Baby’s First Reproductive Rights Conference!

Somehow the year I have a teeny baby is the year I actually get it together to go to the CLPP Conference at Hampshire College. I figured they might let me bring Jolene, if I banished her to childcare all day, but I emailed them and she is welcome to come to all the workshops! So she will be tagging along, in the Moby or (fingers crossed) the new Ergo I got on ebay for  50 bucks (I am so seriously proud of my bidding skills, those things are $130 new… Hopefully it will come in time).

People from the Prison Birth Project will be speaking along with a million other rad people and organizations that I haven’t even heard of. I am pushing myself to not just go to the workshops on the medicalization of birth, but I’m going to be honest, I spend 85% of my waking life talking about babies and birth and I wish it was 95%.

We’ll see how it goes. Jolene is pretty good at being in public (nursing, sleeping and charming at all the right moments) and I have a feeling it will be a pretty forgiving crowed. My biggest fear is that she is going to start crying at the Abortion Speak Out and everyone will get upset and throw things at us.

I know that won’t happen. I think my real fear is that people will find out my real feelings about abortion. Mainly that I think it is wrong. I’m not sure when exactly life begins, but having carried around a squirmy kicky baby for 9 months, it certainly isn’t at birth. Therefore abortion, particularly of the third trimester variety is, in my opinion, destroying a life. I know. I am a terrible liberal. It scares me sometimes, to think that if I was raised in a different family, in a different state perhaps, I could be on the “other side” driving around with a bumper sticker that says “Smile! Your mom chose life!”

But I do consider myself to be Pro-Choice. I can feel whatever I feel and believe whatever I believe but I am not going to tell a 14-year-old who that is carrying her uncle’s baby to think of it as  a “blessing from God” (a la Rick Santorum).  A friend, recently asked me what I would say if she decided to get an abortion. I thought about it. I told her that it would make me very sad, but I would support whatever she decided. I am pretty sure that the majority of my friends would get abortions if they became pregnant right now. Some of them already have. Do I judge them for it? No way.

I admire the control they feel over their own bodies. And I don’t mean that in a scary, anorexia kind of way. I have never felt particularly “in control” of my body, more like I am “along for the ride.” This has been true from puberty, to my struggles with mental illness, to giving birth. Especially giving birth.  For me (and I realized having a sleeping infant that smells live lavender in my lap influences what I am writing a great deal) an abortion would be devastating. That being said, I have the incredible privilege of having a family that has supported me emotionally and financially through my unplanned pregnancy and single young motherhood. In conclusion, I plan on being celibate until Jolene is at least 10.

No really in conclusion, I have a lot of living left to do (isn’t this always the conclusion?). Perhaps I am an abortion agnostic. Despite my fear (of being found out, of straight up fainting, of my crying baby), I am excited for the Abortion Speak Out. Maybe I need to throw it all up in the air. I’ll tell you all about it.

I am a work in progress
dressed in the fabric of a world unfolding
offering me intricate patterns of questions
rhythms that never come clean
and strengths that you still haven’t seen

-Ani DiFranco



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6 responses to “Baby’s First Reproductive Rights Conference!

  1. Anna

    from what I understand, most liberals agree with your point that third trimester abortions aren’t ok: they are illegal in most states and only are carried out in situations where the mother is in serious mortal danger. yay for rational people.


  2. shutterfly is so terrible! im going to try again now to download some

  3. Anna

    AHHHH LOVE THE NEW PICTURES. Also Jolene is BEAUTIFUL. I am so jealous of the pics where Sasha and Maya are holding her. I want to meet her soooo badly. Hopefully/maybe I can come up to Amherst right before I graduate…

  4. Grace

    This was a really thoughtful and interesting post. Also, anyone who tries to make you feel bad about your beliefs re abortion is obviously pretty unclear about what proCHOICE means. I love you and Jolenie. MOAR PICS.

  5. I have very similar views on abortion and I’m very liberal. It wouldn’t be for me and I don’t believe abortions are apropriate after a certain gestational age unless the mother is in danger of sorts. However having gone through pregnancy now, I completely understand someone choosing abortion over adoption in the early stages of an unplanned pregnancy. If you don’t plan on raising said child, it’s a LOT to sacrifice and go through and i think women should have that choice, they will find other ways and always have, why not make it a safe choice at least.

    • true that. the insanity that is being pregnant and giving birth has for sure made me more pro choice. i think before i experienced that i felt that more people who have abortions should consider adoption. easier said than done. being at this conference this weekend, i have realized how many people believe that abortion is unethical, but access to abortion is crucial. particularly because, guess what, people will be having abortions regardless of legality.

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