Sunday, September 26, 2010

The New York Times shares late abortionist's short-sightedness

Dr. William Harrison, Defender of Abortion Rights, Dies at 75

The New York Times obituary sings the praises of a man who, by his own reckoning, performed over 20,000 abortions in his career. The obituary goes to the heart of what abortion is, and how people get sucked into it. Harrison, if he is to be believed, thought he was helping women.

And it's easy to get into that mindset, to fall into the idea that if the woman is distressed at being pregnant, then abortion is the way to help her.

But is it?

The fact that she's contemplating -- or even seeking out -- abortion is surely a sign that she's distressed. Harrison saw that distress as evidence of a need for abortion:

“Oh, God, doctor, I was hoping it was cancer.”

Those words so affected Dr. William Harrison that for years, he said, he could not repeat them. They made him break down in tears.

The woman who spoke them — black, poor and middle-aged — had come in 1967 to the Arkansas hospital where Dr. Harrison was a medical student in obstetrics. A doctor, after examining her swollen belly, had told her she was pregnant.


"I was hoping it was cancer." That's a lot of distress. That's a lot of stress. That's a major crisis.

But is the first or most obvious response necessarily the right one? It's long been known that stress hampers the decision making process. Let's examine some of the impact of stress on decision-making:

  • The greater the stress, the more likely the person is to choose a risky alternative.
  • The greater the stress, the more likely the person is to make a premature choice without adequately weighing alternatives.
  • The greater the stress, the more difficult it is to think clearly and remain focused.
  • The greater the fear and frustration caused by the crisis, the more likely the person is to choose an aggressive or escape behavior ("fight or flight").
  • During times of stress, the person tends to think short-term, trying to escape the crisis.

    When pregnancy is such an intense stressor that the woman is contemplating abortion, she is making her decision under great stress. This means that she is likely to make a risky, premature, ill-thought-out decision based on what seems like the quickest way out of the immediate crisis. This does not mean that the pregnant woman is uniquely vulnerable; it means that she is just as likely to behave like a stressed-out person when the stress is due to pregnancy as she is if the stress is due to any other cause.

    A difficult pregnancy is, we can clearly see, a time of particular vulnerability for the woman. She is not likely to be in an emotional state that will lead her to gather all the information she needs. She is not likely to be thinking clearly. She is not likely to think past the first choice that looks as if it will solve her immediate problem and get her out of this crisis.

    We have all had this experience in our own lives, in ways both big and small. We've yelled at our kids when we should have handled the situation calmly. We've quit jobs when we should have effectively addressed a problem at work. We've tried to fix things ourselves, breaking them in the process, when we should have waited for expert help.

    There is not one of us who has not, in a time of stress, done what seemed like a good idea at the time, then come to regret it.

    The regret of having chosen abortion isn't simple buyer's remorse. It can be profound, soul-crushing distress that can end in suicide. A study in Finland, where government health care enables them to track all pregnancy outcomes and the aftermath, found the suicide risk of women who had undergone abortions to be six times higher than that of women who had given birth.

    And just why is it that abortion can leave the woman so wounded?

    Because before the abortion, her focus is on her immediate distress, to the point where there's something she's not seeing. Something she has the entire remainder of her life to see clearly -- but only after it is too late.

    Women are hard-wired for relationship, particularly their relationships with their children. And after the immediate crisis is over, and it's to late to have a do-over, the reality of what the abortion did has time to sink in. What the abortion did, hidden inside her body and invisible to her because of her focus on the immediate distress, is horrifying:



    It's easy to support abortion as long as you're able to ignore the reality of what happens inside the woman's body.

    And it's amazing the lies people can tell themselves to allow themselves to continue to dismiss the destruction:

    Dr. Harrison readily admitted that he destroyed life, but denied that he killed babies. His view was that an embryo was far from being a human being with a brain.


    Just so we're clear, the human brain is already "highly complex at just 8 weeks into life. Let's look at what The Visible Embryo says about a 42-days-into-pregnancy (six weeks into gestation, four weeks into life) embryo -- the youngest that, for most of Harrison's career, that you could abort a baby:

    Brain is well marked by its cerebral hemispheres. The hindbrain, which is responsible for heart regulation, breathing and muscle movements, begins to develop.
    About two days later, "The nasofrontal groove becomes distinct and an olfactory bulb (sense of smell) forms in the brain."

    And Harrison performed abortions throughout the entire first two trimesters of pregnancy. He was willing to do the destruction himself past 22 weeks -- a time when the fetus "recognizes maternal sounds such as breathing, heartbeat, voice, and digestion." And after 24 weeks, right up until term, he'd refer women to George Tiller.

    Why?

    The higher moral value to Dr. Harrison was salvaging the future of an often disadvantaged girl or woman.


    But Harrison simply assumed that the abortion was salvaging her future. He wasn't there after her baby was dead -- unless she, like half of all abortion patients, was returning for another abortion, and perhaps another, and another, and another. The abortion that was to free her may just have returned her for another cycle of poverty and abuse and abortion.

    Or she might manage to avoid another abortion, but still continue to suffer. Even women who remain firmly "prochoice" after their abortions often report devastation:

  • I am prochoice, but...:

    It is the worse feeling in the world, to know lying on that table, that you can't take it back. I have struggled with depression, flashbacks, anxiety and a big sense of loss. I also struggle with guilt, the guilt of having actually taken a life, yes a life. I believe now that life begins at conception. No it didn't look like a peanut, or a glob of jelly; it had arms, legs and eyes and moved around, although it was too early for me to feel.

    I was 9 weeks. I lost my life after i lost my child, i had to give up my apartment because i was too unstable to stay alone, and the memories, well they were overwhelming. I nearly lost my job, and it will be a constant reminder, babies and pregnant women everywhere,every day, commmercials, movies etc. It haunts me, and it goes right into the night. I like most women who have this thing called PASS: experience nightmares, terrible terrible ones, dead babies,crying babies, you name it; visit the dream board.

    I am just letting you know my personal experience. I am a 29 year old woman,who wouldn't recommend this to anyone.


  • Abortion: A Hell of a Decision:

    Slowly I began to notice little babies, and grief started to eat into my calm exterior. Pain such as I had never felt before worked its way into my vulnerable mind, and I realised that I was crumbling. The numb feeling that had protected me for so long was ebbing away, and I didn't know what to do. The reality of the termination had hit me in the form of grief and despair and above all guilt. I tried to reason with myself that I had no option, but that grief was being translated into anger. .... I couldn't sleep at night and during the day I alternated between self pity and pain. Worst of all were the frequent moments when tears just poured uncontrollably down my face.


  • Shawn's Story:

    I'm so sad... I'm so regretful for what could have been. .... Will I ever get over my regret? I want my baby back. .... I wish I would have thought through it more. I wish I would have taken the time to visit old friends I haven't seen in a long time... who have little children in their thirties. But I didn't... I was feeling pressed for time. As the more time that went by, the more attached I got. I was confused, I felt fat already and uncomfortable in my clothes. I wasn't married. Didn't want to get married... But would love to hold another big, fat healthy baby. I knew, with this one, there would be no arguing, no divorce or custody issues. I would be with this baby each and every day of its life. But its life never came to be... I'm still so sad... I feel I made the wrong choice. I believe in Pro-Choice... but why aren't those clinics given more counseling requirements. Why couldn't they be forced to make me wait another day or week? Perhaps I would be a very happy expecting mother... Now I'll never know whether or not I made the right choice. I'm still so sad.


    Abortion-minded women do change their minds, if given the chance. (Some of them do so when given a second chance because an abortion attempt fails.) Dr. Alec Bourne, whose activism effectively paved the way for abortion on demand in the UK, later wrote:

    "Those who plead for an extensive relaxation of the law [against abortion] have no idea of the very many cases where a woman who, during the first three months, makes a most impassioned appeal for her pregnancy to be 'finished,' later, when the baby is born, is thankful indeed that it was not killed while still an embryo. During my long years in practice I have had many a letter of the deepest gratitude for refusing to accede to an early appeal."


    Planned Parenthood Medical Director Mary Calderone wrote, in "Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Issue":

    [Members of the 1955 Planned Parenthood conference on abortion] agreed, and this was backed up by evidence from the Scandinavians, that when a woman seeking an abortion is given the chance of talking over her problem with a properly trained and oriented person, she will in the process very often resolve many of her qualms and will spontaneously decide to see the pregnancy through, particularly if she is assured that supportive help will continue to be available to her


    It's probably easy to feel as if you've solved the woman's problem when she staggers out the door, no longer pregnant, no longer facing whatever it was she was so scared of. But I think if Dr. Harrison had run into some of his patients a decade later and asked, "Well?" he'd have gotten a very different story.

    HT: Live Action
  • 36 comments:

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    I hate to burst your bubble, but for the large majority of abortion patients, abortion isn't a big deal nor particularly stressful. They decide they don't want to continue the pregnancy, and they get an abortion. It's a pain in the neck for a short time and then it's over.

    GrannyGrump said...

    Well, OC, it seems I have a much higher opinion of women than you do. You seem to think they're all psychopathic sluts who can kill their own children with no remorse whatsoever.

    Maybe you hang out with women like that. I don't. In fact, I wouldn't want to. There's a place full of people like that, and it's called Hell.

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    GG, just the facts. Only a very small fraction of abortion patients find it a big deal.

    According to your definition, that means most women are "psychopathic sluts". I have a higher opinion of women than you do.

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    Here's a new study which shows no loss of self-esteem nor emotional problems among adolescent girls following abortion, neither immediately nor five years later.

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/psrh/full/4223010.pdf

    Allison said...

    Excuse me for butting in... I came across this blog by randomly hitting the "next blog" at the top.

    I have had an abortion. It was in 2001 when I was 21 years old. In fact 10 very good friends of mine have had abortions. I have even taken two of my friends to get one (one before mine and one after mine). 3 of them had their abortions in high school and 2 of the 3 girls admit that they REGRET their abortion and have emotional issues that surround it. My friends are in their early 30's now.

    After my abortion I suffered for YEARS with anxiety, "anniversary syndrome" and guilt. It wasn't until I found out what Post Abortion Syndrome was that I was finally like, "A-HA! I'm not alone and I'm not crazy!!"

    While I am certain that there are people that don't regret their abortion or ever think about it, I know MANY MANY women who do. In fact, I joined a support group for women suffering from the emotions that surrounded their abortion. And now, 2 years later, I am the leader of the group since the old one had to move away. This group is NOT a pro-life or pro-choice....it is only about helping women heal from their symptoms that surround their abortion(s).

    I want to say that I really don't care for either pro-choice and pro-life. I don't think that anyone actually can understand what abortion really is unless they experience it.

    The thing is...Women DO suffer from emotional self esteem problems regarding their abortions.

    I hate that Pro-choice people ignore this fact completely and deny it. It's a slap in the face. I have women coming to the class all the time in tears finally feeling like someone understands.

    If women didn't regret their abortions, have stress from it, emotional trauma, etc, then there would be no need for the silent awareness campaign. And while I know that is "Christian based" take a look at one of my favorite sites: http://www.afterabortion.com/ (.com NOT .org)

    The above site is neither pro-choice or pro-life and offers support for women and helps them cope with their decision how they feel best. Over 21,000 members and if you take the time to read the message boards, you can hear the HURT these women feel.

    It IS real.

    (cont below...)

    Allison said...

    That being said, here is what I've found in my conversations with women over the years that have had abortions...

    1. Some start to get upset about their choice after they have kids and they "realize" what they did.

    2. Some start to get upset about their choice when they get older and don't have kids yet and wish they did and/or they are older and now CAN'T get pregnant (I threw away my chance at motherhood!).

    3. They were pressured into it by their parents/boyfriend/friends/etc. This is a BIG one. When women are pressured into the "choice" of abortion, they are the ones who have to live with the regret...not anyone else. This is emotional abuse and can leave the woman hurting for YEARS.

    4. The clinic they went to did not offer any other options, real counseling, the ladies asked questions and were lied to, and/or they were rude to the girls. I hear this A LOT also. There was no real information in how they could make the pregnancy work/other options, the counseling didn't do anything but ask "do you want an abortion" or the workers lied to them about the development of their baby (for example) and I recently had a girl tell me that the doctor told her to "assume the position that got her there in the first place." ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? That kinda crap is insane.

    While I'm sure there are some abortion clinics out there that are employed by caring people who really care about the girl and not her money, unfortunately there are MANY clinics that DO NOT.

    Just like I'm sure that there are some pregnancy centers out there who really want to help a girl, but there are MANY that just use scare tactics and lie to the girl.

    BOTH sides suck to me.

    I believe that there are TONS of women who suffer emotional anguish after their abortion.

    My suggestion?? There needs to be a THIRD party that holds no religious affiliation and that will gain no money from the decision of the woman (abortion OR adoption) that give the counseling to the woman. REAL counseling. Counseling that answers ALL her question, gives her TRUE answers, and presents FACTS about ALL her options. Counseling that helps her decide what SHE wants to do. NOT what her parents/boyfriend/friends thinks she needs to do.

    Because if a woman can't handle the truth about what abortion entails then think about how she will react when she finds out the truth about the development of her baby or what an abortion looks like after she has already had the abortion. That is when guilt may set in and the emotional trauma will start. Women need to know before hand so they can make an INFORMED and EDUCATED decision.

    Sorry this was so long. But I'm so tired of people arguing over the issue when they have no idea what it is really like. YES!! There are women who don't give their abortion a second thought and don't regret it. But DAMMIT there ARE those of us who SUFFER from our abortions and it hurts women to deny that it exists.

    While I wouldn't have another abortion, I will be there for my friends who do.

    And I also want to point out that a woman can have more than one abortion and feel emotional trauma from one of the abortions and not the other.

    I don't believe in "studies" since anyone can make a "study" to prove what they want. Take real life experience when it comes to this subject.

    Abortion CAN hurt women. Especially if the woman is uninformed and pressured into the abortion. That is why I strongly believe in the fact that in order to give women TRUE care in a "surprise" pregnancy, there really should be that third party that has NO religious affiliation and gains NO money off her.

    Just my experience and opinion....take what you want from it. I hope you both can.

    (Again, I'm NOT pro-choice or pro-life. I am pro-woman being EDUCATED.)

    Kathy said...

    OC, was that the study with a whopping 69 girls/women, that the authors admitted was likely underpowered to show any statistical difference? Not to mention that they didn't properly control for known variables, and other problems with it. But, hey, the Guttmacher Institute would have no reason to promote abortion as a good and reasonable choice, so we can rest assure that they're non-biased.

    [and if this is double or triple-posted, sorry about that -- I keep getting "System unavailable" error messages when I submit, so just delete any excess ones.]

    Lilliput said...

    Allison, thank you for being so open and honest about your personal abortion story. I have never thank God, have to have made that decision so my knowledge is only theoretical.

    It doesn't surprise me that some women suffer trauma after abortion - it is a traumatic thing to go through no matter which way you look at it.

    My question is wether these women and yourself would have suffered trauma in having the child and raising them under less then ideal conditions - and furthermore will the child carry the trauma that the mother wouldn't face by having the abortion. Depression and suicide ideation also increases in severity if a mother is young, unsupported and poor and a depressed mother can hardly be expected to provide. "Good enough" parenting and therefore her child suffers as well.

    I know that some women regret having their abortions - this is widely discussed on the net and in medical research. What is unknown is how many women regret having the child - this is almost impossible to research as its the greatest taboo - a mother who wishes her child never born - is treated like the devil incarnate so I can't imagine researchers would get any to be honest about that.

    I'm wondering from your perspective - what do you imagine if you would have had your baby?

    Allison said...

    Lilliput-

    I cannot answer for every woman (of course) but I will answer for myself and for two friends of mine whom I asked.

    First, my friend...She gave birth to a child at 21. After a month of having him, she realized it was too hard to raise a child on her own. She placed him up for adoption. When she got pregnant again at 25, she didn't think she could go through giving a baby up to adoption so she had an abortion. She got pregnant a year later again and had another abortion. (All three pregnancies were with different guys) At that point she decided to "grow up" (her words) and be serious about birth control. She is 35 now. She admits that having the abortions were way harder than giving her son up for adoption. She feels more pain over the first abortion than she does the second. Her first abortion the guy was in a relationship with someone else and told my friend that the baby would never be a part of his life. She realizes now that she wanted the emotional turmoil to end, not the pregnancy. The second abortion was with her boyfriend and he was a "loser" so she decided to get rid of him and the baby and 'start over.' She wishes now that she had given these children up for adoption too. She admits giving a child up for adoption is hard, but she's never regret it or suffer from the decision like she does with the abortion, and that abortion was harder. She is excited about getting to see her son in a few years, once he turns 18. She is very saddened that she will never meet these two children that she aborted. She says she wishes that she had thought that through...the difference between meeting your child and not ever getting to.

    My second friend has also had two abortions. One at 15 and the other at 18. She is 30 now. It has just been the last few years that she has started to really feel remorse over it. The one she had at 15 was technically illegal. She went to the clinic and they let her forge her father's signature of consent. No one gave her any counseling or talked to her about options etc. Now that she is older she feels upset that no one tried to 'help her' they just decided for her that yup, you should have an abortion. The second abortion she had, she is the one who recently told me that the doctor told her to "assume the position that got her here in the first place." THAT is RUDE.

    Cont below...

    Allison said...

    As for me, I was 21 and wanted to give the baby up for adoption. The baby's father had just gotten out of a two year prison sentence and already had a 3 year old that he wasn't taking care of (I know, great catch, huh? I was younger and thought I was "in love") so we went to an adoption agency. After the lady told us about adoption I knew it was what I wanted to do. He looked at me and started yelling, "You will either have this baby or have an abortion, but I'm not signing any papers." He stormed out. The adoption lady told me that without his signature, I couldn't give the baby up (which I now know to be false. There are ways around that.) When I told my mom she told me that I couldn't live at home anymore if I continued on with the pregnancy...even if I wanted to give the baby up for adoption (I was in college at the time). She was afraid that I wouldn't go through with the adoption and be stuck with the father in my life forever.

    So basically for me, abortion isn't what I wanted to do, but was pressured into doing. I went to a doctor's office and they offered me NO counseling at all. When the nurse came in to put me to sleep I started freaking out and crying hysterically. She asked me if I was sure of my decision and I said No. She said she'd give me a few minutes to get myself together. I'm sorry, but if I were getting ANY other medical procedure done, a nurse would have sat down and talked to me, answered any questions, or helped me find another way. I was also lied to and told that a baby couldn't have a heart beat at 8 weeks (which I know now to be a lie) by the lady who did the sonogram.

    I got pregnant again a second time in 2005 by a guy who probably would be considered a "loser." But I decided I wasn't going to go through another abortion and would figure a way to make it work...either giving the child up for adoption or keeping him. I decided to keep him since I had just graduated college. And the baby's father?? Well, he got off drugs, we married when our son was 18 months old, he just graduated from college this past December and got a dream job. We own a house, have two cars paid for, have no debt but our house and ended up having twins (!!) 2 years ago also. Today is my oldest son's 5th birthday.

    For him, having a child snapped him into reality and made him want to do something better for him and our son. And he did! I'm proud of him!! And I know that not every one is that lucky, so I am even more greatful for what he did. I'm able to be a stay at home mom because he is such a hard worker. Was it easy for us? No, but where we are now, what we went through, we are happy with our choice and how far we have come.

    cont below..

    Allison said...

    So I think for these three situations the main factors were like I mentioned in my above statement...

    1. The counseling we received was none or a joke.

    2. We were pressured into it by a parent/boyfriend/or clinic worker

    3. We were not given any other options.

    4. My two friends are realizing that they don't have children and that is also adding to their regret.

    5. And lastly, of course we all know the internet is a fairly new thing. Now that you can SEE what an abortion is, you can SEE what a baby looks like at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, etc it kind of makes you realize EXACTLY what you did. Ouch. That kind of makes it hurt even worse.

    Again, I know that was long.

    I'm not sure that abortion should be illegal. Obviously women who desperately want one will seek it out (as proof in the era before it was legal). I just think that women need to be EDUCATED about their baby and abortion...NOT as a scare tactic, but as true education so that a woman will NOT have to feel these horrible feelings for years afterwords. So that a woman knows EXACTLY what she's getting herself into so that when later on down the road when she learns about the truth of the development of her baby or see a picture of an aborted fetus the same gestational age she aborted, that she won't break down into tears.

    Also, as I mentioned above, the counseling needs to improve. For the sake of the woman, these workers need to make sure that women aren't being pressured into the decision by someone else...that this is REALLY what THEY want. That they 100% know the help they can receive from different organizations if they choose to keep the baby or the different types of adoption programs available, etc.

    cont below

    Allison said...

    And trust me I know women can suffer from PPD after having children. A fellow twin mom is currently on life support because she attempted suicide after the birth of her twins. It's a terrible situation for her, her husband, and her children. And she is educated and has a loving husband, but PPD can effect anyone. I think that is terrible also and there needs to be more support out there for these women also!!

    "My question is wether these women and yourself would have suffered trauma in having the child and raising them under less then ideal conditions - and furthermore will the child carry the trauma that the mother wouldn't face by having the abortion."

    I guess to answer you question (finally, lol) would be to say that one can never truely know. First off, it totally leaves out the possiblity of giving a child up for adoption. Doing that could also be traumatic, but it could also be a good "middle ground" so to speak. My friend above isn't the first woman I've heard admit that giving a baby up for adoption is hard but having an abortion is harder.

    But in all honesty I BELIEVE in my whole heart that had I been educated in ALL my options and given counseling then at least I would have made an educated choice. As you can imagine, being in a crisis pregnancy you feel the urgency to decide something QUICK. And you may feel that abortion is the quickest way to 'get rid of the problem' but you make that choice uneducated a lot of the times. Again, I believe there ARE some clinics out there who do sit down with a girl and talk to her and give her accurate information about her baby and options. But I KNOW there are MANY that don't...be it that they are uneducated themselves or they just want to make a quick buck. Either way, there needs to be a change in this part of the system. There needs to be more support for ALL women...women who have abortions, who give children up for adoption, who suffer from PPD, who struggle being single parents, etc. There just isn't enough education and support all around I think. And the fact that Planned Parenthood pretty much denies that a woman can suffer for years from Post Abortion Syndrome is a slap in the face. Women walk around suffering in silence because they feel they have no where to turn. That's why I believe these post abortion support groups are so important! Kind of like how AA is for alcoholics, these support groups are for us- we just understand the struggle and pain that we're going through.

    And from my time as being a part of the post abortion support group and now a leader I honestly believe that I don't think women would have to suffer trauma nearly as often from whatever they choose for their pregnancy if they were just EDUCATED, given accurate information on ALL OPTIONS, and they had people who supported their decision...NOT THEM, but their DECISION.

    GrannyGrump said...

    Welcone, Allison! It's nice to see the discussion going between you and Lil. Thanks so much for your contributions.

    Lilliput said...

    Hi allison,

    Thanks for sharing your story and I am so glad that things worked out for you.

    I want to add though that as mich support, counselling and education a women gets on making a decision about her pregnancy - she will still feel differently after her decision has been carried out - being keeping, adopting or aborting, because noone can predict how something may feel.

    I advise you to surf the net for wounded birthmothers and adoptive children to see that can be horrific too.

    This is why I am neurotic about my birthcontrol as I really don't want to find myself in that catch 22 position.

    What methods of birthcontrol do you and your friends use?

    Allison said...

    Oh of course Lilliput! That's why I stated above that one can truly know how one will feel about the situation. That's why I said that I don't think women would have to suffer trauma nearly as often if they were educated. Of course there would still be women who end up traumatized from their choice...whatever it may be. And these women need support too. But surely suffering would be less if women were educated.

    My stepmother is one who is a wounded birthmother. She was also pressured into the decision to adopt her baby out being that she was 16. She has yet to find her daughter and she is 50 now. :-(

    And I know all about the wounded birthmothers and adopted children out there. My husband and I are in the beginning steps of adopting a child. I'm HORRIFIED at how some adoptive parents will only adopt out of a state that reliquishes a birthmothers right to her child after 24 hours. To me that is just wrong. I understand that some families are desperate to adopt...but to exploit a birthmother in that way is terrible. She is making a hard decision to place her baby in your arms and she should be given more than 24 hours to decide if that's really what she wants to do after giving birth to HER baby!! Trust me, I have issues with certain aspects of adoption as well. I feel that a lot of pro-life places bully a woman into adoption without fully educating her on the different types of adoption OR her other choices for the pregnancy. Or the fact that some agencies delibertaly move a birthmother to a state to give birth to the baby when the state has unfavorable birthmother laws. That is SHADY and needs to change also. (That's not my only issue with the prolife movement either...)

    My friend who gave her son up for adoption called the family on the last day possible to ask for him back. The family was crying as they handed him over to her. She drove around all day with him in the car crying. She knew she couldn't take care of him, but it was hard for her to let him go. She ended up giving him back to the family because she knew it was what was best for her son.

    Allison said...

    Anyway, as for birthcontrol... the friend who gave her son up is on the pill. The other friend is not on birthcontrol regularly (as I think she wants to get pregnant again and make the "right" choice this time...I understand her desire, not saying it is right though) And as for my hubby and me, since my twins were a surprise (no fertility used) and I went into labor at 24 weeks with them (gave birth at 36 weeks 6 days), my Dr's, husband and I decided that a vasectomy is the best for us. My body can't handle another pregnancy (I also went into labor with my oldest son at 34 weeks...gave birth at 38) and especially another twin pregnancy since I have a good chance of that happening again. Which is why we are adopting. I want more children, LOL! But I also will ENSURE that our birthmother isn't being bullied into adopting her baby out. And I will be open to as much openess as she wants because I have been in her shoes and know it's hard.

    That's why I strongly feel that a third party that holds no religious affiliation or gains no money from her choice should be the way to educate a woman on all her options.

    Sadly, there will always be those that regret whatever choice they make. But certainly we should do SOMETHING to lessen that!! Because the system we have in place now is NOT working. Too many people are worried about getting paid (pro-choice = abortion and pro life =adoption) instead of helping a woman who is in a difficult situation make a difficult choice. BOTH sides have areas that need MAJOR work...in my opinion!

    And good for you for being neurotic about your BC. I hope you never find yourself pregnant when it wasn't something you wanted. Making a choice can be difficult.

    Allison said...

    Thanks for the welcome GrannyGrump. :-) But as I mentioned above I have issues with the pro-life movement as well and I'm not afraid to call it out, lol!

    :-)

    Lilliput said...

    Allison,

    I wasn't asking about your BC now - but your BC before you were married.

    I must be honest, I am very surprised that you are in the process of adopting with 2 year old twins and a 5 year old - how do u possibly cope? I wonder if you can see that this is exactly the problem that I have with adoption nowadays - that instead of it being for kids that need parents, adoption is now a means of parents getting kids they want. If you want to open your home to a child without parents - take an older child whose parents can't look after it through abuse,neglect or death. If you are looking for a baby, that baby has a mother who for whatever reason has been made to think that someone else is better able to raise her child. Your gift of joy is someone's never ending sadness - open adoption or not.

    You are fueling the very industry you hate - I just don't get it??

    Allison said...

    Lilliput- BC before I was married was at various times depo, the pill, and the ring. But many times I went without and used the pull out method. :-/

    As for adoption... well, I have done my research on it. My brother in law is adopted, my half sister is adopted, my nephew and cousin are adopted. I know many birthmothers. I read the different adoption websites out there and have met with people who hold different opinions on it. I'm friends with people who foster children, give respite care for families who need them, and have adopted children both older and younger, here in the US and from other countries. I am familiar with the pro's and cons of it.

    "how do u possibly cope?"
    I think that every person on this planet has gifts and talents. I believe that one of mine is working with and raising children. I hold a degree in teaching and worked with special needs kids for many years. I have volunteered with CASA (court appointed special advocate)and am familiar with my state's foster care system and the parent and children involved. I have always wanted a large family. Not everyone has the calling for this. Some families only wish for one child, some two, some more. Different strokes for different folks. I always knew that adoption would be a part of adding to my family.
    I currently have had six kids in my house for the last 6 months for days and nights at a time. My good friend's oldest son has cancer and I've been watching her other three kids (2yr, 5yr, 6yr) while she has spens her days and nights at the Children's Hospital with her son. So that is 6 kids between the ages of 2 and 6. It's been great and I don't feel overwhelmed. I take them to the grocery store, the park, playdates, etc. I personally love it but again, I don't think large families are for everyone.

    "If you want to open your home to a child without parents - take an older child whose parents can't look after it through abuse,neglect or death"
    The reason why we aren't adopting an older child...at this time in our lives, not to say we wouldn't in the future...is because we still have young children in the house. There is always a risk of R.A.D. and serious behavioral and sexual abuse with adopting older children- even a two year old this can be the case. Recently a family disrupted an adoption of a four year old after he had been living there for two years because the child was caught molesting the two younger members of the household. Until our children are older we don't think it would be best for us, for the other children in our home, and for the child involved. Disrupution is a serious problem in the adoption world, and that is because too many people go into adopting an older child without really knowing what they are getting into.

    When are children are older I would have no problem being a foster family and/or adopting an older child.

    "If you are looking for a baby, that baby has a mother who for whatever reason has been made to think that someone else is better able to raise her child."
    There are many babies whose parents can't look after them because of abuse, neglect, or death. We are open to adopting special needs children also (down's, cleft, spina, etc) and to a child born from a mother on drugs. We aren't looking for a "perfect baby" but just another baby. Not all BM's have been made to think that someone else is better able to raise her child. They can actually come up with this decision on their own.

    Allison said...

    "Your gift of joy is someone's never ending sadness - open adoption or not. "

    I'm not sure why you would make this statement. That would be like making a statement that all women who have abortions have a never ending sadness. Some do, some do not. Some have a sadness for a period of time, some for an eternity.

    "You are fueling the very industry you hate - I just don't get it??" It's not that I HATE the adoption industry. I just disagree with a lot of it. I also disagree with the abortion industry, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't take a friend to have an abortion or be there for her in other ways. I would make sure she was educated on her decision, not feeling pressured into it, and sure that's what she wants to do. Same with adoption. If the baby we get comes from a birth mother who chooses us, I will make sure she knows her choices, isn't being pressured into it, and that it is what she wants to do. I would pull out in a heartbeat if I felt it was any way questionable. I'm not one of these women who are desperate to have a baby and would do whatever to get one. I'm choosing adoption because I know there are BM's out there who feel that adoption is the best thing for their baby- for whatever reason- and want to do it. I know that our family is a loving family and can offer a safe, loving and stable place for a child to be raised- something a lot of BM's feel that they can't offer (like my friend mentioned above- she tried it for a month and realized she just couldn't do it).

    There are some BM's out there who have had abortions before and don't want to do that again and go the adoption route. There are some BM's who really believe that it is the best interest for the child to be raised by someone else. Are these children less deserving of finding a family? No.

    I personally think that ALL children in need of a home need to be taken care of and advocated for. I try my hardest to do that. I donate my time and money for these causes. Everyone is in a different season in their life and some are more equipped than others to handle the different types of needs each of these children have. If you look on my blog you can see two different organizations that I believe in that advocate for special needs children. I cannot adopt one of those children right now in my season of life, but I will help support those that can and those that look out for them.

    Lilliput said...

    Allison, I am heartened by your research and will to help, but I wonder why there is a need to have such devious and manipulative adoption practices - if as you say mothers can come to the conclusion that someone else is better at raising their children.

    I wonder if your friend had any parenting support from social services or her community before "deciding" that she couldn't cope. I'm sure many new unsupported mothers feel that someone else can look after their child better then they can after one month.

    I don't even know if any women can make a rational decision a month after childbirth with her hormones all over the place. The latest post natal depression rates are 52% - how much more common must it be for mothers not sure if they can keep their babies.

    I wouldn't feel comfortable in accepting a decision made under those conditions - but I respect your right to do so and hope it goes well for you and the baby and the birthmom.

    Allison said...

    "I wonder why there is a need to have such devious and manipulative adoption practices"

    The same reason why abortion clinics offer less than par counseling for their clients...they just want the money. Again, not all clinics and/or adoption agencies are like this. But yeah, a lot are.

    "I wouldn't feel comfortable in accepting a decision made under those conditions - but I respect your right to do so"

    Again, I wouldn't accept a decision on questionable terms.

    Have you ever seen that show 16 and pregnant on MTV? I've watched a few. Those girls are young and can barely take care of themselves, let alone their baby. And they have the support of their parents a lot of times. Yet they look miserable trying to have a life, be a kid, and be a parent.

    I called my friend...she was living rent free at a friend's house who also had children. Her mother also offered her help. In the end, she just didn't want to be burdened down and take care of a baby. She was young and wanted to only worry about herself, not another being. She wanted to party and have fun, not endure sleepless nights of changing diapers. She was going to be a single parent and didn't want to be.

    I met a mother who was in her 30's when she gave her baby up for adoption. She already had 3 grow children and just didn't want to start over.

    I'm curious if you have children? Raising kids is a sacrifice daily. You wake up when they do, not when you want. You can't just get on a plane to vacation. There is planning involved in EVERYTHING. If you are young, sometimes you aren't ready to make that type of commitment. Not that young parents can't be good parents...they can. But half the time they aren't even responsible enough to take care of themselves.

    Will some adoptions be something a mom was pressured into? Yes. Will some be 100% the decision of the BM? Yes. Just like you can offer all the support in the world for a woman to not have an abortion, but if she doesn't want to be pregnant for 9 months, then she'll have the abortion. The same goes for some BM's. You can offer them support, but if they don't want to take care of a child for 18 years then they'll give their baby up for adoption.

    Sometimes those children that end up in foster care and/or living in less than ideal situations ARE from parents who had support. But because they couldn't be selfless, they ignore the child, yell at the child, etc so that they can continue to live as if they don't have a child. And the child suffers. It's not only lower class addicts who get their children in CPS. Heck, look at Britney Spears and the beginning of her mothering career.

    In the end, it is also the responsibility of the adoptive parent to make sure that their eyes don't get clouded by the fact they are getting a baby. They need to make sure the adoption is legit and not turn their heads away if something seems shady.

    Abortion, adoption, or raising a child. This is why I think a 3rd party should give pregnant women their options. So that they are informed of the help that is out there for them and they can make an educated decision. Could it still be the wrong one? Of course. But it will lessen the women being pressured into a decision they aren't sure they want to do. It will empower women to be able to make a choice they think is best- Instead of having someone push their religion beliefs on them or manipulating them so they can make a buck off them.

    Allison said...

    Also, I wanted to point out that the same reasons why women have abortions are the same reasons they give their babies up for adoption.

    Lilliput said...

    No I don't have children - not married yet either. I'm very aware of the sacrifice required in motherhood.

    I work with children whose parents cannot or will not look after them. Am very aware of the number of adopted kids that come back to the care system.

    Lilliput said...

    I agree Allison that its the same reason but at least they don't pass on the misery to their children.

    Allison said...

    Lilliput,

    Surely you know that not all children who are adopted are miserable. MANY adopted children are happy, well adjusted and thankful. Both my brother in law and half sister (both in their 40's) are adopted. They are far from miserable and didn't feel miserable growing up. My half sister has adopted a boy from Korea and my other sister and my brother in law are expecting their first in November, but he wants to adopt in a few years. If they were so miserable do you think they'd want to adopt on their own??

    Children can grow up in their own homes and be miserable for various reasons. Are you saying that it is better for a woman to keep a child she doesn't want to take the time to properly raise...and possibly end up in the system later on down the road when it is harder to get adopted out and the child is suffering from issues then? Or you think she should abort her baby if she doesn't want to raise him/her...but what if she's already has had an abortion and doesn't want to do that again? What if she already has children and so she feels that pregnancy is a baby and doesn't want to feel the guilt of the abortion? Do you really think that by them choosing adoption those babies are going to be miserable? That any baby I adopt will be miserable for the rest of his/her life? Of course there is always that chance, but MANY MANY adopted children are NOT miserable beings walking around.

    Do you really think that a woman's only choice is to either keep the baby or abort?

    There ARE happy endings for both BMs and adopted kids. You can look around and see that too.

    That would be like me going around and saying that ALL women who have abortions are suffering greatly. It's my experience, and 98% of the women I know who have had abortions regret it and suffer. But that's my exposure to it. Certainly I could not go around and say that a woman WILL feel regret because of my experience and those that I know. Because there are those woman who don't regret or suffer.

    There are always two sides to each issue.

    Lilliput said...

    I agree Allison, that infact there are many sides to each issue - because if there were only two - we would live in a black or white world - which we don't.

    The issue here is risk and how much risk each women is comfortable with. There are some women who are comfortable with taking the risk of having a baby under less then ideal financial and social conditions and think that things will work out and there are women who are not prepared to take the risk of having a child under conditions the same conditions as they are not willing to take that risk for themselves or their babies.

    The same thing with adoption - there are many women who are happy to take the risk of relinquishing their children as they think their child will do well whereas there are others who don't want to live with that worry of wondering what is happening to their child (in closed adoptions) or how they might feel about the way their child is being parented by adopted parents in open adoptions - or in fact if the adoption will remain open as its not something that is enshrined in law.

    As for adoptees becoming adopters or in fact relinquishing - it is very common - not only because things went well but because trauma is often handed down through generations. Many adopted girls become truant as teens, pregnant and the relinquish repeating the cycle. Many adoptees adopt as they feel they have to think that adoption is a good thing otherwise the reality of what happened to them is horrific.

    Also, out of interest - you said that your adopted relations are thankful? What are they thankful about?

    Allison said...

    "The issue here is risk and how much risk each women is comfortable with"

    Exactly, and there is also great risk with abortion too. It's a roll of the dice if you will suffer emotionally from that decision.


    "but because trauma is often handed down through generations"

    Yes, this is true with many issues families face- wanted pregnancies or surprise...divorce, abuse, addictions, etc. All it takes is one person to break the crazy cycle. And at some point adults need to realize they hold some responsibility for their actions and cannot blame their parents any longer for what was done to them.

    "What are they thankful about?"

    Life. The life they were given with the families they were given.

    My half sister was conceived during rape (her BM was a lesbian, she died last year) and her BM never wanted children but didn't want to abort. She is thankful that she was given life.

    Lilliput said...

    I have to wonder if children kept with birthparents are thankful for life?

    I don't think I have ever felt thankful to my parents for having me. They didn't have me for me, they had me cause they wanted a baby. I am thankful for their "good enough" parenting which gave me a sense of self, self worth, good mental and physical health. I am thankful for my ability to make and keep friends and the support they give me. I am thankful that I find this world interesting and enjoy learning about it.


    If I had to feel thankful that I wasn't killed in the womb and therefore thankful or grateful for adoptive parents that took me in - I can see now why their could be issues.

    If you ask the question another way - how would adopted kids feel if they were aborted - the answer would be nothing as they wouldn't exist - and therefore can't feel sorry they missed out.

    As for "blaming" parents and taking responsibility - that's not exactly what I was talking about. How can you possibly blame a mother say that's addicted to drugs in order to escape a history of sexual abuse which passes her addiction onto her baby. Why would you blame rather then try and heal the wound?

    Allison said...

    Lilliput,

    My mom had three abortions before giving birth to me. The first two were with men that weren't my father. Her third was with my father. So, yeah, I'm happy that when she got pregnant a fourth time she choose not to abort me. I'm happy that when she and my father got pregnant again that they decided to have me and give me life. I've enjoyed it. :-) I think it is the same thing.



    As for the "blaming" I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I'm saying that, yes, things are passed down through generations...addictions, abuse, etc.

    I was sexually abused as a young child for four years. It was a terrible experience that I had to go through. Because of the abuse, I became sexually active at a young age because I didn't understand what a relationship between a man and woman was supposed to be like. So I just let men take. But then I turned 18 and went the other extreme. I became a stripper because I liked the control it had over men. They gave me money and in return I was the one calling the shots. I also got involved in drugs and such.

    When it came down to it though, I had to grow up and realize that the choices that *I* was making were MY choices. I couldn't blame MY behavior on what had happened to me any longer. I was old enough to stop the crazy cycle. I was old enough to know better and to make better choices and not let what he did to me affect my life any longer.

    That's all I was trying to say. I'm not trying to blame the victim, I'm trying to say that the victim needs to stop blaming in order to start making better choices and heal. Of course there is always a reason one turns to drugs, alcohol, abusive relationships, etc. But at some point one has to forgive the past, let go of the past, move on from the past and decide for themselves to make better choices and not let their past dictate their present and future. I'm not talking about blaming the person who was wronged, I'm talking about forgiving those who wronged you and starting the healing process.

    Of course I can blame my abuser for what he did to me. I can blame the fact that I had multiple sex partners because I didn't know what a real relationship was. I can also blame the fact that I started drugs to escape the pain and became a stripper to attempt to gain some control. But I can only blame myself for continuing to make poor choices. As the years passed *I* was letting the past control me. *I* could choose to to make better choices and have a better future.

    That's why I believe it is so important to reach out to others and help them to overcome struggles that you have personally been through. But, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink. The choice is really up to them.

    Lilliput said...

    Well, well done for overcoming those difficulties.

    Can you say a little about what helped you to make the leap into healthy living?

    Allison said...

    Thank you Lilliput, for it wasn't easy to make that transition.

    It's hard to truly give the struggle justice in such a short statement. But, in a nutshell it was a combination of events over 5 years.

    1. It started with quitting drugs-overdosing twice, watching loved ones die and go to jail.

    2. Getting pregnant and having my abortion -that's when I decided I wouldn't let it be in vain, that I would finish college and save money so that I'd never be in that situation again...poor and broke and at the mercy of others.

    3. Being in an abusive relationship and going to church one Sunday on a whim with a girl from college. I had a restraining order against my boyfriend, but he came over one night and we got into a terrible fight. He left. I was on the floor broken and cried out to God. I asked if He was really there to please give me a sign and help me. Two seconds later I got a knock on my door. I thought it was the boyfriend coming back for another round. I opened the door to find three girls from that church I had visited coming to talk to me. So right then I found my higher power.

    4. I quit dancing because the month I graduated college I started sleeping with my now husband. I also got a proposal from a very wealthy and famous gentleman to be his "girlfriend." I was on vacation with my husband when this gentlemen gave me this option. I was going to tell him yes. When we got back from the vacation, I was late on my period and took a test. It was positive. I knew I wouldn't abort. I also knew that for the sake of the child I needed to get FAR FAR away from the dancing world. I went back to that church that I had visited 2 years earlier in college.

    I surrounded myself with a better crowd. With people who had overcome addictions and struggles. I poured myself into helping myself and now helping others. I took a hard look at myself and made goals for my life.

    My husband joined me in this journey. It wasn't easy that first year for us. But it has gotten better and we're both very happy to be living this life instead of our old one.

    GrannyGrump said...

    Wow, Allison, that's a powerful testimony! Thanks so much for sharing it.

    Lilliput said...

    I'm really moved too by your story.

    It does add evidence to my theory that people have to reach their personal rock bottom before finding the strength to make the choice to live. I am worried that the ever expanding care and addiction industries are actually getting in the way of people hitting that rock bottom and making the choice to survive and the necessary personal work involved.

    Allison said...

    Thanks guys! :-)

    GrannyGrump said...

    That's a really profound insight, Lil.

    I'm a case manager in a welfare to work program, and see people who say their lives suck, and they want to change, but change comes so hard. I'm not sure if it's because they haven't hit their own personal rock bottom yet -- in general. I can think of a few specific cases where I've thought, "She just needs to decide that this is all the further she's gonna fall."

    Sometimes, though, just having somebody who believes in them makes a huge difference.