Staci's Story

As I write, my infant son is nestled against my breast. He entered this world seven weeks ago and has forever altered my life.

After years of consideration, my husband and I decided to embark upon this journey of parenthood recognizing it meant sacrifice, work, and joys beyond our understanding. Our relatively short journey so far has consisted of a series of joys and hardships. Beginning with the joy of finding out I was pregnant and the agony of morning sickness all day for four months. Then the indescribable pain of labor and the equally indescribable elation of seeing, hearing and touching our son for the first time. And now the chronic state of fatigue from lack of sleep and constant infant care to the rapture of seeing a smile on his face. Our son came into my life and took it over.

I often find myself reflecting on how lucky I was to plan a pregnancy, carry it to term and give birth to a baby who will be raised lovingly by two parents and a slew of friends and relatives. I chose this path for my life willingly and happily, on my own time, and with great forethought. I rest assured in the knowledge that this was the right choice for me and my family.

Prior to entering this new life of parenthood, I was a mental health therapist working with preschoolers, mostly foster children, with severe behavioral and emotional problems. Most of my time was spent with their natural parents who were attempting to be reunited with them after losing custody due to various levels of abuse and neglect. This is a difficult population to work with, but the potential rewards for society are great, and I love the work. I loved the challenge just as I loved the challenge of working with women at A Woman’s Choice Clinic for a number of years. The population of clients at the clinic is my population.

We are the population of women in their childbearing years who have CHOICES about our reproduction. We are free to choose what is best for us at this moment in our lives. I value this freedom because it allows us to be equal participants in a world where women are generally the primary caretakers, if not sole caretakers, of their children. In the absence of CHOICE, women are disempowered socially and emotionally. They are forced not only to carry unwanted pregnancies, but to have unwanted children, most of whom they will raise themselves. This can create financial, relational and emotional difficulties that last a lifetime.

Women must be trusted, as I was, to make their own decisions about when and if to become parents. I am thankful that I live in a nation where a I have reproductive CHOICE and that I chose to exercise it and become a parent. I am thankful that women have babies everyday because they choose to do so. I am thankful that 1.5 million women a year exercise their right to abort pregnancies they choose not to carry.

I am thankful, but not complacent. I recognize that in the current political and social climate, exercising our right to choose is not always easy and it is not well protected. Those of us who believe wholeheartedly in the right to choose must continue to fight to retain it. We must continue to support women who make the difficult decision to abort. We must continue to support mothers, natural and adoptive. We must continue to talk about the importance of control over our own reproduction and the need to maintain it.

May 1997

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