It’s been five days since the overturn of Roe v. Wade. I would say that I try not to be political on my blog, but lets be real, that was never true, so why stop now. However, this time I’m not going to try to sway your opinion. I’m not going to try to convince you to feel any way about what side you are on. This decision is one that I have known would happen for years, but I still wasn’t prepared for the overpowering cascade of emotions that has happened in these past five days. I don’t have the strength to argue, I don’t have the strength to to try and sway anyone’s decision. Frankly I don’t really care anymore how you feel about it. I know how I feel about it, and I’m going to throw support, in the way of time and money, towards the organizations and activities that support a women’s right to choose. However, I do think it’s time to tell our stories. I think it’s time to stop hiding behind prudence and shame and start speaking openly about how our lives have been effected by the rights we once had. This is my eulogy to Roe v Wade.
Nine years ago I was in a bad situation. I was in an unhappy marriage that was becoming outwardly destructive. I would give the details, but the details don’t matter now. I was in a place where if I didn’t leave I would have lost myself. The facilitation of that leaving is not something I am proud of. I had an affair. An affair that resulted in a pregnancy. My eldest son, who is disabled, was 2 at the time and I had deeply wanted another, but not this way. I was a mess. I was terrified. I was confused. Above all, I was desperate.
Desperate people do crazy stupid things.
If I had had to make a decision at that time, or if I didn’t have the option to make a decision, things would have ended up very differently. I would have ended the life of my daughter, or both of us, because desperation is ugly. Thankfully, I did have time. While I did hide my pregnancy out of shame, I didn’t have to hide it out of fear of prosecution. I was able to spend the time I needed assessing my situation and deciding if I wanted to take the risk of potentially being a single mother of an infant and a disabled child, with no support. I had months, not days.
Thankfully I did have support, in C. At just around 3 months I became certain that I wanted to have his child, even if that meant risking the life I knew. We spent the next five months struggling to get on our feet (he had been renting a friend’s spare bedroom after his divorce a year earlier). I was basically homeless, hopping from one friend’s house to another, sleeping in my car at times. I had a home based business back then, but without a home it was hard to have an income, so there were days when the only person who ate was my son. At 8 months pregnant we finally found someone who would rent their house to us. We stayed there until we saved enough to purchase our land. Both of those blessings included someone putting their faith in us. We were able to get the house because the landlord felt sorry for us and waived the credit check. We were able to purchase the land with a “owner/seller loan”, meaning we paid him a monthly “mortgage” for five years until we could pay off the land ourselves. I believe with everything I have that neither of these would have been available to us if we had been POC, especially in rural Kentucky. We made it through on our privilege, and there isn’t a day that we doubt this.
The days, months, and years that transpired afterwards left me stressed and tired. Even with privilege, getting back on your feet is hard, and there are more setbacks than forward motion. Stress is not a good bedfellow, and I was not the best mother I could have been to my daughter in the years she needed me most. There are days now that I wonder if some of her behavior problems are normal or if my inability to be a good mother to her has damaged her irreparably. I blame myself more than I probably should.
These past five days have forced me to think back on the past 9 years, on the decisions I had to make and my own privilege that has led me to the life I currently have, and I cry. I cry for all the people who will have to make difficult decisions based on desperation, who will not have the options that I had. The people who will lose their lives, either literally or figuratively, by not having the ability to chose. None of this makes sense to me, and I want more than anything to protect these people, to help them through the hard times and let them know that everything will be ok, because I cant, because it wont.