Jun 8, 2011

You Can't Have Half

Warning: this blog post is not fluffy. It's about a real issue and is kinda serious in nature. Read at your own risk.
Monday night I had drinks and dinner with some fabulous former coworkers. Most of our meal was fun and fluffy but somehow we got to talking about a (hypothetical) predicament that we'd either seen amongst friends or in my case, had seen on Grey's Anatomy.

If you are in a serious relationship or marriage and you don't want kids but you get pregnant, what do you do? Compound that with the man in the relationship wanting kids.

On the one hand I'm pro-choice. But just because I believe in having the choice, doesn't mean I believe abortion is the right answer most the time or even half the time. The choice just exists. If you are married though (or in a very serious relationship, I'm just gonna keep saying "married" and "husband" for simplicity), is it just your choice? It is both of yours baby but you are the one who has to carry it in your body for 9 months. And even pregnancy aside, if you don't want to be a mother, should you have a baby for the sake of your husband? Is a kid whose mother doesn't want to be a mother going to have much of a shot?

We all agreed that it wasn't a decision you could make without talking to your husband. I would say though to some extent, that was where agreement ended. Personally I view it as someone having to give in (though I don't really like that phrase in this instance). Either you are going to agree to have the baby against your initial desires and hope it all turns out OK or he is going to agree to let you have an abortion. Or you are going to tell him that you hear him, you understand he wants a baby but you cannot compromise and you are not having a baby. Let's face it, at the end of the day there's not really a compromise in this situation; you can't have half a baby.

It's really a no win situation. But know it is a no-win situation, what do you do?

Personally, I'm just thank my lucky stars, the baby-gods and the marriage-gods that my hubs and I are on the same page. No we're not quite ready to become parents but if I woke up pregnant tomorrow (extremely unlikely), eh so we'd become parents sooner than expected. It'd be fine.

But what do you think? How should one handle the uncompromising nature of having children or not having them?


Ashley Dentremont said...

I know I'm a bit late (just re-entering into my own blog world and doing some catch up on my readings - always makes me smile to read some Cheryl insight), but I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents on the matter as this is an issue I'm quite passionate about.

This is certainly something that all couples should talk about when they encroach upon the "we're now serious about being together for the long-run" decision.  That being said, and open communication being a given within healthy relationships, I think in the end it's up to the one who would carry the child.  Since that role is still only for women, then yes, I say it's the woman's choice.  Of course she should consider her partner's feelings, but in the end if it's something that she doesn't want then she shouldn't have it.  There are far too many kids in orphanages around the world, it would be cruel to add another, as it would also be cruel to force a woman to live with something that could have been remedied... what if she doesn't feel a connection with her child, and fears whatever bond they share is superficial, because she only had the child at the will of another's?  Psychological problems with mom will certainly influence the child.

I understand Amanda's point, I used to think the same - don't have sex if you don't want a baby.  But that's just not realistic anymore.

Of course, abortion should not be used as birth control, and I highly doubt that's how anyone uses it.  It's there for emergency situations, and not just in situations of rape.  Emotional, financial, and maturity emergencies are just as important.  If some one is not emotionally stable, financially able, or mature enough to carry and raise a child, it should not be developed and then brought into this world.  This is a decision that can be made immediately, before it has developed into a human being.

Also, sex is not just about procreation, it's about being intimate with some one you love.  It's about experiencing a glorified moment and being able to share it with someone.  It's about being able to and wanting to please each other, to make each other feel as wonderful as possible.  There's so much of a stigma around sex, which I used to struggle with myself, about it being a dirty act and you should feel guilty if you ever partook in sex without the intention to create or without it resulting in a child.  But it's not.  It's a beautiful union.

I'm beginning to digress.  Back to the topic at hand, it should be discussed.
If in the end it's found that the man does not want it, the woman has to consider keeping it and raising it alone, perhaps choose his baby or him in some extreme cases.  It's even more tricky if the man is insistent on not having a child of his own, because that baby would be half of him, so his rights have to be considered as well.
If in the end it's the woman that does not want it, then that's it.  Perhaps it may end the relationship, but that's just how the story goes.

In short - if kids aren't on your mind, use a condom everytime.

Cheryl said...

I like this last line "if kids aren't on your mind, use a condom every time" and the pill and anything else you can think of

Amanda LaMartina said...

Well, you're not gonna like my pro-life answer, but here it is. If you are COMPLETELY not okay with the idea of becoming pregnant ever, you shouldn't be having sex. Full stop.

This is one of the HUGE issues I have with birth control. It has allowed us as a society to detach the idea of sex from the idea of pregnancy. Now, I'm not saying only have sex when you're trying for a baby. (We're 12 months pregnancy free and proud of it, without utilizing any methods of artificial birth control!) I'm saying, you have to accept pregnancy as a potential outcome of whatever actions you choose to take in the bedroom. I'm all for choices, but once you've created another life, it's not just your choice anymore, because it's not just your life. That ship has sailed, and you need to suck it up, grow up, and deal with the consequences. Whether that means keeping the baby, or giving it up for adoption- it's already there in your belly and you don't get to just sweep that away because you can't see yourself having children.

(As a side note, this is quite obviously a harder line than I'd take in talking to a teenager who was pregnant. This is directed at that hypothetical couple in a serious relationship or marriage who became pregnant by surprise. A talk aimed at a young girl would have much less "suck it up" in it, though the tenants of the "it's not just your life" message would remain the same.)

All that said. Ooh. Rough situation, Christina.

Cheryl said...

So while I'm definitely pro-choice myself, you do make a good point. If you don't want to be pregnant there is a fool-proof way to avoid that.

Also I think having this kind of disagreement with your spouse may show signs of a deeper issue: that you weren't already clear on whether or not you want kids. Granted there may be couples who agree they want kids...in a decade but in my experience, most married couples who want kids eventually have said they'd keep the baby, even if it was years earlier than anticipated.

Cheryl said...

btw congrats on being 12 months pregnancy free! Successful and natural birth control can't be easy (as I'm sure you can attest to). But also given the 2 you have, at least we know you make cute babies. When your pregnancy free streak ends, it will be another cutie-patootie.