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The Fear Of Choice

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Being pregnant for the second time round should make me somewhat of a veteran at the highs and lows of pregnancy and yet I wasn’t ready for a surge of indecisiveness that swept through my mind for a few heartfelt seconds last weekend.

Apart from the regular checks I had agreed for a new test that would test the fetus for Down’s syndrome and other potential fetal diseases. Sitting in the nurse’s office I signed a consent form for the test and while we discussed the pros and cons of a scenario that could go either way I cut the subtle probing of the nurse short and informed her that if anything was wrong for the baby then we wouldn’t carry forward the pregnancy due to practical reasons.

Nodding her head she took us (my husband and two year old son included) into a darkened room for my first ultra sound.

The little one was no more than the size of a jumbo shrimp and yet it looked like a miniature human being. Arms and legs flailed as the fetus flipped back and forth.Its heart, kidney and spine were well formed. The brain still had to develop and yet looking at the little being my husband and I both felt a sneaky happy feeling warm our hearts.

Here was our son’s next brother or sister growing under my heart and come end July there would be four of us instead of three. I could hardly wait for the next ultra sound to find out the sex of the baby to start shopping and pouring through baby name books.

The technician took the various snapshots of the baby’s nape and spine to check for defects and as she did that I realized that though the chances of my baby having Down’s syndrome were slim yet if something was wrong would I have the strength to carry forth my decision?

The results were as expected – the baby was fine. But I couldn’t get the thought out of my head. What if things had gone the other way?

My pro-choice beliefs had been put to test not by any moral or religious beliefs but by maternal instinct to protect what grew within me. I was glad that we as a couple didn’t have to face that tough decision but my beliefs regarding this whole issue had taken a beating.

Through the next few days I reflected on the meaning of life and how could we abort the life of a fetus just as we cull a deformed fry? I did realize that the emotional upheaval that went with it couldn’t be denied as I had felt a pale shadow of what a woman must go through. Yet I knew that despite my own mixed feelings, I still clung to the belief that a woman’s body is her own business and when the law is laid down on the woman’s reproductive system then she is no more than a breeding rabbit for the state.

The sanctity of life has been questioned and yet one has to be far sighted and realize that legislation in these personal aspects of the citizens’ lives would be the start of curbing of our rights and freedom by governments which by their very nature tend to be totalitarian or limiting in choice.

About Deepti Lamba

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Tough choices – woman face more of them than men, perhaps

  • Eric Olsen

    great post: very honest, probing, disconcerting, thanks SP. Very happy all is well and congrats on the new one to be, very happy you didn’t have to make any difficult decisions. I agree entirely such decisions must be kept legal, but that doesn’t make them any easier. I have been very very lucky with my four, but I know the anxiety before such things are confirmed very well.

    As self-absorbed as I am much of the time, I also know that four healthy children are the greatest gifts I have received, and deep down I don’t ever take that for granted. A great wife is a rather large plus as well (smile)

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Uh oh Eric, you called Dawn rather large. OK, you didn’t I’m just joking.

    Down Syndrome kids are fantastic. The “only” thing they need is LOTS of attention for longer – and they can often turn into very functioning members of society. Perhaps that’s what you’re alluding to, though.

    Why particularly were you thinking Down Syndrome?

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    dang lets get that comment off the top of the page

  • http://darkeroticism.blogspot.com swingingpuss

    Eric mentioned it because that is what I had talked about in my post. The fetus had been tested for not only Down’s Syndrome but other birth defects too.

  • http://darkeroticism.blogspot.com swingingpuss

    You’re right Eric it’s a blessing to have a great marriage and healthy kids. I have been asked a number of times by my single friends whether I miss the freedom I enjoyed before I had a family and I tell them that the only thing I miss is sleep.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Eric Olsen

    a little more free time would be nice also, of course it’s little kids who take up most of that so I had a nice break for several years between my two “sets”

  • http://squaringtheglobe.blogspot.com Harry Forbes

    Congratulations, SP, and a great post. I agree that having 4 people around the dinner table is a great blessing, and I hope you enjoy it every day (even the crazy ones).

    With respect to pro-choice/pro-life, our country has had zero intelligent political dialog on this issue since 1973 when wide bounds on legislation were set by the judiciary in a case pressed by pro-choice activists. With their hands tied by the courts, politicians of the right are free to posture without being forced to vote on serious proposals that would force them to compromise. The same pro-choice activists have opposed all legislation that restricts the legal right to abortion in any way; thus protecting by law even late-term procedures that are overwhelmingly abhorred by the electorate.

    Had this issue remained within our legislatures, we would today be much further toward resolving it, and (a pro-life Republican speaking here) the Democratic party would be in far better shape.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Down Syndrome kids are fantastic. The “only” thing they need is LOTS of attention for longer – and they can often turn into very functioning members of society

    This is not entirely true. It depends upon the person and the severity of his/her disability. My husband worked in the mental health system for several years with adults with Downs (and other forms of mental retardation), and his clients varied in their abilities and their emotional/mental stability. Some of them were very high functioning and could hold down jobs; others were truly mentally deranged and were at times dangerous to themselves and others. And it didn’t matter if the Down’s clients came from loving/supportive families or not — the amount of love and support they received as children had no impact on the severity of their illness.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    “can”

    But yes that’s all true bhw

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    One of my girls was originally diagnosed as a Downs child. She had many of the facial characteristics as she grew, too, and was slow to acquire most of the landmarks of growth. We worked with her, though, and just accepted her timetable for development.

    She is now (like both of us) an avid reader, was a C-B+ student throughout high school, and is now in college. As Temple said, with extra attention, such children are capable of more than most people would believe.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Glad to hear the good news Dr. P.

  • JR

    With respect to pro-choice/pro-life, our country has had zero intelligent political dialog on this issue since 1973 when wide bounds on legislation were set by the judiciary in a case pressed by pro-choice activists. With their hands tied by the courts, politicians of the right are free to posture without being forced to vote on serious proposals that would force them to compromise. The same pro-choice activists have opposed all legislation that restricts the legal right to abortion in any way; thus protecting by law even late-term procedures that are overwhelmingly abhorred by the electorate.

    Yeah, kind of like free speech. The first ammendment prohibits any restriction; thus protecting by law even Nazi propoganda which is overwhelmingly abhorred by the electorate.

  • Eric Olsen

    I might agree that the consequences of the debate have been altered by Roe V Wade, but Icertainly don’t see the debate itself quashed: it is ongoing, heated and engaged. And as far as I know there are plently of restrictions to open-ended abortion. I thought it was only the first trimester that is completely protected

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com alienboy

    Great post by swingingpuss – and a pleasure to read such a thoughtful and honest piece, an example to us all.

    as to the issue: i fail to see ANY reason why the state should be involved in regulating access to abortion or any other such matter.

    I’m not up on the history (too young) but I rather thought the original limiting legislation was a Republican initiative limiting late term abortion – which is obviously where the real difficulties lie.

    Isn’t it a little ironic that the people defending the freedom of medical choice are more Democratic than Republican, but it is more normal to hear the Republicans banging on about freedom?

    The state should however be regulating extremely carefully those who perform such surgery, to ensure the highest possible standards of care and treatment for all patients; as all surgery, no matter its context, is ALWAYS stressful enough in and of itself.

  • http://darkeroticism.blogspot.com swingingpuss

    There is a lot of grey area in this issue.
    Common sense tells us that most women/couples who would go in for partial birth abortion wouldnt be getting it done just because they changed their minds. There would have to be some serious medical reasons.

    At the same time I am not comfortable with this practice as the procedure seems barbaric.

    At heart it seems I am pro-life but because of my political views I’m pro-choice.Hard to explain this dichotomy

    Thanks for reading alien boy

  • JR

    Ever seen plastic surgery? Now there are some barbaric procedures.