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No Choice But Pro Choice

Updated on July 23, 2012
clockwise from left: pregnancy #3, pregancy #13, Dad, babysitter, Mom, pregnancy #13, pregnancy # 6, pregnancy #10, and pregnancy #4 in 1963.
clockwise from left: pregnancy #3, pregancy #13, Dad, babysitter, Mom, pregnancy #13, pregnancy # 6, pregnancy #10, and pregnancy #4 in 1963.
1981 picture of #3's wedding.  Clockwise from left: #3, #6, Mom, Dad, #13, #4, #10, babysitter, and #13.
1981 picture of #3's wedding. Clockwise from left: #3, #6, Mom, Dad, #13, #4, #10, babysitter, and #13.


My mother was pregnant 13 times in 10 years. 5 of her pregnancies resulted in healthy full term deliveries (including one set of twins). 8 of her pregnancies ended in spontaneous abortions, also known as miscarriages. My older sister was my mother’s third pregnancy and first born. Before my older sister was born, my mother was ordered to have complete bed rest. While she was awaiting the birth of my sister, she made a beautiful christening gown that was worn by all of us except one of the twins. I was born 16 months later, her 4th pregnancy. When I was 6 months old, my mother had a miscarriage, which was pregnancy number 5. 12 months later, in October, my mother gave birth to my brother who was her 6th pregnancy. 2 years and 2 miscarriages passed without any trauma I can recollect. When my mother had 3 healthy children ages 5, 4 and 3, mother had her ninth pregnancy and sixth miscarriage. I remember this miscarriage; my mother was hemorrhaging badly and carried down the stairs on a stretcher with blood dripping from her body. The attendants had to stop on the stairs and put something on my mother to keep the blood from coming. My maternal grandmother and my father who was crying went to the hospital. My paternal grandmother stayed with me and my brother and sister. 54 years later, I still remember that night. My grandmother told me to put my pajamas on and I yelled at her that they were not my pajamas, and she smacked my bare bottom hard and told me to put them on anyway. Today, I understand my grandmother’s fears that she might not have been caring for her grandchildren for just a night or two.


I don’t remember how long my mother stayed in the hospital. I remember my father bringing home bags of candy and hamburgers and letting us drink chocolate milk and soda. My mother soon recovered and came home. Within a year, she was pregnant with another sister, and enjoyed a normal, healthy delivery with a full term baby. Between my sister, who was child number 4, and pregnancy number 10, my mother miscarried two more times before giving birth to twin girls. Before returning home from the hospital with the twin newborns, Mom had a tubal ligation (fallopian tubes were cut and tied).


Mom had complete health coverage, a husband and a large extended family. Over the years, I asked her about birth control. Birth control (contraception) was not legal in the US for married couples until 1966. Unmarried or single women could legally obtain contraceptives in 1972. You could, before 1972 get birth control pills if you told your doctor you had unbearable cramps during your period.


Regarding the 8 fetuses that could have been my siblings; I never knew them, they did not have faces, or temperaments, or needs, and they were mostly clumps of cells the size of a cashew nut. In this situation, their demises were spontaneous, and no medical intervention could have saved them.


My mother endured too much with all of her pregnancies. There are medical developments for women today that will save lives and keep women healthier. When it comes to the body within the body, decisions need to be made by the woman who is affected. Any advice should come from whomever she chooses to ask. Referendums, legal actions and public protests by people (mostly men) with different religious beliefs or political aspirations, should stay the hell out of her business. She has enough on her plate!


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    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 

      6 years ago from Tennesee

      Anne, I was very moved by your mother's story. I know this subject often evokes the worst behavior from people, but I tend to believe there is no black or white stance in this issue. I believe life is sacred, whether it is an unborn child or the mother who carries that child. And I also believe sometimes the Gods give us very hard choices to make. One of those choices may come as a question of saving the mother's life, allowing her to raise her already born children. It is not a light choice to make, and anyone who acts as if they are god and have the right to condemn a woman to death for the sake of rigid beliefs is not, I feel, a very godly person to begin with. I am not comfortable with the idea of abortion being used as a matter of convenience, but when it is indeed a matter of preventing the death of a woman I don't believe I or anyone have the right to play god.

      Warm blessings :)

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      iantoPF: What a sensitive and kind response. Your words evoked another feeling I have about this, and that is that the woman who is experiencing difficult choices has to make frequently has to consider her responsibilities to her already existing children. It is a very tough issue that requires compassion and support as opposed to dogma and religious zealotry.

    • iantoPF profile image

      Peter Freeman 

      6 years ago from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales

      Hello Anne!

      This is a very powerful and moving Hub. Thank you for writing it. If you don't mind I would like to express my views;

      Pregnancy and birth are painful and traumatic experiences. No one has the right to force another human to experience pain and trauma. In the case of childbirth it must be the choice of the individual, at the time, to make the choice. No one should force the choice on her. With regard to choices, the problem with the education of young people is that they are not presented with a full range of choices from an early age. Young women should be thoroughly educated in all the options before they become pregnant, not after.

      Thank you again for writing so eloquently about such a difficult and personal subject. You have my full support.

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Dear SometimesCrazy,

      You are most certainly not alone! Women need to make their own decisions about their health and it's always gratifying to know that others agree. This is a very important issue about the well-being of everybody who has a mother, daughter, sister, or wife. Thanks for your comment.

    • SometimesCrazy profile image

      SometimesCrazy 

      6 years ago from Canada

      I love your article. I was starting to think I was the only one who thought abortion and the pill were good things.

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Dear Charles Hilton, My favorite sentence in your comment is: "....how people love to blame society's ills on those freedoms they don't approve of." Great!!! Thanks

    • profile image

      Charles Hilton 

      6 years ago

      I find it unacceptable that men still presume to decide what's best for women, especially where her reproductive capacity is concerned. It's bad enough that society still practices a double standard; labeling promiscuous women as "whores" and "sluts" while praising a promiscuous man as "dawg" and "playa."

      What angers me even more is how people love to blame society's ills on those freedoms they don't approve of. The religious are notorious for this.

      Wow, am I glad I found you!

      Great hub and well written.

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 

      6 years ago

      Thank you, Anne, and I appreciate you, too. You are one of my good friends here on HubPages.

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Feenix,

      Please don't apologize for us having a conversation that is important. We are supposed to be the "wise ones" at this time in our lives. I have been very frustrated at the sort of dialogue going on in the press, and I enjoy a civil conversation with you. I appreciate you.

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 

      6 years ago

      Anne,

      I apologize for being argumentative and confrontational on your page. That was very discourteous of me.

      I do respect your views concerning women's contraception and abortion, and I believe that you are quite justified in seeing things the way you do.

      I had no business trying to impose my way of thinking on you, and trying to upstage you on your hub page.

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Feenix,

      I do not understand how you can blame all of these things on the pill? Even if you can, things are what they are, and taking away access to proven health treatments for women does not resolve these other social issues which existed long before the pill and were exacerbated by many things besides birth control pills. It is very upsetting to me that you would control access for myself and my daughters because of your perceptions which are very distorted.

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 

      6 years ago

      Anne,

      Back when I was a young black man in the early-to-mid 1960s, there was hardly any such thing as young black men who went around making babies at will and failing to be good fathers to their offspring.

      In fact, back in the 1960s, about 80% of the black households with children were headed by married couples (compared to only about 25% today).

      Then along came the "Pill" which engendered a situation in which women and girls could have sex as often as they pleased, without fear of getting pregnant.

      And, as a result of that, U.S. society exploded. It erupted into such things as "one-night stands," "friends with benefits," sex orgies, spouse swapping, "open marriages," and teenage boys and young adult males having sex with as many females as they could get their hands on.

      And things rapidly reached the point where a great many of the males and females who were participating in the free-for-all -- that had been ignited by the "pill" -- without using any "protection."

      So, every time you see an irresponsible unwed teen boy who has fathered four, five or six children -- or an irresponsible unwed teen girl who has given birth to four, five or six children, you are seeing an outgrowth of the atmosphere of permissiveness that was engendered by "pill."

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      your comment is sensitive and well written. I know that I look like a "privileged white woman," but I grew up in a diverse environment, and my children are color-blind mostly. My daughter recently married an african american man who is my son in every way and I am proud to be seen with him. The Christian Patriarchal culture here in the South does not help young people make good choices and I do not see abortion and the "pill" causing the damage that teen pregnancy and young men who do not care for the children they father cause.

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 

      6 years ago

      Hello, Anne,

      This is a powerful hub.

      Because I am 65 years old, I am very knowledgeable of the way things were back in the early 1970s and before concerning birth control, or the lack thereof.

      Now, I am not going to go into detail about it here, but the "Pill" and abortion-on-demand have inflicted a high degree of damage on America's black society.

      In fact, I have written several hubs about that reality, as well as a number of articles about it on other sites.

      And similar to what Sir Isaac Newton surmised, For every action there are consequences -- and among the consequences of the "Pill" and abortion-on-demand are very high numbers of teens and adults having irresponsible sexual relations, and having little or no regard for the sanctity of life.

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for your fortification marywanders!

    • marywanders profile image

      marywanders 

      6 years ago from minnesota

      This is one of my hobby horses, no one but the woman in the body should be able to make decisions for it.

      I will not tell any woman to have or not have an abortion as it is HER body.

      I don't think a pregnancy has rights over the body that holds it.

      Anyone who wants to force their opinion on another is just plain wrong.

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Good for you for speaking out Junko!

    • junko profile image

      junko 

      6 years ago

      I think the government nor man should have control and deny a woman complete control of motherhood. I understand and support a woman's right to choose based on personal reasons.

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Yes, it's not as if women's choices are easy choices. The public debate really minimizes the impact of the difficulty of choices women have.

    • profile image

      Contrary Mary 

      6 years ago

      This is a powerful statement for women. You should send it to every legislator with an available address! I think the Republican debates are the best comedy I've ever seen.

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      I need to stop watching the Republican debates. Too depressing.

    • profile image

      PWalker281 

      6 years ago

      I think women (and enlightened men) are starting to speak up now with the attention this issue of birth control is receiving on the Internet. I'm seeing a lot of activity on Facebook and receiving emails from groups to sign petitions and speak out. That's why I love the Internet. It's where our power lies.

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      How nice to see you! It is all right to say that. I have been wondering if the majority of hubbers is living in a patriarchal society, and the rest of us are so oppressed, we cannot speak up.

    • profile image

      PWalker281 

      6 years ago

      Couldn't have said it better myself. Stay the hell out of my vajayjay (hope it's alright to say that. If not, you don't have to post this). Voted up and awesome.

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