So, in the beginning of my pregnancy I felt a lot of people were insensitive at best and gossiping misogynist assholes at worst. There were a lot of things I think if people had known would have influenced people to behave differently (assuming they weren't just assholes through and through) but I was in no mood or place to go around explaining myself nor should I have to. So the first thing i want to do is give some back round history and then go about 7 months back to the beginning.
I'll start by explaining that I love babies and children and wanted some of my own. I haven't always. I had an abortion when I was 17 and thought then that I never wanted children and if I did I definitely didn't want one then. I will say with no guilt that my abortion was easy. I was lucky enough my boyfriend at the time had the money in savings to pay for it. I had no trouble making the decision, the abortion itself was painful but was very short. I think about 7 minutes long. I took the next day off work but honestly felt fine that evening, I could have went out dancing or whatever. And I never regretted it. I never "got sad when I seen babies in the grocery store" as one rude young woman once asked me. I like mentioning that I've had an abortion when it comes up in casual conversations. From this a few women who I haven't known that well have come to me for help finding information and with questions and I've helped them make appointments and tried to be supportive. This being said I hope its clear I know how to get an abortion if I want one and wouldn't hesitate to do so. So there was no need to pity me when you heard I was pregnant because "now its too late for an abortion" Im an intelligent capable woman capable of making decisions about my body. If you pity me by thinking I ended up in some unfortunate situation and just didn't know what to do you must doubt this about me and all I can say is: FUCK YOU!
Late last fall and winter was a hard time for me. I was being out of control to distract myself. I made some mistakes and paid for them. I had some friends really hurt me and felt I lost a lot of things that really mattered to me in terms of feeling included and valued in a group of friends I organized with. I had reached a point beyond depression where i couldn't cry and was just numb and felt completely hopeless and helpless. I was basically drinking vodka alone in my room in a punkhouse of people who I didn't relate to and working at a fastfood franchise. Working really hard at that, as well as organizing to unionize this place of employment with the IWW. (that campaign is going public this week btw, I'm so happy for them. Give em hell, friends!!) So when I lost this job I tried hard to be perfect at because the manager was unhappy that I tolerated his sexual harassment less than others at the store (he has since been fired for making employees watch porn) I was devastated as well as instantly dead fuckin broke. Right before I lost this job I met a really friendly sweet young man who was willing, thrilled even to join me in the misery of drinking in my bed, watching crappy vhs's and trying to forget how cruel life is. A week or so after losing my job I knew I was pregnant. I knew because its my body and I could tell even though it would be weeks until there would be enough hcg in my urine to be detected on a pregnancy test. I was happy and in disbelief. I thought I would probably never get a shot at having a baby ever again unless I somehow could afford to purchuse donor sperm. I did contemplate stripping to afford this someday. But none the less here I was pregnant with a home made baby from scratch!
My mother was pregnant a few times before she was pregnant with me and they all ended in miscarriages. One of them pretty far along and into the second trimester. She was treated horribly by doctors who accused her of doing it on purpose and asked if she wanted to take her dead baby home in a jar as proof of her accomplishments. She was very scarred emotionally from this. When she became pregnant with me she didn't let herself get attatched to the life growing inside her and didn't tell anyone she was pregnant until she went into labor. She told herself she would give me up for adoption. When she asked her doctor about looking into why she lost the other pregnancies in hopes of not losing this one he told her "lets wait until you lose this one". I know it sounds unbelievable that she could hide a pregnancy, espcially because she is a built fairly small but she never got very big. At 9 months her sister and mom began to suspect she was a few months along and when she went into labor she had to argue to get admitted to the hospital because the nurses said she didn't look 9 months pregnant and to go home. But I was born there at the county hospital, with a fit bill of health and of average weight and length to my scared young mother. I grew up knowing this story and feeling very warned about getting attatched to pregnancies too soon and knowing miscarriages can be just around the corner. So, in caution I did not tell most people I was pregnant. It is also widely reccamended by doctors to not share the news of a pregnancy until 12 weeks when risk of miscarriage goes down by a lot. This is so you do not have to tell every inquiring friend, coworker and neighbor you miscarried when they ask how your pregnancy is going.
A few weeks into my pregnancy it happened, I went to bed with a fever and woke up bleeding very heavily, worse and more painful than any period I'd ever had. Going from burning up hot to freezing with the chills and my teeth chattering. I was in so much pain I was in my room screaming involuntarily. And the only support I had was my cat, who insisted on headbutting me until I acknowledged her and she purred louder than ever. A lesser known fact is that cats often purr when in pain as well as when happy to comfort and possibly heal themselves. I knew damn well it was a miscarriage. The pain in my breasts was almost instantly gone. Eventually the cramping pain got better but I felt completely drained. And very sad about my loss. I spent a few days in bed. Life went on.
But a few days later I realized my breasts were still tender. I figured it would take awhile for all the pregnancy hormones to work themselves out. But weeks went by and I was still feeling pregnant. I called a friend and asked them to buy me pregnancy tests, at least 3 of them and they kindly did. I having lost my minimum wage job didn't have the money to.
So I took a test, positive. Waited a few days, still positive. I did a lot of research on the internet and concluded that at that point I should not have enough hcg to still produce positive tests. I read about the possibility of not passing all the tissue and the remaining tissue still producing hormones. I was worried maybe I had a partial fetus growing. I didn't have insurance and have been treated horribly as a lot of other poor women have by doctors in sliding scale clinics and the county hospital ER so I didn't see a doctor. It eventually occured to me it could have been twins. My grandmother had two sets of fraternal twins, one of which being my mother so the gene for hyperovulating had my name written all over it. I did some research and found out this is a fairly common occurence in early pregnancy although in most cases the other fetus is absorbed and not miscarried. But I was still scared of losing the remaining pregnancy or that something might be wrong with it. I started seeing a doctor for prenatal care, told close friends and family and waited until I was comfortable. In my second trimester at approx 17 weeks I had an ultrasound to determine my due date. It was concluded I probably did lose a twin because the babies approximate age matched up to being concieved before the miscarriage and my doctor said that it definitely sounded like a miscarriage. I saw my baby on the screen looking healthy and whole and moving a ton. I was much relieved.
But by this time people had already started running their mouths. When I did go out, to a protest or a meeting people who usually talk to me, hug me and ask how things are going ignored me. Everyone diverted their eyes. It was fucking awful! Talk about community, what community? Community for who? If I wasn't screaming from the rooftops about my pregnancy I must be scared of being pregnant, or ashamed or something right? Maybe I wasn't having an abortion because I couldn't afford it. Surely I was being stupid, I should just tell my friends and they would've given me the money, or thats what they told each other anyway. I must just be stuck with an unwanted pregnancy now right? Wrong. And When I did tell friends it was usually met with pity,"oh you poor dear what are you going to do?" I never have had a moment of anything but happiness about the prospect of having this baby. I didn't have trouble making a choice because I knew what I wanted.
In conclusion I have some advice on how to handle a pregnant friend even if you can't imagine wanting to be pregnant yourself:
-If someone doesn't talk to you about their rumored pregnancy its because they don't want to. Mind your business.
- Its always best to assume people are smart enough to make their own decisions. Don't contemplate what is best for them or assume they made the wrong choice.
-no one needs your fucking pity.
And theres more to say about the culture of not respecting womens choices to become a parent than I want to get into today but the bottom line is this: prochoice actually includes the word choice for a reason. Think about it.
And I am due to have this precious little human in 6 weeks! Can't wait!!!