Sunday, October 9, 2011

Abortion: Part I … A Child Asks Questions

(Read BEFORE Part II and III)
I would have appreciated a handbook or study guide for parenting. Seems like that could have been included with the take home care package the hospital generously gave me at the births of my children.

My 16 year old has my depth, but in addition, she is off the charts intellectually. Her sights are set on law school and I have no doubt she will be a success. I’m not sure about the legal terminology, but all I can say is I already feel for the people on the other side of the courtroom …
There has been a topic brewing in her head for a couple of weeks. She has brought it up several times, and seems to get more passionate each time. Though I am the parent, I have no answer to her perplexing question. She debates it out loud as she attempts to discover what SHE really feels about several issues this topic brings to the table.
Due to the depth and sensitivity of this topic, I have done a lot of thinking and no writing for a week and a half. My oversensitive heart does not want to probe in an uncomfortable area. However, my daughter asking these questions has prompted many things within me and it is worth my uncomfortable feelings to write them. This is real life …
My hesitation in joining her must come from the rule my industry has taught me over the years.
NEVER open the door to the verbal topics that will fire people up to a place of no return. Primarily: politics, religion and beliefs about things such as homosexuality, animal rights, abortion and money. Pass these topics by; you will only stir a hornet’s nest and these things do not need to be blended in client appointment times. Period.”
However, my child cares nothing about that rule ... and she's not my client.
Her pondering has made me think about how numb I am to the news. We hear unbelievable stories and take them as “normal.” Well, “news normal.” Anyway, I do not know the names or details to the story we are discussing, as that is not the point in case, it goes more broad and less personal.
The story is about a mother who gave birth and suffocated her twin boys a couple of weeks ago. She hid her pregnancy, delivered them in her bathroom, suffocated them, put their bodies in the hamper and attempted to continue life as though nothing happened.
While most viewers are enraged, understandably, my daughter is questioning some things.
Mom, I know what this girl did is so terrible and wrong, but what’s the difference in what she did and an abortion? The only difference I see is that the babies breathed oxygen and she did it instead of paying someone to do it. Not everyone has the money for those, but their reasons are still the same. Besides, if you hear about a person killing a pregnant woman, that is considered 2 counts of murder, right? Even if that baby can’t survive out of the womb. I don’t understand.”
Her friend chimes in, “WHAT?! That is way worse and way different. An abortion is a medical procedure.”
Gasoline gets dumped on her fire, “What’s the end result for the baby?! IT’S THE SAME. The mom just has to do it herself and will get punished.”

She is so confused by abortion. I have swept it under the rug out of respect for those who have made the choice, numerous friends who have been through them for various reasons. I recall reading a college paper written on why they should be allowed because of a situation like rape. What does that do to the mother and the baby? Will the mom be connected to the man who assaulted her and will he have rights?
Dear heavens, it makes my brain hurt and I want to ignore it … BUT my child will not. She wants to know. She wants to discuss it. It is important to her …
Days later, the subject arises again. She continues, “It’s like my friend who is pregnant and in high school. People are talking about her like she is so bad when lots of them are doing exactly what she did but there is just no proof. It’s crazy how the guy doesn’t get perceived like the girl because he is not visibly marked with the scarlet letter. Since he’s not pregnant and showing, he doesn’t have to go through all she does. I understand that she should not be having sex, but she did, it’s already done and now there’s a baby. She can’t go to school anymore and doesn’t really have many friends left. BUT, the reality is that she could have aborted the baby and didn’t. I admire her for that.”

I began thinking …
Several months ago I was visiting with a very dear, long-time friend. As we began catching up, I was sent into a new thought process. It now unites with my daughter’s questions. During that discussion with my friend, I casually asked, “What’s been going on in your world?”
As our conversation unfolded, she opened up to me in bravery mixed with pain.
After a pause and deep breath, she responded, “Well, quite a bit. Are you ready to hear what has been going on with me?”
I responded, “Of course I am …”
My friend began sharing with me, “I have been getting help dealing with decisions from my past. There is something you do not know about me … I had an abortion years ago … and then I did it again a couple of years later. Not only have I done it, but I did it twice.”

The remainder of our conversation was surreal. One of my dearest friends had been through a personal, tormenting nightmare, and I never even knew it. She began sharing with me about the grieving process she has been going through to help purge this pain and begin the healing. She has named her babies and done a private memorial for them, in addition to many other things. She helped me understand something I needed to know, I simply didn’t know I needed to know it. I have crucified myself for many things and received so much from hearing how she had began forgiving herself. Her honesty with me and herself inspires me to address the uncomfortable things such as this.
When my daughter began these intense discussions, I called my friend. In that process, these 3 blogs were birthed. We decided to bring it to the table together. If it can help one person understand a concept he/she has never pondered, help a person who has also made this decision to begin healing, or prompt someone to reconsider making the choice … our efforts have been worthwhile.

Looking at difficult things,

(Part II and III are below)

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