First of all, I just want to say, I know I’m not the only one. I have seen the angry posts and the detailed accounts from women who have actually had to make the horrifying decision to terminate a pregnancy in order to save their own lives. (Could you imagine that? Wow. But I’m sure each and every one of you would have sacrificed your own life for your unborn baby. Because you’re pro-life.)
Anyways, you must have been particularly shocked in the final presidential debate. This was quite possibly the first time you had even considered that the pro-life movement protects full-term, healthy babies from being “ripped out” of the uterus days before delivery. It must have puffed up your chests to learn that you were not only trying to save embryos…poor helpless embryos…but even fully-formed, completely healthy babies! Tarnation! What awesome dudes you are!
But let’s just never mind all of the problems associated with that kind of thinking. No, no. We won’t bother with the actual medical facts of late term abortions, because “ripping” a viable baby from the uterus of some demonic, nasty woman is a whole lot more inciting.
And it is in that vein that I wish to apologize to you for my own nasty, horrible, demonic behaviour. I could only wish that you…one of you kind-hearted, god-fearing, upstanding citizens of the world…could have been by my side as I wept with such nastiness upon learning, at 24 weeks gestation, that my son had agnathia-otocephaly complex. I mean, sure, he had a hole in his heart, no lower jaw bone, no trachea or esophagus, a tiny hole for a mouth and his ears were fused together in the middle of his neck.
But it’s not like the doctors told me that his condition was “incompatible with life” and that my options were to terminate now or watch him die later. Oh. No. Wait. That is exactly what they said.
In my defense, I did spend a moment…a fleeting moment…thinking that maybe I could carry to term, and he and I could just stay connected via umbilical cord. Indefinitely.
I really did consider all my options.
I wish that you could have been there for the days between diagnosis and termination. You probably would have fared a lot better under the weight of questions about gender, due date, what his name would be, whether he was kicking me at night while I tried to sleep.
He was a boy. Named Seamus. Due in April 2006. And he kicked me every night. All night.
Unlike me, you probably would have muscled through the final four months of pregnancy like a trooper. I can see you being so brave, as people offered to plan a baby shower and you had to say, “No. Not this time.” You are probably one of those people who would have lived each day to its fullest, while I tried to find a rock to hide under.
Me…I was weak. Every time he moved was a painful reminder that he would never move outside of my womb. Kicks felt like a knife’s edge. His tiny hands pressing up against my stomach felt like they could tear me open and leave me completely empty at any given moment. Words of congratulations were a slap in the face. Commercials for diapers were some sick conspiracy designed to remind me of my failure as a woman.
Then again, I’m Canadian. I’ve heard rumours that we are kind of weak. Non-people, even. Some people say I shouldn’t even care who is elected President of the U.S. But I do.
I probably shouldn’t even be offended by the continued reference to Roe v. Wade when there are now precedents like Heather v. Agnathia-otocephaly, Michelle v. Anencephaly, Krista v CDH, Lisa v. Holoprosencephaly. But I am. Deeply offended.
To anyone who honestly believes that being pro-choice equates to being a baby murderer, it can only mean that you or someone you love has never walked in my shoes or the shoes of any woman who endured a fatal prenatal diagnosis in late pregnancy. Hopefully, you never do.
But with all due respect, this has nothing to do with ripping a baby from a uterus. In fact, it felt a lot more like ripping my heart from my chest.