The Roe v. Wade decision brings up painful memories for many women and the children they felt forced to give birth to.
While it has been nearly 50 years of political bickering, the children caught in the middle often don’t get a say.
Recently, POLITICO reported that a U.S. Supreme Court first draft dated Feb. 10 was leaked, suggesting the justices would overturn the 1973 decision. POLITICO also posted a copy online, and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts has confirmed that it is authentic and has ordered an investigation.
Described as a landmark case and watershed moment in history, Roe v. Wade protects a woman’s freedom to choose to have an abortion without government restrictions. But this could no longer be the case by the summer. What a time to be alive!
I’m not supposed to be alive. I was an unwanted pregnancy, the product of lust and failed contraception.
At age 19, realizing that her dream of becoming a child psychiatrist was over, the birth control pills my mother swallowed were not as bitter as the realization that she was pregnant with me.
Her firstborn, my birth marked the death of who she had hoped she could be. No, having a baby does not make all women happy or fix everything.
My birth narrative is not something persons are accustomed to hearing.
There is not a single picture of my mother carrying me inside of her belly. There are no pictures of my mother holding me at birth or of me at one month old and then two months old and then three. There is no memory book for me to look back on.
She had not planned to have me. My name is Starlette because that was the nurse’s name who cared for her post-labor and delivery. She didn’t have one in mind and thought hers was pretty.
Born in the South, I consider it a miracle and a blessing, as there are so many other names she could have chosen that would have accompanied the middle name Mae or Lee.
I showed up unexpectedly, and the feeling of ruining things, of getting in the way, of not being wanted has stuck with me.
My mother said to me on more than one occasion that having children had ruined her life. She was not happy about being a mother.
No matter her children’s milestones or achievements, time never changed her feeling that she had missed out on living her life.
And sure, there are those who will say that she could have put me up for adoption. In response, I would point you to the exceptional work of Ann Fessler, documented in her book The Girls who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade.
Still, there are others who would argue that she should have abstained from having sex until she was ready to take on the responsibility, believing that sex is solely for procreation and not pleasure.
But that’s just it — she never wanted to have children or to be a mother. Instead, raised in a Christian home, she felt that she had to keep the pregnancy.
“But I didn’t ask to be here.” It is a familiar quip from children when their parents complain of the stressors of parenting. It wasn’t the child’s decision to be born and yet, here we are.
News of the leak spread on social media and persons discussed on Twitter how their mother’s decision to keep them had ruined their lives.
No matter where you stand on the rights of women to have bodily autonomy and the right to choose what they will and will not do with their bodies, there is something to be said and so much more left unsaid by the children of women who feel forced to give birth due to familial, religious and/or political pressure.
Because laws don’t change deep-seated and understandable feelings of regret and bitterness, disappointment and grief over the loss of what could have been if they hadn’t had a baby.
Yes, all this baby ever wanted was to be a part of a family, to be the pride and joy of two loving parents.
This decision won’t guarantee that reality for future children. With access to contraception and safe methods for abortion, it never happened for me.