Being Pro-Choice and Talking About Miscarriage

I think sometimes when you proclaim that you are strongly pro-choice, biased stereotypes are born. I have heard all varieties of judgement while having children and keeping my strong pro-choice beliefs, I am not surprised about it though.

About a year ago, I posted this on my personal website just to really talk about it. Get the story out there, work on breaking down stereotypes surrounding pro-choice mothers. Because it is something truly needed.

I learned about my pregnancy on a Sunday. My husband was out with the fire department for his weekly early Sunday morning engineers meeting, and I was home with two little boys who were still sleeping. I still wonder why I was awake… but looking back I think each moment of that day was especially planned by some type of higher power.

We were done having children, at least for the time being. We just weren’t in a position to bring another mouth to feed into our home. Through the tanking economy my husband had lost his job, and subsequently had to take a new position which meant a 50% pay cut which hurt us as a whole. While we are in a better place today, we are still recovering from it!

I had an emotional break down. I was extremely torn because I knew this wasn’t something we could “do” on paper but I wanted nothing more than to meet this small Elwood inhabiting my uterus. I was a hot mess when it even came to thinking about birth process on top of it. After a horrid c-section and then a failed VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) attempt that turned into a complete nightmare, and months of postpartum depression, I was just freaked out.

Did the idea of abortion cross my mind?  Sure… but was it something I personally wanted? Nope!  Being pro-choice does not mean you find the choice of abortion right for you.

I went to the doctor and confirmed my pregnancy but the practice I was seeing would not even consider the option of allowing me to go into labor or have a VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 c-sections) which to me was almost instantly a deal breaker.  I went on to find a high risk neo-natology practice at a high ranking hospital who would allow me to have a trial of labor despite my history of 2 cesarean deliveries.

A lot to even take in during the first couple weeks of pregnancy.

It wasn’t until I was a couple weeks into my pregnancy that I started bleeding… something I didn’t do with my other two pregnancies and I went postal. My heart was breaking as they did blood work and ultrasounds and told me it was most likely my body miscarrying.

The situation as a whole almost broke me. The way the OB/GYN at the practice said it… like it was no big deal. The way the ultrasound tech was so rude and cold. The way everyone had treated it just left me feeling so… empty.

This baby who we never thought we wanted — once it became a reality was very wanted. And the thought of a loss almost destroyed me.

But as a mom you have to put on your game face because you still have other children who depend on you to care for them. We don’t get days off when we are going through a hard time.

As the days went on, the bleeding stopped. A week went by and I had blood work and an ultrasound done again — and another week went by and we repeated the process. Finally when I made it to 12 weeks I was able to finally sigh and feel like I could see light at the end of the tunnel. I also ran from that practice screaming, and retreated back to my loving and caring practice from my second pregnancy.

I knew through that experience that my views on something like abortion would not be changed, but it would certainly make me feel so much stronger about stressing the fact that being pro-choice does not mean the option of abortion would ever be a course of action. Through all this — the simple suggestion pisses me off and sends me on a rant.

In the long run — with a very bumpy pregnancy and a scheduled c-section turned labor attempt turned third and final c-section… we had a beautiful baby girl who rounded out our family perfectly. And I thank my lucky stars every day to have her in our lives. Planned or not… I don’t know what I would do without her.

  • Beverly Uhlmer

    I honestly can’t figure out what you were telling us but am delighted you stayed the course and have this beautiful daughter. I became pregnant unexpectedly when my daughter was 2 and my son 1. It was 1975, two years after abortion became legal. My husband had just been transferred overseas and feared that they would cancel the assignment if they knew I was pregnant. I was terrified that he would want me to have an abortion.

    When this third child was born, a second son, I had no idea what a blessing he would be. At age 27 my first son killed himself. I can’t begin to tell you how much more I thanked God that I had another son. He now has two beautiful children, who are the delight of my life.

    One never knows what the future will bring and destroying a child for the sake of convenience can lead to untold sorrow in the long run. I am unabashedly pro-life as God is the creator of life and we should not take it into our own hands to destroy that life.

  • Trish

    I sympathize with your experience having an uncertain pregnancy (I’ve been there, too), but I’m a bit troubled with your post, in general. Why is it so important to make the distinction to a public audience that you are pro-choice but would not terminate an unwanted pregnancy? Are you trying to redeem your reputation, from what you consider to be an unfair stigma, with a post that only perpetuates the belief that abortions are shameful (you clearly don’t want to be associated with one, so they must be)? Do you feel that you are a better person because you would not make that choice for yourself (your post heavily implies this)? Your post leads me to believe that you are not as strongly prochoice as you think that you are. If you want to advocate for abortion rights, don’t in the same breath portray abortions as shameful by explicitly and unneccessarily making the distinction that you wouldn’t have one and that it bothers you that people would think that you would.

    • Danielle Elwood

      @Trish – No one is portraying abortions as shameful. I am simply making the point that not all pro-choice advocates would make the choice of abortion. It has nothing to do with shame, it has everything to do with personal CHOICE and preference. Hence being Pro-CHOICE. If I got pregnant again in the future, who knows if abortion would become a valid choice for me at that point in time. It may. It may not. I cannot tell the future. I stand by the fact that I am pro-CHOICE meaning I want women to have all choices open to them no matter what CHOICE they choose.

      It is about trusting women to make their own decisions. Not forcing them into the choice *I* think they should make.
      It is not about being a better person, or disassociating myself with abortion. You clearly are putting too much thought into it.

  • Kerry Sauriol

    I have to say I don’t understand what abortion being pro choice and miscarriage and or your unplanned pregnancy have in common at all.

    Being pro choice is just that….CHOICE…having the option. Not a light option…but one that is there for any of us.

    Nobody needs to justify their CHOICE or feelings. A miscarriage is horrible not matter your leanings on the abortion issue. I lost my boy at 25 weeks. Was it better for me because I am pro choice? Of course not. The idea is absurd.

    I am not a less feeling person because of my feelings on abortion. And we really shouldn’t have the need to explain that to anyone.

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