On the crack bored Politics forum, there is currently a discussion going on about abortion. Specifically what this is about is a man who tried to get a court to stop his girlfriend (now an ex) from getting an abortion.
So here's what I posted.
I support a woman's right to choose to have an abortion.
What I don't like is the attitude that men don't matter and should not be consulted and should be discarded in the choice. And I don't like the attitude that men *by definition* suffer less from abortion, childbirth, adoption, or child-rearing. Sure some do. Some don't. I don't presume to know the pain or experience that a woman goes through with such a choice or it's aftermath. Don't presume to know what a man goes through. Or even compare it. Because you can't walk a mile in the other person's moccasins.
I've had a child of mine aborted without asking me. She wasn't an ex (not at the time). And she tried to keep it a secret. The experience was extremely painful to me.
So please, come down from your moral high ground.
That was the first time (and now one of only two times) that I have publicly let this be known. In October of 2001, my then girlfriend April let me know she was pregnant and that she had scheduled an appointment to get an abortion. She asked me how I felt. I was somewhat in shock, although I suspected a pregnancy had been responsible for her moods. (I later found out that she was naturally this moody.) I didn't want her to get an abortion, but I did not tell her that night. She was alternatively looking for my support and angry with me for getting her pregnant. Not really a valid accusation, for a number of reasons, but I don't want to derail my thoughts. Her friend had convinced her to tell me.
I talked with a good friend of mine who had gotten an abortion at age 17. She gave me some advice on how to behave. She talked with me about how I felt. Although I am not really ready to have children, this felt like I was losing something of myself. Two things kept me from bringing this up with April. 1st, I knew she would never ever agree to carrying the child to term, even if I was willing to take custody and relieve her of financial responsibility. She was concerned with her employment. What her mom would think. What her friends would think. 2nd, and much more selfishly, I knew that if I did convince her to do this, that April would be in my life until the child turned 18 at the very least. I could not bear the thought of sharing parenting with this woman. Not a good sign of a positive relationship.
I did not abandon April, even though I cried every night at home for the week up until the abortion. This was somewhat out of duty, some out of wanting to do the right thing, some out of concern for her welfare, some because she was truly hurting. But in the back of my head, I knew it was only a matter of time before things came to a head. I paid for her medical expenses out of my pocket I accompanied her to the clinic. I drove her home. I fed her the foods the doctor told me she should eat.
She came over to my place two days later. She started a fight with me. She picked and picked and picked at me, trying to get me to get angry. She yelled. She screamed. I avoided it, but eventually after much slamming of doors and shoving on her part, I finally broke down and got angry. She got physical, and I called the cops. I didn't want to be accused of domestic violence, so I simply stood and let her hit and slap me. After the 911 call, she finally broke. She fell sobbing on the couch, while I collapsed on the La-Z-Boy. She then left for good, just before the police arrived.
A day or so later, she was in the hospital for complications from the abortion. I am not sure what went wrong. She was discharged from one, and was home. I brought her more food (jello), sat with her for a day, and took her to another hospital for another surgery. Took her home and babysat her for another couple of days. Then I didn't see her for another 3 months, except for one talk.
So here I am almost 2 years later listening to the argument on the crack bored. The attitudes hurt. The dismissal of men's feelings in this hurts. I can live with this not being my choice. I went through that pain, and my own cowardice. What hurts though is the utter lack of recognition that this is in any way painful for men. I was presented with a fait accompli and I knew from the tone in April's voice that she didn't care what I thought or what my burden might be. And her discussions with me before and after confirmed that. I obviously wasn't going to have to carry the child. I wasn't going to go through an abortion procedure. So therefore I didn't matter.
And now I hurt again. It all comes back.
One last note. Until now, only one person in my life has known this story. My friend Sara has been my confidant for years. One other person knew a little about this, my friend Erica, who I revealed this to during a late night discussion about pregnancy. Although I told her only the barest outline of this story.
No one else knew, although Jason suspected. Jason, I'm sorry that I didn't talk to you about this. I couldn't risk any of this getting to my mother's ears. My mother really liked April, and knowing my mother's beliefs about abortion (she's Catholic), I wanted to protect April from her opinion. I wanted to protect my mom from the pain I know this would cause her. She wants grandkids. Badly. I watched her cry when she found out Matt was a possible father, but that his girlfriend's had abortions. Years later when she found out she bawled. She could barely go on with the family gathering.
So although I am revealing this here, I ask that you please not discuss it with anyone save me. Jason, you know what would happen if your sisters were to find out. And although few of you know my family, my brother Dan occasionally will visit a club with me when in town. Jason's sisters and several other friends who are connected to them come out. It's not exactly club discussion topic #1, but treat this with the most care possible.
My one secret is now no longer secret. I kept it secret to save my mother pain. Eventually, she will find out, but I hope that this does not happen for a few more years. But right now my secret needs to come out or it will eat me.