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.