was still a vital young woman, at the height of her sexual desires. After my husband ran away I became involved in the woman’s movement and rather rapidly rose to a significant position, forming groups around the state and country, and going to conferences.

On my way to one of these national feminist conferences I had a stop over in an airport hotel for the night. I went to the bar, met a guy and we danced, drank, and I went back to his room for a one night stand. I had had no sexual encounters since my husband left, despite my desires which I always tempered by my concerns for my children. I figured it was OK this night. I was out of town, away from my kids, and felt I had a right to a bit of sexuality, which was very rare in my celibate life as a single mom of six kids.

On returning home from the confrerence I realized I was pregnant. As a mother of six and a feminist, there was absolutely no question in my mind that I would have an abortion. I arranged to have the abortion when I was to be out of town for a feminist meeting in another city. The counselor at the clinic laughed when I told her who I was and how stupid and silly I felt. A few hours after the abortion, which went fine, hurt a bit, but no big deal after six birthings, I went to my meeting with the feminists. I told the feminists at the meeting what I had just done and we rejoiced that the option was available to me.

I have never, ever, regretted my choice. And I am deeply grateful that I had the choice. How would I ever have raised a baby, whose father would have been the result of a one night stand, whom I really didn’t know at all, who was my first sexual encounter in two years since my husband left, when most of my own kids were teenagers? It’s maybe my tough luck that I got pregnant so easily in some ways, but getting pregnant that time in my one night stand was not the product of my sinning nature, or some sort of licentious, careless behaviour. I gave up a great deal of my sexuality for my kids, and I do not regret that at all, but it is wrong and pitiful to blame any woman who gives into sexuality, which is her right, or condemns her for promiscuous behaviour. Hell, what I did was normal and natural. And so was the abortion.

At 75 years of age, I still rejoice that that choice was available to me. And I want all young people to hear that I seldom if ever think about it, and when I do I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever. It was the completely, unequivocable right choice for who I was and where I was in my life and in my kids’ lives.

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