I have two healthy beautiful children. I also have a lot of scars. I feel like I’ve been through it all. I spent years trying to conceive and stay pregnant long enough to have a healthy baby.
While I was (finally) pregnant with my daughter, I suffered through horrible pain from a fibroid that was a big as her. At 23 weeks, I wasn’t sure I could manage the pain, but there was no way I would ever let this pregnancy go or risk surgery to remove the fibroid. Not after all that I had done to get there. So I suffered and endured debilitating pain. At times that’s what it takes.
My son was conceived “spontaneously”. That was a gift/miracle and wonderful. Still, we both nearly died while I was in labor because his hand was the first part of his body to exit mine. I’m here to share this story with you thanks to my mother, who pushed me out the door to go to the hospital so we would arrive in time and excellent emergency work on the part of doctor and staff who operated. It’s a miracle.
I wanted one more child but it seemed that it wasn’t meant to be: I contracted CMV, later had an early miscarriage and then, at 42, felt time had run out. So I gave up. And then I was pregnant. We were happy and getting ready and made it through the first trimester. Sometime early in the second trimester we were informed that the fetus was not healthy. As we learned more, we discovered we would not be able to care for the child that would be born. We so wanted to meet him, but it was beyond our resources as a couple and as parents to manage what would be ahead of him, even with the resources the state would have provided. We made the difficult decision to terminate. Actually, in Israel, as the woman, the decision was mine. I was the one who had to sign off on the procedure and it was made clear to me that it was my body, my decision. Taking that decision was the hardest thing I have every done.
I have always been pro-choice, I just never expected to exercise that right. Everyone talks about how women with the resources will always have access to safe abortive health care and that’s true; if you live in the wrong state you’ll go somewhere else. This statement misses a whole aspect of terminating a pregnancy, especially at a later stage, the mental anguish. If I had had to “fight” for my abortion or travel, or circumvent the law in any way, I’m not sure I would have done it. I would have felt trapped, helpless, and in unbearable mental anguish. Two years later I’m still grieving, but I know that I made the right decision. I’m an adult and mature enough to navigate that tension and those feelings, but they are there.
Every step in building my family I had total agency over my body. My body, with all the physical and emotional scars left by the process. That women in the US will face a new reality is terrifying. I’m furious.
Dearest Toby, This was difficult to read, but so beautifully written. I am beyond proud of you for sending it for those who love you to read. I hope we get to see you soon.