Friday, October 27, 2017

Empty-Handed: The Lie of Convenience

I’ve never had an abortion. I’ve had three healthy babies, one singleton and a set of twins. During my third pregnancy, the worst occurred: a miscarriage. I was walked to the precipice of choice on how to proceed. I could allow the miscarriage to happen naturally; use a chemical option, misoprostol; or opt for a D&C.

In reality, my choices were gone. My child was dead. It took my breath away to confront the reality.

Women’s bodies, when functioning properly, cradle and support that life. When the worst happens, women’s bodies are supposed to take action. Only... my body did not take action. I decided to use misoprostol, hoping to avoid the necessity of a D&C.

When I decided to use the chemical option, misoprostol, the experience would strike me as hauntingly similar to a chemical abortion. My heart was broken, and it broke my heart for all the women that have and will experience this either through abortion or miscarriage.

I’m not sure exactly what women are told when they walk through the doors of an abortion clinic. However, I have heard testimony from both former clinic workers, and women who tell their own story of abortion. I get a sense culturally that abortion is a seen as a more convenient option than a full-term pregnancy. A woman can just take care of this one little problem as simple as a trip to the dentist for a filling. Then, she can get on with her life as though nothing has changed. It’s a medical service after all, or “women’s health care,” sometimes unpleasant, but necessary.

What I would tell any woman who considers this to be true is that abortion is not convenient.

Merriam-Webster defines convenience as “freedom from discomfort.” Having experienced the discomfort involved with labor and delivery of my three living children, I can attest that the experience of misoprostol was even less free from discomfort, more inconvenient in reality.

This drug was handed to me as a prescription to be filled. I knew it was going to cause me immense physical pain. There was a mix up in the pharmacy. The prescription was taking longer to fill. I wanted to get things in motion. I wanted convenience. The emotional pain was hitting me in waves for the week before I took the pill. Now, the physical discomfort would join.

I experienced pain similar to labor. There was heavy bleeding and cramping. Thankfully, my husband was able to care for my children. I was definitely out of commission. At one point in my bathroom, the pain was so intense I was blacking out.

It was in this almost surreal moment that I felt my baby pass from body. The pain medication they had prescribed did not touch what I felt.

The days following, I couldn’t go without using the bathroom every half hour or so to pass large clots. My bleeding lasted much longer than a “normal period.” I still had little ones to care for and a busy schedule. No maternity leave. No time off. I experienced the hormonal shift similar to the “baby blues” most women experience post-delivery. I had migraines for days once my bleeding stopped. My body had done all the work of labor, only this time my arms were empty.

Miscarriage Support Auckland Inc. describes the unique issues women experience post-miscarriage as “suffering from the effects of both a birth and a death.” I share my story of miscarriage in the effort of transparency. I was not in a desperate situation that some women who choose abortion may find themselves in. However, I have been scared, and felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I have made hard medical decisions. I’ve dealt with death, grief, and inconvenience.

Women need to know that they are capable of giving their child life. You are capable of choosing a gift on the other end of the inevitable physical discomfort of birth. There is beauty in birth. There is inconvenience either way. Make the choice that leads to someone’s, beginning not their end. Don’t choose to experience birth, only to come away empty-handed.

[Today’s guest post by Allison Maluchnik is part of our paid blogging program.]

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