I have had four pregnancies. I have two children.
Two of my pregnancies ended in miscarriage, and the other two resulted in the greatest joys of my life. But all four were a burden—emotionally and physically, personally and professionally.
Right now, the constitutional right that protects pregnant people’s ability to make our own decisions about our pregnancies is in jeopardy, and I can’t sit by and watch it happen.
The first time I learned I had miscarried was at the 12-week ultrasound of my first pregnancy. At eight weeks, the fetus and its heartbeat measured normally. But now, at 12 weeks, it was the size of a nine-week fetus. For three weeks it had sat inside me, no longer growing.
I got pregnant again. After 41 long, grueling weeks, I was induced. 50 hours later, I had an emergency cesarean section and gave birth to our son. I didn’t enjoy much of anything during those 41 weeks, but I love being his mom.
The second time I learned I had miscarried was during my third pregnancy—again, at the 12- week ultrasound. I had spent the summer nauseated and miserable. This time, the miscarriage was more serious: a rare molar pregnancy. Again, the doctor let me know there was no fetal heartbeat, the fetus wasn’t measuring correctly, and there was concern the placenta looked “mottled.”
I was not allowed to try to get pregnant for six months afterward, to ensure the molar pregnancy didn’t progress into a rare form of cancer. How did this pregnancy suddenly become a conversation about possible cancer? I was terrified. All we wanted was to give our son a younger sibling, and now this pregnancy had taken a turn I could never have expected. But I was so lucky. The threat subsided and I was cleared to start trying again.
I told my husband the fourth pregnancy would be the last pregnancy, no matter what….
Again, I was lucky. I spent the first 39 weeks of the pandemic pregnant for the fourth and final time. During the waning
days of the Trump presidency, we gave birth to our daughter. She’s fantastic.
But the pregnancy that produced her was a burden. I use the word “burden” very carefully, because it’s also a legal term that’s at the crux of the abortion debate…
Being pregnant, trying to get pregnant, ending an unwanted pregnancy, giving birth—all of it will test you. Even those who experience pregnancy as a joy will face moments that ask more of them than they could ever have imagined themselves capable. We who create life are blessed and burdened by the imperatives of biology.
We cannot force people to stay pregnant. It’s immoral. And it should remain illegal.
From on the Lilith Blog, January 2022. Read the full article here.