I made the choice not to have kids due to my birth defects.
There were other factors, too, but I could logically justify my decision intellectually due to my birth defects, long before I could articulate additional reasons.
Growing up on the cusp of women’s liberation, at the tail end of the hippies and just before “free love” resulted in HIV, AIDs and other STDs, I was taught that it was wrong to have a child out of wedlock, both from the Church perspective of it being a sin, as well as the practical perspective of being vulnerable to unemployment and poverty, as well as being responsible to give that child the best chance in life by making sure it was safe, cared for, had 3 square meals a day, and to protect it from predators – both the known and unknown variety.
Being a parent was an irrevocable responsibility, with more risks than rewards, and no matter how good your intentions, the odds of failure were high and challenging.
So, as I’m struggling to breathe due to my worsening asthma / COPD, I’m perfectly fine with the decisions I’ve made. I have given no hostages to fate for caring for me in my old age / infirmity, and I’m trusting the system I’ve paid into for the last 42 years to help me figure out how to live to the end of my allotted time on my own terms, with as much independence as my health will allow.
That being said, though, we’re going into another election cycle where people who have paid into their benefits in America may not be able to collect on the social contract those 42 years of payments represent.
So, participating in this particular election is proving particularly challenging as the crazies appear to be coming out of the woodwork, without any concept of the bill they want to incur to keep everyone alive regardless of their quality of life, and regardless of the eventual bill coming due to future generations.
I am a huge supporter of Pro-Choice. Does that mean I want all women with a tough decision to choose abortion? No. What it means is that I don’t want to deprive another woman of the right to choose what’s best for her situation, as well as ensure she has access to a medically safe abortion if that’s the choice she makes.
I have birth defects.
I have had them repaired to the best abilities of medical science.
Repairs, however, don’t mean everything functions as it should, and does not mean that my quality of life (vs. quantity) is all that one would hope it might be.
With all of that background in mind, though, I’m stymied by someone who has been a close friend for 45 years or so, basically calling me an idiot because I support the right to choose.
Her youngest child was diagnosed as Downs Syndrome during the pregnancy, and appears to be perfectly healthy, without any Downs symptoms impacting her life. She’s getting ready to graduate high school, she’s on the Dean’s List for excellent grades, and she’s in the running for a variety of scholarships.
My friend, however, is taking my Pro-Choice viewpoint as a direct assault on her decision to bring her youngest child into the world.
WTF ? Seriously ?
I’m still not sure how the topic of her youngest daughter’s existence got involved in my voiced opinion to support Pro-Choice, but it has denigrated to this childhood friend trying to “educate” me about how wrong my viewpoint is, based on the successful outcome of her own situation. She supposedly “knows more than me because she’s studied long and hard on the matter”, blah, blah, blah.
Basically, she’s trying to use her college degree and her personal situation as leverage to convince me I’m wrong in my view to support Pro-Choice.
It’s maddening, as being Pro-Choice DOESN’T mean a woman *must* have an abortion, but rather that I choose to leave the decision about whether or not to carry a child to term, and to raise it, solely with the woman that is the breeding machine for that yet-to-be-born / can’t-yet-live-on-it’s-own-fetus. It’s not society’s business to sentance her to either bring a child into the world, and give it up if she feels unable to raise it, or to have a back alley, illegal and highly dangerous medical procedure under less than optimum medical conditions because Society has decided it knows best when it comes to her own body and life, and has left the woman no other choice when she disagrees.
So, that’s yet another example of why I’m here writing about my COPD, it’s impact on my life, and my support of palliative care / hospice vs. aggressive care, etc., in relative privacy. I just don’t want the world that is into my business because they are friendly with me or related to me involved in my decision.
Everyone who thinks they know what’s best for me and anyone else who also don’t know me personally doesn’t have to face my very real fears, my financial realities, the limitations imposed on me by my refurbished body, and make the ongoing decisions about what equals quality of life to me.
No answers here, but I continue to mull over whatever quality of life, independence, finances, and end of life options I pursue as long as the question of care is academic vs. actual end of life.
Whether it’s me, a pet or a baby, I always come back to a key decision – my body, my responsibility = my life.
I always want the option for palliative care, Pro-Choice and hospice remaining available. Nobody has to agree to use any of those choices for themselves, but I will fight to the end to prevent them from taking away any woman’s right to choose, regardless of whatever eventual decision is made.