Abortion Really Can Make You a Better Mother

one wayI don't know what I expected. When you read a headline stating, "How My Abortion Enabled Me to Be a Better Mother," you just sort of dive in and hope for the best. I don't want this to be something that makes me embarrassed to be pro-choice, you think. But you don't think it will speak to you. Speak about you.

I'm lucky. No that's not the word. I'm grateful that I've never been in a position to need an abortion. But I understand how Mommyish writer Ann Kingsleigh says it helped her be a better parent.


Understand because I've been close. In our case, it wasn't an abortion that got us here. A pregnancy scare prompted us to go the vasectomy route, and we're all the better for it. My daughter has my full devotion. But when I read Ann Kingsleigh's story of her unexpected pregnancy and the resulting -- difficult -- decision to abort, I can't help but wondering what if ... what if that pregnancy scare was more than just a scare ... would I be the mother I am today?

I have one child. She is the light of my life, the jam in my jelly roll.

She is also all I can handle.

Most people don't get that. They assure me that I'd be "great" with another kid. They feed me platitudes to convince me that I need to pair her up with a brother or sister. But I can't help but wonder what would happen if they sat, anthropologist-style, in my living room for a week and just watched.

We have our ups and our downs, our "mush on the couch and giggle" joys and our "I want to tear my hair out if I have to deal with one more word out of her" sorrows. It's the stuff of normal families, but it takes a lot out of me. Living with depression takes a lot out of me.

I am medicated. I get by, better than get by these days thanks to finding a really good psychiatrist and a good mix of drugs. Working with him has made me a better mother. But it's also made me hyper-aware of my "triggers," of my breaking point. Pushing myself over a precipice in order to meet some societal ideal for family size will serve no one. Not me, not my husband, but especially not our daughter. She needs a mom who is as healthy emotionally as she is in body. She needs me to have control.

And while it's a bit off-topic, she needs a family that is financially stable. Money has always been a stressor for me. With one child, we're doing OK. I'm not in hysterics every time she abandons a cup with an inch-full of juice on the bottom or ruins yet another pair of leggings.

Another child would upset the apple cart. Another child would be too much for me. Another pregnancy would put me in Kingsleigh's shoes, having to decide what's best not just for me, but for my daughter. I'm grateful I've never been there, but I can't judge her for it.

Because like Kingsleigh, I'm a better mother for having one child. As she says:

I am better able to provide for Kiddo. I am not paralyzed by worry and fear due to having a second child that would stretch me beyond my means. I am confident in my ability to raise her and raise her well. She has my full devotion.

That's what my daughter has. A mother who feels like she can handle it.

Can you step past the difficult "abortion" issue and understand what she's saying?


Image via Bruce Berrien/Flickr

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