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.