Sunday, December 26, 2010

"It's the pain talking"

The discussion around this recent post led me to republish a post from a couple of years ago that may shed more light on the topic of why women who don't consider their unborn children to be mere disposable tissue end up on the abortion table.

I remember when I was in labor with my daughter. When the pain got to be so bad that I had dry heaves and was going into spasms on the bed, I begged for drugs. The midwife sat down with me and very patiently explained to me that this was the pain talking, that I -- the me that was rational and not thrashing around in pain -- had wanted to do this without drugs.

Pam wanted to make sure that I made a rational choice about how to deal with the pain. She took the better part of an hour, using snatches of time between contractions, to find out how much of the cry for drugs was me changing my mind based on how much pain there actually was versus how much I'd anticipated. We talked about what my values were, what my reflections on this experience were going to be after my baby was born, how the pain was impacting the progress of my labor, et cetera. Pam took a lot of time, going over every pain relief option with me, and finally the rational part of me chose a small dose of Nisintil to just take the edge off and allow me to use the breathing techniques I'd learned. And the Nisintil did the trick.

Pam let ME, Christina, make the decision about the medication. She didn't let the pain override the choosing part of me. She didn't simply assume that the pain had changed my values or my wishes, that it "taught me a lesson" and filled me with wisdom of the value of drugging away labor pain. She reached past the pain to get to me, and to find out what it was I really wanted.

Some abortion advocates often smugly gloat that many of the women undergoing abortions sob about how they never thought that they would end up on the abortion table, how abortion goes against their values, their core beliefs, their identity. But they feel trapped. They feel they have no other choice.

My choice was about how much medication to use when I was in labor. It was hardly a life-altering, life-shattering choice. But Pam remembered the discussions we'd had, the plans I'd made. I was shooting for drug-free. Pam wasn't going to stop me from changing my mind if I had really changed my mind. But she wasn't about to let the pain make a decision for me that I would regret later. And I had changed my mind. Drug-free was my ideal, yes, but I was in so much pain that it was slowing my labor. What were my options? What would the impact of my choices be on me and my baby? Pam considered it worth the time. I changed my mind from "drug free" to "something to take the edge off the pain", under careful guidance from somebody who really cared about me an about my choices. Pam prevented me from just screaming for an epidural, a choice I probably would have regretted later and seen as a cop-out, with my hippie flower-child natural-childbirth values. Pam spent the time to get past the pain to the choosing part of me.

Why aren't women weeping in the abortion clinic, about to make a life-shaking, life-altering decision, entitled to the same care and concern I got from Pam? Why is there nobody to say, "Is this really a choice that you are making rationally, based on new information? Or is this the pain talking? How are you -- with your values, your goals, your priorities -- going to look back on this choice?"

When women who oppose abortion -- be it for all women or only for themselves -- end up on the abortion table, hardcore abortion advocates then hold them up as "proof" that even women who hate abortion "need" abortion.

But is the woman signing the consent form as she wets it with her tears being served or being used? Is her existence "proof" of the "need" for abortion, or is it just evidence of poor "options counseling"?

The answer is pretty clear to anybody who has eyes to see.

9 comments:

OperationCounterstrike said...

RE: "Why aren't women weeping in the abortion clinic, about to make a life-shaking, life-altering decision,...?"

Because for most abortion patiens, their abortions are not life-shaking, and not particularly life-altering either. Having a baby would be life-altering; getting an abortion is more like life-staying-the-same-ing.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Much as you would LIKE to think abortion is a terrible, life-shaking, scarring decision, the FACT is that for the large majority of women it's just a minor pain in the ass.

GrannyGrump said...

Ya know, OC, sometimes you say such fatuous things I wonder if you're actually a prolifer trying to make the prochoicers look bad.

Nulono said...

63% of abortions involve some degree of coercion.
100% of abortions are life-ending.

Lilliput said...

The thing that irritates me most about this post is that Christina isn't thinking about who put the thoughts of pain relief free birth - what is it? A right of passage for women. This is probably why so many mums want natural births, endure hours of labour then an emergency c-section anyway. And then they feel a failure for not being real women. The same goes for breastfeeding - and I guess for having kids in the first place. Who said we have to have them? If women truly do what they want to do and not imbibe others' ideas, they will be ok.

I haven't met any woman with multiple abortions who was heartbroken - unless she had issues which would preclude her from being a good enough parent anyway eg addiction, mental health issues. I suppose its natures way...

SegaMon said...

Lilliput, pro-life has nothing to do with requiring women to have kids. On the contrary, pro-choice is about YOU WILL HAVE SEX BECAUSE YOU CAN'T CONTROL IT!!!!!!!! YOU ANIMALS CAN"T CONTROL ANYTHING!!!!!!! RAAAWR!!!!! WOMAN POWERZ!!!!!!

GrannyGrump said...

Lil, I don't sneer at women who choose epidurals because they take a different approach to childbirth. Different women have different reasons for embracing or rejecting different pain relief methods. I also embrace lifestyle management to control my asthma, rather than relying on medication, though I still keep an inhaler for emergencies.

I also recognize that there are a lot of reasons why women might choose to embrace or forgo motherhood. My only beef is with women who reject motherhood by killing the kid.

Lilliput said...

Very mature Segamon - why don't we just go back to the laundrettes and scarlett letters!

Christina - should we be promoting sterilisation then?

GrannyGrump said...

Lil, I'd not say "promoting" -- but certainly making it much easier to access. I'm a bit bewildered as to why all the "reproductive rights advocates" are all gung ho for the Pill and Norplant and abortion, but aren't in a tizzy about how difficult it is for women who know they don't want children to get tubal ligations.

And VASECTOMIES! I think of my clients and how much better their lives would be if vasectomies were as readily available as tattoos.