June 26, 2005

Adoption and the Single Girl

So much of life isn't what we're told it is when we're young. Professor Purkinje talked a lot about this when he and his wife were coping with infertility: "they said science was hard, but getting a girl pregnant was really, really easy. It turns out that science is relatively easy, but getting my wife pregnant is next to impossible."

It's so easy to slip into the completely sexist mindset of thinking infertility is more painful for the woman. But it can be just as devastating to the man involved. I'm involved in an "infertility and adoption" group through my church, and I was talking to a guy about my regrets that I had had an abortion at the age of 20. Of course, it turns out he's going through the same thing: one of his girlfriends had an abortion when he was in college. It's especially painful for those of us who desperately want kids to contemplate the fact that we could have produced them at one time, but destroyed them instead.

"I had so much family support. I could have raised the child. But at the time no one thought about it: abortion was just what you did."

"I wasn't ready to raise anyone," I insist. "I just wanted to make an adoption plan. I was with So-and-so, however, who was very controlling: adopted himself, he nonetheless couldn't stand the idea that there was a child of 'his' out there."

"Has he ever tried to make contact with his own birthmother?"


"Would he have signed the paperwork for adoption if you'd refused the abortion?"

This caught me short. I've been berating myself for over 20 years for not standing up to this guy and having the baby. But perhaps he would have insisted that we keep the child and try to raise it. And he was twisted: a practicing alcoholic at the time. I wasn't any better. And my relationship with my mother was so stormy she didn't even know I'd been pregnant until it was all over. I'll never know what would have happened if I'd shown more backbone.

Fathers have rights, and it's a good thing, too. And the knee-jerk rush toward abortion as the only solution to the problem of unplanned pregnancies is a tragedy for men and women.

Girls should grow up with good men as fathers. In the same house with them. That way, they will recognize true strength when they see it, rather than mistaking stubbornness for real masculinity. They'll be a lot less likely to "fall in love" with someone merely because they appear smart.

Evaluating a potential spouse's character is one of the most important things we'll do as adults, and we need good parents to do it.

That's all I know right now: don't have sex with people you can't trust. And most certainly don't move in with them.

(I picture young people around the world linking this entry and poring over every word, because they are so well-known for seeking out advice from their elders. I also believe in the Great Pumpkin, by the way.)

I don't care if you're liberal or conservative, athiest or a member of some faith. There are alternatives to the wholesale taking of human life we engage in. We need to make more use of them. Please think it over.

Posted by Attila at June 26, 2005 10:21 AM | TrackBack

And most certainly don't move in with them.

Oh hear, hear!

I didn't know you had been through an abortion. Thanks for sharing that experience. That took guts.

Posted by: ilyka at June 27, 2005 06:16 AM

Thank you. Just sharin' what's on my mind.

Posted by: Attila Girl at June 27, 2005 08:20 AM

I also believe in the Great Pumpkin, by the way

Belief takes a lot of courage in today's world.

This was a beautiful post, and well worth the making if it makes even one person stop and think. You can't transplant experience, and you certainly can't go back and change history.

I, too, have things I regret in my past. I think we all do, to some extent. But I believe things happen for a reason, no matter how much pain they cause.

For what it's worth, I wish you joy :) You have so much to give.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 28, 2005 04:42 PM

You're very sweet.

I think/hope we'll be good parents.

I only hope that in the future girls can think about this from all possible angles--not just the one that says, "it's my body, and I'll do what I want."

To which I reply: Well, of course it's your body. And of course you'll do what you want. But be careful, or you might find yourself with some regrets.

Posted by: Attila Girl at June 28, 2005 04:55 PM

I know you will be a wonderful mother - I can tell from your writing.

I can remember being about 18 and seeing Isaac Asimov speak at Hampton Roads. He said something that really made me angry at the time (I was something of a liberal) but it stuck with me and made me think. He said that birth control should be the woman's responsibility.

Not because that was fair.

But because if she got pregnant, it was her life, more than anyone else's, that would be affected, either way. Even if she couldn't foresee the consequences at the time. And all the technology in the world couldn't make men and women equal in that regard or change that one basic, biological fact.

It was, he said, something women ignore at their peril and something the sexual revolution and women's lib had overlooked, to the disservice of young women.

Very thought-provoking and very true. I didn't like it at the time, but I couldn't argue with the basic truth of it, either, and I believe Asimov was a liberal as well. But a realistic one.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 29, 2005 03:05 AM

We do happen to be the sex that gets pregnant. And getting mad won't make that go away; it's just the truth.

Posted by: Attila Girl at June 29, 2005 06:29 AM

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