Pro-Life, Pro-Choice and Deep Maternal Bonds


Last week I posted about the way technology effects our pregnancies. The comments were passionate, some went straight to the core of the abortion debate. Others highlighted how strong the maternal bond is– the connection with an embryo or  fetus can be powerful and intense. We make fast and deep bonds. And when they are broken– as with miscarriage– the loss is devastating.

All of this reminded me of a wonderful passage is Peggy Orenstien’s book about her six year struggle to have a child, Waiting for Daisy. I love this book; it’s beautifully written and brutally self-aware. Orenstein does not hold back about what a one-track minded person she became, losing site of pretty much everything, including her marriage, in her quest for pregnancy and a child. But my favorite parts are about miscarriage.

Here’s Orenstein on the confusing state of being pro-choice and newly pregnant:

“…I’d already calculated my due date on a Web site, ogled pictures of “my baby’s” development and joined an expecting club on iVillage… All of this encourages a mother-to-be to see the fetus as a person, at least in the psychological sense, at an ever earlier stage. You tell friends. Names are bandied about. The baby feels real. Yet, if the pregnancy goes amiss, that personhood is abruptly revoked and you’re supposed to act like nothing ever happened…Voicing my confusion, admitting that the bundle of cells I so adamantly called a zygote had felt to me more like some sort of life, seemed like playing into the hands of the enemy…. What I’d experienced had not been a full life, nor was it a full death, but it was a real loss.”

photo: GeoffLivingston/Flickr