A sensitive subject

The doctor walked into the small office and sat down at his desk. I tried to read his thoughts, but he gave nothing away. He returned my stare with a blank one of his own. My wife and I were both in our early 30s and she was pregnant with our second child. The doctor had run several prenatal tests on my wife and the baby and one of the scores came back higher than the doctor liked.

To clear things up, he completed a procedure where he used a thin needle to remove a small amount of fluid from the sac surrounding the baby. The fluid is often successful in diagnosing chromosomal and genetic issues.

Amniocentesis is estimated to give a definitive result in 98 to 99 out of every 100 women having the test. However, it cannot test for every condition and, in a small number of cases, it’s not possible to get a conclusive result. As our luck would have it, we fell into the that small percentage in no-man’s land.

The doctor looked at us and then back down at the paper in front of him. He was hoping that the test would give us a better sense of what to expect. He couldn’t: The baby could be perfectly fine or it may not even survive childbirth. My wife and I left the office frustrated and confused. We were devastated. We were heading directly into hurricane-like winds with nothing more than a small umbrella to protect us.

When we got home, we checked on our daughter, a toddler at the time, and then ran to our corners. My wife stayed downstairs, I fled upstairs, until later in the evening when we came back together. We knew that we had to get everything off our chest and express our deepest worries. We cried some, talked some more, and even prayed for guidance.

We looked at our future, from both a best case and worst case lens. When we were done late that night, we decided to keep the pregnancy going. We were adamant about pushing forward to the end. We knew that our love for our baby was endless, no matter what happened. Of course, our son was born and was a normal healthy boy. The original test was a simple irregularity.

Some may think that our story proves that I’m Pro-Life and support the recent Supreme Court ruling. They would be wrong.

Our situation

We were fortunate. We were a young, but growing family, with plentiful resources. If there were significant issues, we had extended family that we could count on to support us. We both had good jobs and were on solid financial footing. We knew where to turn for help. Finally, we were in love and viewed our relationship as a partnership. We had each other’s back.

However, we saw many other mothers-to-be in the hospital who weren’t so fortunate. They came from broken homes. They didn’t have spouses or significant others or even other family members attending doctor’s appointments with them. They weren’t living happily-ever-after, love stories. I couldn’t be sure but one mother in our labor and delivery class looked like she was just getting by.

Yes, yes, we were having our baby “come hell or high water.” Anyone who knows my wife knows that that question was never in doubt, but, that’s us, that was our decision. As crazy as it may sound to some people, I don’t think my wife’s and my choice in how we handled our situation, should be thrust upon someone else as the law. I wouldn’t want that to happen to me, I don’t think it should be that way for others.

A supreme mess

I believe the Supreme Court with its recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has ventured into questionable territory. On one hand, the court is trying to control women and how they live their lives, but cares little about controlling the threat of violence based on their recent gun rulings.

(In 2020 alone, more than 45,000 Americans died from a gunshot, whether by homicide or suicide, more than any other year on record. The figure represents a 25% increase from the previous five years, and a 43% increase from 2010, according to the Pew Research Center. By comparison, the gun death rate in the U.S. is much higher than in most other nations, particularly developed nations, but is still far below the rates in several Latin American countries, including Venezuela and El Salvador.)

I’m all for hunting and gun rights, but you can’t overlook those numbers, especially around assault weapons. You can’t hide them under a rock and forget about them. We have a problem and young children are caught in the crosshairs.

Are you a hypocrite?

But back to the issue at hand: the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. I’m bothered by the hypocritical nature of the issue. I hear the Pro-Life claims that abortion is murder. They claim life is sacred. We would disagree on when life happens, but for the sake of their argument, I’ll agree that life is sacred. Why then do many of these same people react harshly against immigrants running for their lives? Isn’t the immigrant’s life sacred too? Or, you’ll hear many of these same folks talking about the need to bring back capital punishment or coming out against stable healthcare for the young and the aged. No, no, you don’t get to force your view that birth begins at conception and then treat every other life like it doesn’t matter. That’s Pro-Fetus, not Pro-Life.

Where’s this lead us?

I worry that we’re headed down a slippery slope, with both sides yelling at the other — white old men “mansplaining” to rape victims what they need to do and on the other side, pro-choice advocates so upset they forget the mothers they’re supposedly representing.

I fear for poor mothers forced to bring unwanted children into the world and then being abandoned at the first opportunity by society. And yes, before anyone goes there, I know that many churches and agencies exist to help young mothers, but there’s not enough of them, far from it.

Finally, I’m left with the thought that the Supreme Court has not outlawed abortions, it’s just changed the landscape, making it about control and influence. The wealthy will still have options, they’ll force their girlfriends and mistresses, and God forbid, their own children, to travel to other states to get an abortion. It’s the lil peasants on the street who will suffer. In the words of Marie-Antoinette, “Let them eat cake.”

It’s a tough issue and it’s not going to go away. It’s just gotten messier that’s all.  

11 thoughts on “A sensitive subject

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  1. Brian, you have put it all out there. You’ve explained exactly how difficult each decision is and how individual circumstances can make all the difference in the world. And why one group of self-righteous people shouldn’t be able to force someone they don’t even know, whose circumstances they don’t know and have no intention of helping, to carry a pregnancy to term. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Jane. I really appreciate your comments. I hope the piece works. I feel like it just touches the surface. It’s a tough issue to write about without resorting to name calling and gotcha mentality. I’ve seen so many examples of white males “mansplaining” the issue . . . I wanted to just try to tell my own story and how I got there. Thanks again for your feedback, means a lot.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Brian, I’ve loved this post for so many reasons. Firstly your own experience which you’ve spoke about strikes a chord as I am currently expecting and can’t imagine the heartache and pain that must have caused you!
    You really touched upon the matter of what’s currently going on with abortions very eloquently and smartly.
    I found your post to be informative, thought provoking and so truthful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Simone! We learned pretty quickly to live moment to moment and appreciate things. When I tell the story, people always assume they know our politics. I may be off-base, but I still consider myself to be Christian. We just never wanted to assume that our choice was the best one for everyone. Fortunately, it worked out for us. Thanks for letting me know the post touched you. And congratulations to you! What an exciting time. It’s hard (says the guy who had the easy job), but it’s also a wonderful time. Thinking of you on your journey!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Everybody has their own way of looking at and/or doing things. And we all need to respect each other’s. I personally commend you for staying strong and keeping the pregnancy going. So many people I knew were told that they were going to have an unhealthy child and God proved them wrong! Again, this doesn’t show that we need to keep a pregnancy when the circumstances don’t allow it for any reason but your particular situation is a great lesson for us all.
        Lol! Yes it’s certainly hard- and thank you for the comment about men having the easy time 😉 My husband goes to work with nothing but food in his belly while I carry this sweet thing which constantly tells me he’s here 😂
        I’m so blessed and grateful, no complaining!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Brilliantly written. I too chose to have my son when I became pregnant just a few months shy of 40. It was my choice. I did have amino just in case there was a problem I’d be prepared to handle it. Fortunately, he was healthy and turned out to be gifted. ( the data at the time said there was as much a chance for older moms to have highly gifted babies as there was for Down’s syndrome. So I went into the pregnancy thinking that my child would likely be in special classes. Either he would be brilliant or have special learning needs. And I’d knew I’d love him either way.

    Pregnancy is a decision for the mother to make. If I had been attacked or raped I don’t know if my choice would have been the same. Each individual female has to make that choice by herself.
    History shows us that no matter what the laws of the land say, women who don’t want a pregnancy will find a way to end it. Just like, if this particular Supreme Court bans interracial marriages or same sex marriages people will still love who they love. Laws can’t change human nature.
    I’m extremely disappointed that these judges chose not to honor the separation between church and state. As far as I’m concerned they let our country and women down. They are not medical doctors or therapists. And quite honestly this isn’t a decision for any man to make. Until the grow a uterus they should stop making decisions for women who have one.
    Thank you Brian for writing this lovely heartfelt post. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Lesley. As I mentioned I hope the piece presented my points in a straightforward way. I’ just simply tried to tell my wife and my story. And yes, I feel too that the Supreme Court let women down. I love how you phrased that. I would like to see men involved in the birth/abortion discussion. We may disagree there a bit. But there’s no question that this court, which loves personal rights, has taken away a woman’s right to live her life the way she sees fit. And not for a day or two but for nine months! (If the roles were reversed, if men were able to get pregnant, I suspect this issue would even exist.) Anyway, thank you for the input and feedback! It’s very much appreciated.

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      1. Actually, I think men should be involved too. My husband and I discussed everything. However, the final decision was up to me.

        I had just seen a video clip of Clarence Thomas speaking right before I responded to your post. His arrogance made me furious so my comment about men was directed at misogynistic men like Judge Thomas. I think couples should certainly discuss the pros and cons in a situation as complex as this. But in the end, if a woman is forced to carry a child for nine months that she doesn’t want, I would imagine that would be traumatic. Pregnancy is difficult enough when you are excited about it. But I can’t even fathom having to deliver a child after being raped. I feel lucky that my experiences were so positive. I was in love with my baby from the first kick.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “….However, the final decision was up to me.” As it should be!! We’re on the same page. I had my wife read my post before I published … I changed a few phrases. I needed her agreement in how I phrased things. It’s one thing for me to put my opinion out there as a guy, obviously something different for her. Thomas’ arrogance is infuriating! Rape, incest, health of the mother, doesn’t matter, just do what I say. No trust that a woman would know what’s best for her.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the feedback. I’ve written a variation of this piece countless times over the years. It’s been a tough one for me to get down on paper. I think in part, because there are so many different nuances and side threads. My two marching orders to myself were to avoid mansplaining (there’s been too much of that lately) and to keep it civil, that there are others on the other side, who aren’t all that different than me. I hope I was able to keep to those two ground rules. Thanks for stopping by!

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