Even in the best of circumstances—having access to good healthcare, financial stability, and a committed spouse to share in parenting responsibilities—bringing a child into the world can seem overwhelming. And only the woman bears the physical discomfort and pain of nine months of pregnancy and a painful delivery and recovery. Oh, and did I mention the shifting hormones, postpartum depression, and breastfeeding? Childbirth is not for the faint of heart.
It’s no wonder that most women feel that the legal right to abortion gives them freedom. Especially in a world where they are rarely given the help they need to successfully parent.
Yet, I wonder if we could shift our paradigm regarding how we value life—everyone’s life—the mother’s, the father’s, the unborn infant’s, and all the rest of us in our willingness to help one another succeed. To step back and take a longer view of the consequences of ending a life legally at will. Of course, there are situations where that may be necessary—to protect the life of the mother, when the infant will not be viable, or when rape or incest have occurred.
My views are not popular, at least I don’t hear them much in the media, and I doubt they will be published here. But they come from my lived experience. About thirty years ago, I was expecting my third child when, several months into the pregnancy, I began to bleed. A trip to the hospital confirmed that my baby’s heart was no longer beating, and I underwent a D&C to remove my child from my womb.
As my husband and I drove home, we stopped at a red light, and on the car in front of me was a bumper sticker advocating for abortion. I felt physically sick to think that the devastating loss I was feeling could ever be seen as a positive outcome or solution.
Now, many years later, I am dying of cancer. I managed to give birth to four children. Raising them was not easy, but they have filled my life with joy and love. And now they are caring for me as my physical condition worsens. My heart is full of gratitude that I had the freedom and help to give birth to my children.
I believe every woman should have that right. And if she is not able to raise her child, for whatever reason, we should have enough compassion to step in and help. Yes, there is discomfort in pregnancy and delivery. But shouldn’t we be willing to bear it to allow the unborn, who cannot speak for themselves, to live? We often tend to jump to the easiest solution rather than the best one.
Salt Lake City, Utah