Many feminists are pro-choice, meaning that if a mother chooses to abort her baby, then let her abort the baby, because the mother should have complete autonomy over her body and the baby is really only a fertilized egg, not a person. I can’t really say I’m pro-choice, mainly because I am against sex-selective abortion and abortion due to the fetus having a disability. But when it comes to the general issue of abortion, if I chose to craft an argument either for or against it, I’d be building the Leaning Tower of Pisa on soft ground, only it wouldn’t hold up at all. I used to be sternly pro-life. I’m Catholic, and the Catholic Church says no to abortion. If we go by Catholic teaching, abortion is a sin. But after reading up on some personal abortion stories, I realized that some women who abort are not evil murderers. I found out some of them were too poor to care for a baby, some were raped, and some were just plain unprepared for a child on their hands. So for a while, I was pro-choice. Then I went back to being pro-life and now I’m not so sure.
What I am quite sure of is a personal experience that has influenced my (uncertain) stance on the general issue of abortion, other than religion.
I can’t really remember much, but I remember being in the hospital when I was three or four years old. My mom–I call her Nanay–was clad in a hospital gown. At the time, I wasn’t very aware of what was going on. I think…I think I knew he had died–my unborn brother I named Brian, because Nanay had already told me. I recall us, Nanay and me, going to the hospital some time before because they had to check up on Nanay’s pregnancy.
I remember the nurse checking the baby’s heartbeat. “I can’t find a heartbeat,” she told Nanay.
Later, as we walked out of the hospital, Nanay whispered to me, “I think Brian died.” Nanay tells me now that I wasn’t a big wreck out there, but I did whimper a bit and shed a few tears.
So now we were in the hospital again at seven o’clock in the evening, Nanay in a hospital gown. The process she went through was similar to having an abortion, only they didn’t have to terminate Brian’s life, as it had already ended. Nanay told me (much later, when I was eight or something) that they used a vacuum tool to remove Brian. Because I already knew what an abortion was, I correctly figured out that it was like going through an abortion procedure.
Afterwards, I didn’t cry and it certainly didn’t put much stress on my life. I was too young to fully grasp what had just happened. I mean, I knew he had died, but it had a half-baked effect on me. Not that I had a heart of stone; I prayed for this brother. It was only maturing, and it wasn’t ready for this experience. In approaching the situation, my heart chose to digest the parts it could digest and then didn’t bother to swallow the parts it couldn’t swallow. There was trauma, but the trauma didn’t hit me like a gigantic rock smashing my head, unleashing slimy gore and brain. So now whenever I think about it, an slightly unpleasant feeling rises up in my chest. I want to cry, but I cannot. No matter how much I try to really grasp that there was an actual death here, I just–can’t, and yet the unpleasant feeling’s still there.
And then I remember Nanay tucking me in bed. We were praying together and Nanay told me that Brian became a little cherub. I like thinking of Brian as a little cherub with a mop of curly golden hair and little angel wings. Of course, he wouldn’t actually look like that–his hair would be most likely straight and black, and he’d have a Down Syndrome face since he had Down Syndrome.
Well, after the miscarriage, I vowed that I, little Luna, would become a superhero that would save all unborn babies’ lives from undergoing a similar fate. No baby would ever die in the womb, ever. Nanay then said, “Let’s try again,” and so I prayed for another brother who’d live to be welcomed to the world. This time he did make it, and I became a big sister when I was almost six. Disabled, yes, but still here.
I have not received much help and support when it comes to this, which is pretty pathetic. Maybe I should. And I’m not sure how this has made me stronger–if Brian’s loss ever did make me stronger. But when my second brother did come and then my parents found out he had a rare brain condition called Tuberous Sclerosis, I didn’t care very much. I knew my normal life ended, I knew I would never know a childhood with normal siblings, yet it was all right because I finally had a brother, and that was all that mattered. So I suppose that this miscarriage led me to appreciate people who’d grow up with disabilities, and thus it strengthened my tolerance of others.
But as a result, I cannot approach the subject of abortion without clear eyes. When I first heard of abortion (I was seven years old), I thought, how could they? You taking your baby for granted while there are people devastated because they had miscarriages! I planned to make a pro-baby group with my drawing of cherub-Brian as our mascot. I know–I know, I can hear you telling me I shouldn’t impose my experiences on others. So I urge you not to take this personally if you’ve had an abortion; this post is only to share my experience with miscarriage and the consequences it had later on. That is it, and I have no advice on what to do in the face of such a situation.
Sometimes I think about Brian and wonder what life would be like if he were born, and then that slightly unpleasant feeling resurfaces. One of my 2016 dreams that I forgot to write about in my previous post is for me to truly move on from this experience and leave it in the past. I hope that will happen this 2016 so that I can look at abortion without my eyes clouded by the miscarriage.