Sunday, September 30, 2007


I hate the word choice.

I hate it with a passion.

Because as an adoptee, concept of choice has always been held over my head, from those on both sides.

And I hate it, I do.

I hate the fact that it is the year 2007 and there is even a need for such a thing as choice. I hate that any woman in this day and age needs to have that heart-stopping moment when she realizes, “I’m late” or watch the calendar in fear and dread waiting for the day to come.

Nothing scared me more than the thought of getting pregnant. I used to think about my mother hating me while she was pregnant with me. I thought of myself as a parasitic blob of misery. I used to imagine my mother trying various folk methods to try and get rid of me. Chugging Lydia Pinkham by the gallon. And me, still implanted, refusing to budge, insisting on ruining her life.

I was told the standard BSE “nursing student” lie about her. I believed it growing up – why wouldn’t I? And on the tales of the nursing student came always the follow-up. She came from a wealthy family. She came from a medical family. They would have had access to terminate, like wealthy families did in those dark years before it was legal. But she didn’t because she was Catholic. Be grateful, you life destroying mass of unwanted cells.

Hating myself for ruining my mother’s life kept me intact, so to speak, much longer than any of my friends. There are those who would argue that’s a good thing. Being on the tail end of raising teenagers, yeah, I’m not overly enamored of the idea. But the fact remains those in love, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, will do what those in love will do, no matter what the age. The decision to be active or not to be active should have come from a sense of security, self-worth and commitment, not out of abject heart stopping blind terror fear.

Of being stuck like her. Of growing something evil like me.

So I was the last. But the fear of something implanted in me took root, and grew in my brain, blocking out normal thought processes and turning it into something twisted, warped and, to be brutally honest, fucking loony tunes.

Megadoses of Vitamin C daily, the right kind not the wrong kind, mind you, to maintain a hostile womb. A window shelf garden box containing a holy trinity of abortifacient herbs, mature plant roots and flowers constantly hanging and drying, ground up, packed into jars, huge cup nightly, resultant headaches be damned, all in the sake of avoiding a demon child like me. Oh you're so cool, you have such wisdom, friends would say, hippie chick me with my long skirts and ankle bells and vials of herbs for whatever ails you. If they only knew the truth.

Three forms of birth control, because birth control fails, you know. Taking pregnancy tests days before my period was due. And repeating. And repeating. And repeating. Because sometimes these things give false negatives. Repeat it the next month. Repeat it even when menstruation comes, because sometimes you can be pregnant and still get your period. Repeat it even on months when your sailor lover was out to sea, when there was no chance of being pregnant, because sometimes it takes a while for hCG to build up.

Repeat, repeat, repeat, so you don’t.

The fact that years later, I got pregnant the very first time I tried, only validated my prior neurosis.

See? Told you.

So the post-loving loving choice sets my teeth on edge. As does the post-loving informed choice. I hate the thought of any woman carrying to term a pregnancy she does not want. I hate the thought of any woman deciding between an invasive procedure or pharmaceuticals. I hate the rhetoric. I hate the politics. I hate it all.

Because all of it makes me remember, that once upon a time, doom came to a pretty tree lined street in Philadelphia, and my family hated me.

Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion will be released October 19, 2007. I’ve pre-ordered.

11 complaints from ingrates:

Anonymous,  September 30, 2007 at 1:26 PM  

Oh, Theresa.


Of course you hate the word "choice." You've told us so powerfully exactly why you hate it.

That makes me so sad for you. I know there's nothing I can do . . or say . . . I'm just sorry . . .

I'm even sorry there's such a word.

I wish I could erase the word for you.

Anonymous,  September 30, 2007 at 6:15 PM  


You know what T, I don't know if she hated you or not, I wish I could say she didn't.

But either way I sure love the hell out of you, and am so glad that you have found your way into my life.

It does suck that the choice falls onto our shoulders, and with it comes the blame and the shame and the judgment. All for what should be a very personal matter but it seems the world feels the need to stick its nose into our bedroom window and down our underwear.

But there's one choice I'm glad to make...and that's to have a great bastard like you as a friend. (((T)))

elizabeth September 30, 2007 at 6:38 PM  

It sucks beyond all measure that no one celebrated our beginnings. {{{{Theresa}}}}

Ungrateful Little Bastard September 30, 2007 at 6:39 PM  

Thank you very much. I wish we could erase it from our political landscape too, so that it could be a private matter between a woman and her physician.

If I get real honest, and try to get in touch with the way I felt my senior year of high school, the concept of her hating me is preposterous, but the concept of her hating a crisis pregnancy isn't. Especially when I think of the crap my grandparents must have laid on her. Unfortunately to an 18 year old, how do you separate the two? Her hating me in the end... I honestly don't believe so. But my grandparents hating my existence; that I believe to be the truth.

But friends are good. I am rich. Thank you.

abebech September 30, 2007 at 9:48 PM  

"It sucks beyond all measure that no one celebrated our beginnings."

I can't even imagine how painful that was and is and I'm just really sorry that it wasn't another way.

Andie D. September 30, 2007 at 10:58 PM  

I've read and re-read this post several times now.

I realized that I have likely been pregnancy paranoid since I can remember (even BEFORE being active) because of the same reason. I absolutely knew that I could not do to my child what had been done to me. Nor could I raise a child as a young woman. So that left abortion. And how could I ever abort when my own mom didn't abort me? Aren't I supposed to be grateful dammit?

You make me think Theresa. Thank you.

Anonymous,  October 2, 2007 at 6:00 AM  

Dear Theresa

Here is a hug for you ((((HUG))))

My parents threw me out of the house and told me "don't come back with that THING"

My father was furious that I purposely did not tell them until late in the pregnancy.

They went behind my back several times and told the child services people to take my son because that is what THEY wanted. I only found that out recently.

Now I have found my son. Our reunion goes well.

My parents had the nerve to ask if they could meet my son ("that THING) or send him a present.

My son refused.

He says "after the way they treated us, how could they think that would be OK".

Society makes women hate themselves for doing what nature intended.

Then they think all of us should be grateful for it.

It is very twisted logic which has
caused no end of mental and emotional problems for the lot of us.

No wonder we have all ended up so disturbed.


Unknown October 2, 2007 at 4:32 PM  

i realized something profound last nite.i recently framed these black and white stills of my daughters of when they were very young.they both have the very same look in their of sheer joy and happiness.
that's something they never talk about.the thing was, that they were really that happy when they were with me. I was a integral part of that joy and wholeness.

to any adoption expert who claims that giving away the baby is a loving choice, to them i say Damn you. damn you for making me and other moms feel inadequate and utterly worthless as mothers.

i was 22 and poor and on my own.
and the look on my children's faces,the look in their eyes proves them wrong.

damn them for severing a sacred love and making us loathe ourselves.

Anonymous,  October 2, 2007 at 8:04 PM  

Wow. I am speechless. Your writing is so powerful. I hope the stories in the book on Choice is half as as good.

I too avoided the possibility of pregnancy after relinquishing my son. I was so afraid of losing another child. And at the same time believed that I didn't deserve to be a mother. I avoided it for so long, through contraptions and pharmaceuticals, by being with men who would not commit, that by the time I got married (to a good man) it just seemed too late. I was still so afraid of getting pregnant, having to make a "choice," and again, that I would be a bad mother, that I had my tubes tied.

Hugging you in cyberspace, Denise

Ungrateful Little Bastard October 4, 2007 at 6:55 PM  

God these stories are all so sad. It tears at me that so much pain can come from loving someone.

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