MistakeWednesday, April 15, 2015
I was a mistake.
No one wanted me here.
I wasn't a "planned" pregnancy.
My mother was only 19 when she became pregnant and my "father" wanted me aborted or placed for adoption. My mother initially agreed to terminate our pregnancy. My life was almost ended before it began, except that a family member convinced my mother that abortion was not the right road to take.
If it weren't for that person I would most likely not be here today.
I wonder what my mother's life would have been like if I had not been here.
Would she have been a more successful individual, or would she have gotten married and had a "regular" family?
Would she still be here today?
I must assume that her lifelong unhappiness was partially caused by me coming along. In the 1970's. In her middle-class, white bread neighborhood; when she was only 19, and unmarried.
My mom died an alcoholic. I have tried to work through what part my life played in the behaviors which eventually culminated in her alcoholism, which was a direct factor in her death.
I was a mistake. And because I was here, I made her life less.
It was apparent in each and every single breath she took in my presence. It weighed over me, deeply embedding itself into my skin.
In contrast, my Beatrix was a planned and prayed for baby. Oh how I wanted her.
Then we heard "incompatible with life." The baby that was initially planned and waited for instantaneously became a mistake.
She was an "anomaly".
Something to be gotten rid of.
Erased as if she never happened.
Except that whether I chose to continue carrying her or not -- she happened.
Just like I happened to my mom.
If she had chosen to end my life, I still would have happened.
In some points I over-identify with my Bea -- Unwanted. Unplanned. Unworthy.
No one would have blamed my mother, or me, if we had made a different choice.
I wrestle with that. The idea that for those who support a woman's right to choose, it really has nothing to do with fetal anomalies, or financial situations or marital status. It's about being worthy.
Worth financial difficulties and rerouting of hopes and dreams. I am not worth that.
Worth carrying through to the bitter end so that her life was one without violence. She was not worth that.
At least that's what society says.
Society says that the unwanted, unplanned for, and imperfect are not worth the trouble that they will bring into the world with them.
For many years I have struggled with the knowledge that I was a mistake. I'm not supposed to be here. I was never supposed to happen.
But I did.
And she was so worthy -- so worthy.
What if I'm worthy too? What if I'm valuable and I deserved the shot at life that I got?
I have always seen myself as my Beatrix's protector. But I cannot work on the premise that she was -- is -- worth protecting if I am not worth protecting.
Value, in terms of a human being's value, can mean many different things. It can be related to your familiarity with a person, as in the value of a close friend vs. an acquaintance. It can be related to their worth as an employee. The more productive a worker is of more value than the less productive.
But I'm talking about inherent value -- the value that you have as a human being. Just for being born and breathing air.
I am valuable, just because I am.
There are those who will disagree -- who will insist that you must do something in order to be something. That your only value is the value you bring to that friendship or employment relationship.
Followed to its logical conclusion, this idea would mean that the lonely are unworthy. That the unemployable are less valuable. That in some cases the young, or the old, are not worthy.
When we begin stating that it's ok to abort a sick child, or a poor woman's child -- we say that the children who fall into that category, but who aren't aborted, are less valuable. You may disagree, but it's the truth.
They are less valuable.
Every time someone shouts out that a poor woman should stop procreating, or that a college student should just "get rid of it" so that she can finish that education, our reasoning is that it's best for the sake of the child. As in, we don't want to have your raised-in-poverty child because that child's life will be less, which will have negative repercussions on society as a whole. There are those who will claim that they don't want children to suffer, but my answer back to that is that the solution to alleviating suffering isn't extermination but assistance.
The question at hand is the worthiness of the child. It's easier to end the life of a person like me, than it is to help the mother faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
For many years I half-blamed myself for my mother's frustration. For her inability to be free, because that's what I really saw her as lacking, freedom.
I was a mistake. Do you understand what the continual message that a woman has a right to choose, and that poverty is an acceptable reason for ending a child's life, does to the child who is actually born? The child who comes out of a situation that is used as the most common reason for abortion?
It scars you. It makes you feel worthless. It makes you feel responsible for things that you had no control over. It brings forth the self-talk:
"If I weren't here, things would be better. I shouldn't be here."
"If she would have made the responsible choice, I would never have been born."
"Ending me would have been the best decision for her."
But it wasn't what was best for me. Because I am worthy. I was both planned and valuable. Maybe not in human terms -- but humans don't set the standards for worth, in terms of other human beings, with any authority. I was planned and I am valuable, by and to an authority far greater than any here on earth.
Beatrix was also valuable. I have tried so hard to make people see that. I think some people do -- but they only see her value as it pertains to my needs. They don't see her value as inherent.
She would have been valuable even if I hadn't wanted her. She was valuable because she was here. I want people to remember her, to love her wildly, because she was a human being worthy of love. Not because she was loved by me.
The echo of her life still remains in our atmosphere.
Just like mine will someday.
And both of our unplanned lives – which are generally deemed unwanted and unworthy, will echo far beyond the place where we stood when we lived. We will echo so loud and so far that there will be no question of how worthy we were.
And maybe, in those echoes, other people will see the worth of what some may call an “unwanted” child.