I'm also going to address abortion, because that is something I get asked about a lot. It was never an option for me. For reasons that I cannot completely explain, I believe it is wrong. There have been debates and arguments about when a fetus acquires a soul, and isn't birth control just an abortion pill, and to be quite honest, I don't have the answers. And I'm not going to discuss them either. They are irrelevant in this conversation. When put on the spot, I use my husband's words, "Abortion is morally riddled."
I should follow that up with a small tangent, because I also feel strongly that abortion should not be outlawed. Being unwed and pregnant can be a desperate situation, were people do desperate things. A woman who desperately wants an abortion will get one whether it is legal or not. That opens the problems of untrained practitioners, procedure complications, and the risk of infection. Legalizing abortion provides professional care to the women who want it.
(I've heard some say that if a woman gets an abortion, she deserves to die. Shut up. You're a jerk. Who are you to choose which lives are sacred?)
Anyway, to the primary topic.
The second post that I ever wrote was Dealing With Mean People. I didn't talk about those people, or how they were mean, or what the consequences were for me. It hurt too much, and in fact it still hurts today. When certain people found out that I was pregnant, they persecuted me.
Some of them didn't mean to. The woman who emailed my mother to console her since I had "fallen into sin" surely thought she was being kind. As did a (former) friend when he expressed sorrow that I had been "trapped by the shame of fornication." I suppose, in their minds, it was their duty to provide comfort to my parents during my shame. It never occurred to them to pass along a hello. They never thought to ask how I was doing, or if there was anything I needed. As far as they were concerned, I was a lost cause, better to be abandoned.
My mother, by the way, gave them what-for, told them that a baby was a reason for celebration and that they could (more or less) can it.
Other people put me down by not doing anything. Nothing can help you sort out your friends like an unwanted pregnancy. Emotional support came out of the woodwork from the most random, unexpected and wonderful places. (My mother-in-law for one. Even though she didn't know me, and didn't really trust me, she constantly pushed weird foods on me and gave me diet advice, which I have now come to understand is her love language.) Still, the silence from many of my childhood friends was deafening. As if ignoring a problem will make it go away, or that affiliation may tarnish them, they have remained out of contact.
Finally there were those who had a more direct approach. At the top of the list was my husband's grandparents, who suggested that I got pregnant on purpose to secure myself a wealthy man. (Though to give them credit, they knew very little of me besides the fact that my family was not well off, and that I was studying the arts. We have come a long way since then, and I'd like to think that I have risen in their esteem.) There were a few people who pointedly stopped speaking to me. It was made clear to me that pre-marital sex is a sin, and that my sin had made me into nothing.
And so I wrote a post about mean people. I took my anger out on poor people who were not very good at talking about pregnancy, and the loud football players who lived above me, and myself. And now, three years later, I'd like to say what I truly feel.
To the people who persecuted me:
Not one of you is a bad person, but you are the reason that some young women have abortions. It is the shame you put on them that drives them to hide their mistakes. It is the misery you remind them of that makes their situation desperate. If you are truly strong to your convictions, you would celebrate me. You would congratulate me for facing the consequences of my own actions without flinching. You would hold me up as an example to other women because, even though it would have been easy, even though I could have gone on with my life as if nothing had ever happened, I chose to uphold the sanctity of life. In your eyes I committed one sin. You would have driven me to a second.
To the people who supported me:
I don't know if I would be here without you. Without the support of people like my [now] husband, my parents, my grandma, and the rest of my family, I might have been shamed into a lesser path. Without my dearest college friends, without the amazing support of my classmates, and those childhood friends who stayed by me, I might have betrayed my own convictions and sent myself into a true darkness where I would never have forgiven myself. It is because of you, and people like you, that some women choose life. You make life wonderful. You make the world a place I could not deny my child. You are the reason my wounds have healed. Thank you.
This has been an emotional journey for me, both in the three years it has taken to heal and in the two hours it has taken to write all of this. I'd like to end with an excerpt from my very first post. A message to all the young women out there who feel or have felt desperate.
Somewhere in this, the first post of this blog, I should tell you all what I hope to accomplish here. I think it's pretty clear that I'm not taking the short way out. I'm going to stick this out to the end. Whether that means keeping this child as my own, or giving it to someone else to raise, I don't know. I have seven months ahead of me, and I know that somewhere out there, there are other girls going through the same thing. So I hope that maybe they stumble across College Baby Bump in their web-surfing and know that they're not alone. I don't know where life is taking me right now, and it's frightening, but I'm going to be okay. We're all going to be okay. Trust me.