Thursday, March 15, 2012

MY Choice.

In light of what is going on in the States right now with the birth control controversy, I feel I can no longer remain silent about something that occurred in my own life.  If we, as women, don't speak up and talk about these things, how will we, as a gender, ever move forward and take back our power?

I was twenty-six when I met him.  Handsome, adventurous, a wonderful writer, and an intellectual, he embodied my fantasy of the perfect man.  Sparks flew in bed and out of it.  However, he didn't have any money, job or sense of personal responsibility.  A master manipulator, he relied on his relationships with people and his charming personality to get by.  He lived with a nerdy friend for free because the nerdy friend got lots of excitement and a higher social standing when associating with Him.

We had lots of fun together.  He turned out to be my 'bad boy' relationship.  He smoked nicotine and pot, drank whiskey, and wrote brilliant poems and stories.  We met in a scriptwriting program at the local college.  I knew he might be bad for me.  But, I thought I was in love.  Or I thought I had to be in love to justify the great sex I was having.  He said things that led to me putting my guard down.  That led to me believing we had a future together.  Things that, later on, he admitted to be lies.

I had always been a goody-two shoes, two scared of doing something wrong or getting into trouble to take any sort of risk.  My relationship with him helped me to come out of my shell, to start taking calculated risks and enjoy life.  The sex was fantastic.  I was careful, got him to take an HIV test (he was promiscuous) before we had intercourse using condoms.  Neither of us liked condoms, so I went on the pill, which was a disaster.  It caused depression and, ironically, loss of sex drive.  So I stopped taking it and we went back to using condoms.

He went away over Christmas and I missed him terribly.  I wouldn't go back on the pill because it messed up my brain and body in a way I hated.  He didn't like condoms at all.  I didn't particularly like then either but they fulfilled a purpose.  When we reunited, I was so happy to be with him, thinking he was in love with me, that I really let my guard down.  We had intercourse twice without protection of any kind.  The first time, he pulled out in plenty of time.  The second time, he climaxed inside me and then pulled out.  I knew pregnancy was a possibility.  But, I reasoned, I heard so many stories about women trying for months to get pregnant, what were the odds that it would happen from either of these two events?  And even if it did, he loved me, he'd marry me, get a job and we would live happily ever after.  I was twenty-seven, naive and thought I was in love.

I did get pregnant.  I found out right away when my period didn't come on time.  I honestly felt like it was stupid to take the test, that there was no way I would be pregnant.  When the test showed positive, I felt scared but excited.  Everything would be okay.  He was in Vancouver staying with his dad, but when I told him what had happened He would be so excited, he would hop on the next plane and we'd make our plans together.

That is not exactly what happened.  Let's just say that he very quickly let me know that if I decided to continue the pregnancy I would be on my own.

At the time, I was living with my parents and had a part time job working in a local pet food store for about eight bucks an hour.  I had about $7000 in student debt.  My parents had always said that if this ever happened to any of us, they would be there for us emotionally, but financially we were on our own.

For about a week I was determined to go through with it.  I would manage somehow.  Then reality kicked in.  I didn't want to be pregnant.  I certainly didn't want to be a single mother living on welfare.  Yes, I had a university degree but the job situation had been terrible for years.  All I could see ahead was darkness.  I had a very difficult decision to make.

I decided to have an abortion.  My doctor was very supportive and gave me the phone number of the downtown clinic.  I wanted it done right away.  But I had to wait another five weeks before the procedure would be feasible.  Those were a difficult five weeks.  But I had put myself in this situation and I took responsibility for it.  I used those five weeks to make damn sure the choice I had made was the right choice for me.  By the time my appointment came around, I knew that it was.

The most difficult thing I have ever done, it saddens me to this day that I had to make that choice.  But I know it was the right one.  I regret ever getting into the situation that necessitated my decision, but I do not regret the decision itself.  I remember feeling guilty because I was twenty-seven, not sixteen, and still didn't feel I had the resources to raise a child.  But the fact is, I did not want to be pregnant at that time.  I was not ready to have a child, emotionally or situationally or financially.  And, I did not want to be tied forever to this immature boy of a man who had lied and manipulated me.

I now have two children with the wonderful man who became my husband.  I think I am a fairly good parent, and knowing how challenging and expensive it is to raise children in our society, I am more certain than ever that I made the right choice all those years ago.

Women need to have a choice.  We need different affordable options for birth control, and access to abortion if the birth control methods don't work, or we make one mistake because we are passionate creatures with a drive to mate who don't always think logically.  We try to use our brains most of the time.  But sometimes our bodies work against our brains.  Jesus, if men were able to get pregnant, what do you think the rate of unplanned pregnancy would be???  And don't you think abortion clinics would be universal?  And birth control would be handed out by the government?

Women themselves need to speak up and demand to have control over our bodies.  We need to stop criticizing and blaming other women who must deal with an unplanned pregnancy.  We are human animals with a drive to reproduce.  Sometimes that drive overcomes logical planning and intelligent thought processes.  Should I have to pay for the rest of my life for one or two thoughtless moments?  I don't think so.  And neither should any other woman.

*Who are getting abortions?

~ Liz

*This is a video made in the U.S. but I imagine the statistics are similar here in Canada.  Canada has legalized abortion across the country.  However, women in many location do not have easy access to pregnancy termination procedures.  In Ontario, where I live, abortions are entirely covered by the provincial government, but this is not standard among all provinces.  It should be.


Sister Sassy said...

ugh, it lost my comment. Just wanted to say thank you for sharing with us and that you are SPOT ON about men running around getting themselves pregnant all the time if they were able to. Totally. GRRRRR... for the first time I really am starting to feel like there is a war against women starting in the states.

Elizabeth Lister said...

Thanks for you comment Sister Sassy. It took me awhile to decide to post this but I wanted to speak out about something that we mostly keep quiet about. I want other women to know that I was faced with this horrible decision, this is what I chose, and I don't regret it.