“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” – Elizabeth Stone
In conversations about abortion, many young women have admitted to me that if they became pregnant, they could never “give it [their child] up” for adoption. Their options, they said, would either be to “keep the baby” or abort “it” early in the pregnancy. As a pro-life activist, this statement doesn’t surprise me. However, as an aunty of an adopted child, it deeply saddens me. Upon reflection, I believe I have come to understand why some girls would choose abortion over adoption, though everything within me vehemently disagrees.
- “Nine months is a long time.” Some feminists might refer to it as nine months of “agony”: nausea, bodily changes, mood swings, and food cravings. Of course, there’s more to it than that. As a baby grows in his or her mother, the two share an undeniable bond. Some women say that after all that time they would be too attached to their child to “give it up.” That is kind of like a clingy girlfriend who says “if I can’t have you, no one can!” This logic is selfish because abortion denies their already-existing child both life and love.
- “It’s not a baby yet.” Sometimes a woman see the child in her womb as merely an inconvenient mass of tissue. They assume that they’d better choose abortion before this “thing” turns into a real baby. Abortion is quick and dirty, while gestation and adoption takes time and careful planning. Firstly, the offspring of human parents are whole, living humans from the moment of fertilization. Secondly, perhaps the process of housing the baby and finding the him or her a loving adoptive family will help bring hope and healing.
- “I just want it to be over.” Some parents are afraid that their past may haunt them years later in the form of an inquisitive, strikingly familiar adolescent. What if she’s looking for answers, and I don’t feel comfortable explaining? What if I have another family by then? How would I explain my past? What’s more frightening than these scenarios is the alternative. Wanting the pregnancy to end is one thing, but forcing it to end in the certain death of your own child will never bring peace to you or your family.
- “What if?” Based on conversations with everyday Canadians, this is one of the strongest influences pressuring women to choose abortion over adoption. She may hear foster home horror stories, or recall growing up in an impoverished family, and assume that her child is better off dead. The truth is, no matter what you do, you can never guarantee that your child will have the perfect life, or even a good life. There will always be variables, unforeseeable crises; stuff beyond our control. Adoption is choosing to transplant your heart into another family, and letting them care for it as their own. Adoption is trust. Adoption is faith.
I would like to thank the wonderful woman whose generous gift of self sustained the life of my darling nephew. You have made my sister a mother. I’d also like to thank the foster family that provided my little one with a “temporary home.” Lastly, a giant thank you to my sister and her husband for welcoming their little boy into our family: you both make awesome parents, as I always knew you would. Happy Mother’s day to all tummy mummies and all adoptive mums; you truly emulate the charity, selflessness, and trust of our Blessed Mother!