I cannot recall the exact moment in my life when I made the decision to become pro-choice It seemed to occur as naturally as our cultures patriarchal ideology. While in my youth I had no female influences as it related to being pro-choice as many within my own family did not discuss such matters. I was privy to objectification and rape culture.
Growing up I endured sexual harassment within my community and schools. I was forced to manage street harassment from grown men at 12-years old. I had many female friends who were raped and abused. I viewed enough media to learn that women were only useful when controlled and over sexualized. As I went through the tortuous adolescent years, I began to believe in the negative female ideals. Soon I found myself in one precarious situation after another, suffering from a complete loss of self.
The contradicting messages kept rolling in. I must be attractive, thin, sultry, fashionable, amiable, passive, and sexual. At the same time I must also be reserved, modest, intelligent, voluptuous, caring, motherly and most of all completely asexual in appearance. Attempting to fit into these molds was exhausting. As I entered adulthood, I was a complete mess—in a mess of a relationship and at the age of 18 years old with child.
The “female” format continued to infect my life. Yet every ounce of my being knew this was not my path. As I forged through the thickest of wood, receiving cuts and scrapes along the way, I was able to blaze a trail in which I would find choice: the choice to encompass my own femininity, the choice to define my own sexuality, the choice to control my own reproduction, the choice to no longer live under patriarchal guidelines, and the choice to live infinitely as myself.
The freedom choice has provided is more than I could have fathomed. It has opened many doors and possibilities. It has provided a stage in which I no longer have to embrace other’s ideas of femininity. Instead, I simply had to relish in my own mind, body and soul. This perspective became a great necessity as I exercised choice to its fullest extent.
About a year ago, my husband and I made the choice to end a pregnancy. It was not easy and I never imagined having to make such a choice, especially after enduring the pains of teen pregnancy and discussing the possibility of adopting children in our distant future. As we questioned ourselves, we knew another child would be detrimental to our future—especially mine. With college coming to an end and my career just beginning, I would have had to put my life on hold, which meant jeopardizing our entire family.
Even though the choice was not easy, it was mine to make. Although I am confident in that choice, I have not shared this story for fear of repercussions. I feared having to justify my decision. I feared judgment. In the end these fears left me in the position of enduring the stresses of abortion alone. If there is anything I regret it is that I did not run out of Planned Parenthood screaming I had an abortion. I have the right to make this choice.
A year later, I still have neither regret nor guilt. I have sworn to be a source of strength for my daughters as they endure the pains and happiness that choice can provide. One day my husband and I might adopt. One day we may simply travel the world. One day we may just have another child of our own. When this occurs it will be our choice. Until then we shall acknowledge those who paved the way and allowed us to make the decision which was best for us. Our hearts will be with those who have yet to find choice or those who are struggling to make decisions.
- Blog for Choice 2013 (columbusfamilycounseling.com)