Sunday, January 20, 2008


A friend of a friend found out she was pregnant. The friend of the friend (FOTF) made the brutally hard choice to terminate the pregnancy, for very personal reasons.

I feel a final exam coming.

Nearly 45 years of life and my view of abortion has swung from one end of the pendulum to the other and back, finding balance somewhere in the middle.

The middle, though? Can there be such a thing with that hot button topic? Can you be kinda for it and kinda against it? Is that where the issue of "choice" comes in? I don't know. I know that the more Buddhist I become the more I am able to let go of the choices other people make. I have opinions, but I don't want to be in charge of the world anymore, it's so damn tiring. I can only make choices for myself.

And my underage daughter? Do I make her choices for her?

Woohoo has been bugging me for weeks to take her to "Juno." She didn't want her dad to take her, she wanted me. Mother-daughter thing.

So yesterday we went. GREAT movie. We laughed. We cried.

And then we talked.

Like I was at her age (13) she is being shaped by her culture, and her school culture is Catholic. We chose that for her. That's where our choice took place.

"Mom, I wouldn't have an abortion AND I wouldn't give my baby up for adoption. I would keep it. I would want to make sure it was OK. Plus, I would have help. I'd have you."

"Hey! Don't get any wild ideas!" I say, trying to add levity.

"MOM!" she moans, "Of COURSE NOT! But, I'm just saying..."

The thought of being a grandmother in the next few years sends me into a panic.

Then into a peace.

I've always wanted three kids. What would I do if there were a baby in my life now? Not my baby, my daughter's baby. What would that even be like? Would it be the end of the world? Really?

The real-ness of this issue hit home for me. I am out of the baby making business now. Officially. She is just entering that stage of life where each month there is a possibility of life being formed. I've passed on the fertility baton. Is she ready to take it?

My walking buddy and dearest friend, Kathleen and I were revisiting this issue on our latest walk. She has three teenage daughters. This subject is close to her heart.

"You know," I said, "it's my belief in reincarnation that is helping me with this issue."

"How so?" she asked, wiping a tear from her eye. Could be the cold weather we're marching in, could be the sadness she feels about this lost life, could be both.

"I don't believe in accidents. Look how many lives have been affected by those 14 weeks of life in utero? That family, all the friends and now friends of the friends, we've all felt a shift. Who is to say that's not the reason that soul incarnated? Perhaps that is just what that soul signed up for. 14 weeks. No more, no less, and now that soul will reincarnate into another family member, perhaps."

We walk, talk, pontificate and try to settle into something that will ease the pain, the loss, the holier-than-thou thing we've got going.

I get home from the walk and put on Kris Delmhorst. She is it on a stick. The song comes on, "Lullaby 101." (Another great recommendation from Jess.)

Kris Delmhorst

sleep you little soldier boy, with your ear against the wall

you have held that rifle all of your life, now it's time to let it fall

sleep you little alibi, with your reasons in a row
you have turned in circles all of your life just so your shadow wouldn't show

dream with me, dream with me, we'll wake in better days,

and we'll build a boat and we'll hope that it floats

and then we'll sail, we'll sail away

sleep you little resume, with your head above the crowd
you have held your breath in all of your life just to make somebody proud

sleep you little reservoir, let your banks just overflow
no you can't contain all of that rain, you're gonna have to let it go

dream with me, dream with me, we'll wake in better light,
and until we rise with open eyes, goodnight, my love, goodnight
yes until some sun wakes everyone, goodnight, my love, goodnight

Let it fall.

Hope that it floats.

Sail away.

Let it go.

And until we rise with open eyes, goodnight, my love, goodnight.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the abortion issue. Over the years I've managed to be passionate at each end of the specturm. Never want to get into a discussion with me either because I can be passionately full of contradictions. I've been known to change my mind in mid self converstion. Won't be basing my vote on this issue as well. All of us are flawed in so many ways. I must say this does fill me with emotion. Life is life and no one owns anyone else's.
I'll be rethinking this again and again today. thank you for your post.

Wanda said...

Yes, I, too, am tired of trying to make decisions for the whole world--not to mention the fact that they don't listen to me anyway!

Beautifully written post, Carrie. Thank you.

Such big issues. I am grateful that I am not in the shoes of one having to make such decisions. May they...we...all be blessed.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'm surprised that someone so passionately on the road towards enlightenment cannot see what seems the ONLY easy and clear aspect of this complicated issue, which is how completely and utterly personal it is, and always has been. NO ONE has the right to tell a woman how to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. Everyone is passionate about the issue, and that is OK, as long as you don't think YOUR passions somehow trump MINE. This is hard for everyone, every individual who finds herself in this situation, and it is her hard choice, not your's, not the government's. Throughout history, legal or not, desperate women have been forced by circumstances into untenable situations around this issue. My very own grandmother, a profoundly religious and observant woman, confessed in tears, at the very end of her life, to having an abortion during the depression, sure that there would be no way to feed another mouth. She almost died in the process, aided only by some of her women friends, without adequate healthcare. Whenever any group try's to play G-d, by presuming they are better qualified to make this personal descision than the person carrying the potential life, they devalue the life of all women everywhere. We are not stupid, we can make our own moral, ethical and sometimes difficult choices!

Jerri said...

Love this post.

Strange, but it turns out that I'm gonna comment on a comment more than your post, Carrie.

You say clearly you've come to understand choice. Resigning from running the world means not needing to control anyone's choices. It means we recognize others' rights to their opinions in all ways, not just the ones we approve of.

The road to enlightenment is long and tangled. Above all, it's up to each individual to make it. Or not. As. They. Choose.

Good for you for knowing that.

Jess said...

Hard issues. I can't imagine how it must have been to talk to your daughter about this stuff, but good for you for taking her to that movie!

I have to say, I agree with Anon. there, though I don't love the tone. Not making other people's choices is not making other people's choices. Period. And admittedly I have a personal perspective on this because my mom had several abortions before I was born, and I think if she hadn't been able to do that, she wouldn't have become a mother at the time that felt right for her, and I might not be here. But you can twist that argument is all kinds of ways, so it just boils down to respecting that choice.

Love that you included Kris here. I must say I have never fully understood all of that song, though I like it. I guess I'm too literal sometimes. But I do know a good song.

Robin said...

I really loved reading your post today. It seems the longer I live the less sure I am about anything. Somedays I miss those teen years when I knew it all. Most days I am happy where I am.

deb said...

I found you through a Life of Triggers. I saw that movie, Juno, not long ago and loved it as well.

Last May my middle daughter got pregnant and had an abortion, without telling me until afterwards. It broke both our hearts. I grieved for my lost grandchild. I am pro choice but I don't know what I would have told her had she asked me. I was supposed to abort my son 25 years ago, but couldn't go through with it.

I was speaking to a nurse I work with last week, she sees people's energy, including that of unborn babies. We have a tech at work who is pregnant but there are problems, the baby may not survive so she talked to the nurse I mentioned above. The nurse told her that the message she got was wait. Now might not be the time for this soul to be born, but that this soul would eventually be born to the tech. The nurse explained to us that when baby is lost, that soul is not always lost, sometimes it just wasn't the right time, and all that's lost is tissue.

The nurse also told me that the soul of my unborn grandchild would come back into our family in the future. For some reason I believe her and I get great comfort from this thought.

Anyway, long first comment I know but I wanted to share this story with you. I'll be back to read more.

kario said...

Well, you know this subject is near and dear to my heart. So much so that I'm writing my book about it. Amazing the different perspectives that can be bandied about until it's you in that bathroom with the stick you've just peed on. Then, and only then, does it become real.

shauna said...

I was an accident. Although my mother wasn't in high school she was 19 and unmarried. My father wanted her to get an abortion; she refused. They got married. They got divorced. And I couldn't be more grateful to be here.

Good for you for talking to your daughter about what could be a touchy and awkward topic. And because of it she'll always feel comfortable coming to you to talk. That's priceless.