I had to write this, I always keep going to and then never quite do. I’ve deleted so many drafts already. So with the Josie Cunningham story all over Twitter I thought I’d try again.
I will start by saying, I’m pretty good at avoiding popular culture, have never watched Big Brother and had never heard of Josie Cunningham until I started seeing tweets about her, and I wouldn’t have read more except for the fact that I have strong opinions on abortion and that drew me in. However it does mean I’ve gone into it with no opinion on her at all.
All I have to go on is my own opinions on abortion. So here we go.
I am very pro-choice, I believe a woman’s body is her own to do with as she wants, and I think anything that removes that right from her is wrong.
I have never had an abortion though, and hope never too. I have considered it though, twice. And while my story may seem like it plays in to the hands of the pro-life (anti-choice) group, bear with me.
When I discovered I was pregnant with mini-MoG it was a massive shock. I’d been on contraception and had PCOS, I’d had tests done where it had come back saying I hadn’t ovulated, so we weren’t sure if I ovulated at all or only occasionally. My husband and I had been convinced that I’d never get pregnant naturally, and had given up on any hope of children. So when I got pregnant we were overjoyed.
Except, as you may know from previous blogs, it was far from straightforward. I had severe hyperemesis, I was horrifically ill throughout the pregnancy all the way up until mini-MoG’s birth. Pregnancy was hell, I spent a large portion of both pregnancies sobbing and begging for it to end. Unsurprisingly I almost aborted both times. In my case I never went through with it, and I am grateful now as I adore my children.
But here’s the thing, that was the most horrific thing I’ve ever been through, and it has done lasting damage to my body. I don’t mean cosmetic changes like stretchmarks either, my hips and knees are wrecked thanks to the SPD. It also appears the pregnancies have worsened existing health conditions due to both physical strain and vitamin deficiencies thanks to the hyperemesis. I have paid for both these pregnancies heavily. My mental health is also badly damaged by both the pregnancies and the actual childbirth. It’s being discussed now whether I have PTSD thanks to both births, bearing in mind neither birth was actually too extraordinary or shocking.
And while I am now glad I went through them, I am also more aware than I ever was that pregnancy and childbirth is a big deal. While it can be simple for some women, it can also be a massive nightmare for others. I’ve known other women who’ve nearly died, or who’ve been left basically crippled thanks to it. And this is even with the wonders of modern medicine.
It is no small thing to ask someone to go through, and to force someone to potentially go through it against their will is nothing short of barbaric.
Now I am well aware just how early foetuses can develop, my daughter was born 10 weeks early and came out perfectly formed. Aside from her size there was no visible difference between her and a term baby, and in special care there were babies born even earlier who were also perfectly formed. My daughter is now thriving, as are many of the other babies from SCBU, which is wonderful.
But as far as I know, the only reasons these babies did survive is because they were placed on ventilators and/or fed by IV. I know my daughter was capable neither or breathing for herself or taking food orally, and this was standard for early babies. They were not capable of survival on their own, really they should still have been reliant on their mother’s body. And if there had been no SCBU, they’d have died without a doubt.
Nature had not intended them to be a separate entity from their mother at that stage. If biology hadn’t gone wrong for me, then my daughter should still have been a part of my body, as incapable of living without me as my arm or my leg. So the argument that a foetus should be given equal rights to a human being is bizarre, and what is more bizarre is giving them rights over and above that of the women who carry them.
My reasons for wanting to abort were both medical and psychological, I could survive the pregnancy, my life wasn’t at immediate risk from it (obviously as I’m still here). My quality of life was definitely. Both at the time and afterwards. Is my reason less valid than someone whose life is at risk from pregnancy? Is my reason more valid than someone who feels the time is wrong for them to be pregnant/have children? Why on earth do we need more reason than the woman doesn’t want to go through something so demanding?
I might not have wanted to abort for the same reason that Josie Cunningham does and I might, but I fully support her right to decide for herself.