Monday, August 30, 2010

Alien Invasion

Pregnancy has done strange things to me. Not that it's a surprise. But as I yield more and more of my body over to the two aliens, and as I become fiercely protective these things who aren't even human yet, just little balls of nerves and bone and developing brain matter, I also become more sure of some of the things that I once argued as a feminist undergraduate philosophy major. These were positions that seemed right to my 22 year old self, but I had no life experience on which to base them.

I find myself even more fiercely pro-choice, even as I find myself deeply attached to every burp, flip, and kick in my growing belly. I was always pro-choice since about the age of 15 or so, once I was able to understand that the issue wasn't about baby-killing but about a woman's right to choose what happens to her body. But somewhere, there was always a twinge of doubt in the back of my mind.

I understand now. This isn't a pregnancy; it's an alien invasion. My moods, my body, my health, my sense of self is increasingly tied up in these two non-beings. How I feel about the world depends on the flood of hormones hitting me at any given time. (I started crying when my husband said he couldn't fix me grilled cheese because of lack of bread). It's a hijacking. I'm sharing my body. It's like the last chapter of "Beloved."

It's okay. I've consented to this take over of my rights, my body, my self.

I can't imagine how horrifying this is for someone who hasn't fully consented to it and does not want it. I've secretly sometimes thought that people with unplanned pregnancies should stick it out and give the baby up for adoption. I now realize what that would entail.

I even ran into a case where someone was terminating a pregnancy based on a child's disability, something I oppose with all my being. But I could not bring myself to feel anything but sadness for her and her impossible choice, even as I've spoken out against selective abortion before. I expected to feel some sense of private condemnation of her, but I could not.

It's a paradox -- many many anti-choice people are mothers who assume because they loved every second of their pregnancies and consented to this invasion of their minds and bodies that everyone else should love it too. I almost think of it as akin to a sex act -- to consent to share your body with someone else does not mean that you would feel the same about the same act if you did not give consent.

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