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