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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"I Wish My Mother Had Aborted Me"

Posted by on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Here's a thoughtful screed on abortion and anti-choice emotional manipulation, written by a woman makes the argument that her mother had aborted her, for both their sakes. Go read it:

... Gordon Dalbey tells a highly unlikely story about his mother’s decision to abort him and her eventual change of heart. I say that the story is highly unlikely because the type of abortion he says his mother was about to have was not available until 50 years later. However, Dalbey claims to have recovered a memory of being “delivered” from the abortion because as a fetus he cried out to God. He claims that the near-abortion experience had caused him psychological suffering throughout his life. Since recovering the memory, he has experienced survivor’s guilt because he was saved when so many other fetuses have been aborted. In explaining how he overcame this guilt, he quotes a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust who says that the purpose of surviving is to testify to the experience.

What makes these stories so infuriating to me is that they are emotional blackmail. As readers or listeners, we are almost forced by these anti-choice versions of A Wonderful Life to say, “Oh, I am so glad you were born.” And then by extension, we are soon forced into saying, “Yes, of course, every blastula of cells should be allowed to develop into a human being.”

...The narrative that anti-choice crusaders are telling is powerful, moving, and best of all, it has a happy ending. It makes the woman who carries to term a hero, and for narrative purposes, it hides her maternal failing. We cannot argue against heroic, redemptive happy-ending fairy tales using cold statistics. If we want to keep our reproductive rights, we must be willing to tell our stories, to be willing and able to say, “I love my life, but I wish my mother had aborted me.”

An abortion would have absolutely been better for my mother.

Really: Go read the whole thing. It'll break your brain in the best of ways.


Comments (30) RSS

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sirkowski 1
I see and understand what she trying to do, but it doesn't work. It's as illogical as the anti-choice near abortion story.
Posted by sirkowski on August 8, 2012 at 3:25 PM · Report this
That's an awesome link--thank you. I was put up for adoption by a birth mother who carried me to term before Roe vs. Wade, and even though speaking from that alternate situation (often posited as an ideal solution, since other people want to have children but can't), I've often had similar thoughts.
Posted by eliade on August 8, 2012 at 3:32 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 3
My grandmother was a college-educated woman, yet she had twelve children and died at the age of 57 from a heart condition that was probably caused by poor diet choices and certainly exacerbated by having that many children. Access to abortion - or, better yet, birth control - would have made all the difference in her life.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on August 8, 2012 at 3:34 PM · Report this
100% pro choice but I think both essays are nutty.
Posted by MikeB on August 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM · Report this
Allyn 5
Cienna, thank you for posting this. It’s good to see someone expressing this thought I’ve long had.

I find the arguments “but I wouldn’t be here!” to be so illogical. And not to be mean, but we wouldn’t have missed [you]. Really, we’d have had no idea.

My grandmother should not have had my mother. My mother’s childhood was terrible. My aunt, born 16 years later, also had a traumatic childhood. It’s insincere to say now, “oh, but I’m glad they were born or else I wouldn’t be here.” The world would still be spinning. I wouldn’t have known the difference. You would not have known to mourn my absence.

I will pass that essay on. Well worth the read.
Posted by Allyn on August 8, 2012 at 3:46 PM · Report this
Allyn 6
Also, Cienna, thanks for showing me my new favorite website.
Posted by Allyn on August 8, 2012 at 4:05 PM · Report this
At the point pro-choice advocates are saying, "I love my life, but I wish my mother had aborted me," they have lapsed into self-parody and the pro-lifers have won the argument.
Posted by minderbender on August 8, 2012 at 4:29 PM · Report this
@1 What makes it illogical?
Posted by sahara29 on August 8, 2012 at 5:03 PM · Report this
Jesus. That was idiotic. While I fully support a women's right to choose, now I wish her mother had aborted her too.

In fact all the people in here who are saying they should have been aborted— there's the door. Abort yourself now. Its not too late. Not many people will miss you now, either. I mean the world will STILL keep spinning, right?

Oh you have children and spouses? Well, heck abort them, too. Retroactivity is all the rage these days.

And collectively the world will keep spinning even after that and not miss the lot of you.

In fact, following this logic, if you're American consumers eating away at the world resources 10x the rate of every other human it probably WOULD be better for the world if you and your progeny were aborted. Heck. If that's your logic then follow through.

If we have to explain why this article presents a stupid bottomless utilitarian argument then you're probably too dumb to understand the explanation.
Posted by tkc on August 8, 2012 at 5:45 PM · Report this
emma's bee 10
@9: really, tkc? How many kids do you have (or plan on having)? The utilitarian reasoning seems quite sound to me. Not reproducing is the best any of us can do for the planet, other than offing ourselves.
Posted by emma's bee on August 8, 2012 at 6:10 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 11
tkc dear, Just who "in here" are saying they wished they'd been aborted? I know people like you tend to be high-strung, but please try to stay reality-based.

Some commenters - myself included - have spoken of mothers or grandmothers who had to deal with circumstances. It's not about wishing we, or our mothers or grandmothers, had been aborted.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on August 8, 2012 at 6:21 PM · Report this
sirkowski 12
@8 I have to explain how it's illogical she wish she didn't exist and yet keep on existing?

Both pro-choice and anti-choice essays are stupid. You were either born and you're alive, or you weren't born and you don't exist. It's too late to not have existed if you did.

God damn post-modernists.
Posted by sirkowski on August 8, 2012 at 6:24 PM · Report this
balderdash 13
Wow. I had never heard of Gordon Dalbey, and now he ranks high on my mental compendium of manipulative pieces of shit. I mean, I cut him a little slack because he seems genuinely self-deluded, but you really kinda have to try to be THAT self-deluded, so basically fuck that guy. Yuck.
Posted by balderdash on August 8, 2012 at 6:47 PM · Report this
wingedkat 14
Posted by wingedkat on August 8, 2012 at 7:39 PM · Report this
I prefer my refuting the stupid "I wouldn't be here if my mom had had an abortion" with (the very true for me) "I wouldn't be here if my Dad's first wife hadn't had an abortion."
Posted by amerlinh on August 8, 2012 at 7:51 PM · Report this
@7: Only in the mind of one as simple as yourself.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on August 8, 2012 at 7:55 PM · Report this
Being aborted as an embryo is not the same as committing suicide as an adult. Equating the two morally in the context
of pro-life vs pro-choice positions is begging the question.
Posted by madcap on August 8, 2012 at 10:50 PM · Report this
I'm not going to lie, I was a very wanted baby. But i also wonder too, had i been aborted, would my mother's life been better?

From what i have been told, i was the only one of my mother's 3 living birthed children she planned. (I had a brother born stillborn) My my half sister (and stillborn brother) - were from a previous marriage. Neither of them were planned. She met my dad - and they wanted to have a baby together, though maybe not be married - it was the 70's, though, and they did get married 6 months after my birth.

My father, at first from what i have been told by family members other than my mother, wasn't a monster, but he quickly turned to drugs and booze after my birth. As long as I've known him, he's been a misogynistic asshole who thought he was "king'. I can't think he only thought that way just because of the drugs and booze, but he's been that way since he's become sober, as well.

He was horrible. Mean. Domineering. Controlling. And stupid as the day is long. (and still is)

I often wonder, if my mother hadn't been straddled down with a newborn infant, would she have left? She was no saint of a mother, either, mind you, but would it have been better for her not to have me? i know she stayed with my dad for *years* after she should have "for the sake of the children", and when my younger sister came along, unexpected though my mother was on the pill, that *really* cemented it.

There is a part of me that wishes she'd aborted me. Not just for her sake, but for mine too. I could have been the product of someone else - like my awesome stepdad, while being an extreme conservative, is a great person and loving father. She and my older sister could have had many more loving years - and selfishly, I could have had them too as someone else's child.

Posted by Greycat on August 8, 2012 at 11:13 PM · Report this
If someone told me they had recovered memories of a near-abortion experience my first impulse would be sympathy, but not for them having a near-abortion experience. They've most likely been the victim of a misguided or downright malicious practitioner of hypnosis or possibly just therapy (whether official or not). Hypnosis would be likely. Memories "retrieved" by hypnosis have been shown to have no connection to actual experiences, but to then be felt just like real memories. Basically, you can "recover" an experience with hypnosis you never had, but then you truly feel like you had it. So, you get the psychological harm of having the memory of experiencing it, if the memory is negative. You can get all sorts of psychological damage. I blame the people helping to "recover" memories for abusing these people, since now they have the issues of someone who has been abused. At least "past life regression", while no more accurate, has the chance of making you have the memories of some sort of cool and interesting experience. Alien abduction "memory retrieval" generally just tends to be harmful.
Posted by uncreative on August 8, 2012 at 11:58 PM · Report this
I do not want to stop existing, I enjoy my life. I have friends, a good relationship with my father, a fantastic boyfriend and a bright future ahead of me. But do I think that if would have been better if thirty years ago, instead of marrying my mother, my father had looked into her eyes, seen all the crazy, dumped her and never looked back? Even though that would mean I didn't exist today? Yes. It would have. My mother terrorized my entire family. She ruined my childhood and my sisters' childhoods and she ruined more than 20 years of my fathers life. It wasn't until after they got divorced and my father found a new woman that he told me "For the first time, I actually feel loved. I never felt loved with your mother". I wish that he could have had that when he was young, I wish he could have had a happy marriage and a happy family with well-adjusted kids. So in essence, I wish that I had not been born. But I would never, ever in a million years commit suicide. Why is that so hard to grasp? What about it is so illogical?
Posted by Friendstastegood on August 9, 2012 at 2:13 AM · Report this
"as a foetus he cried out to God"

Yeah right! So for the rest of his life, he's going to wallow around in pity because his mother didn't succeed in aborting him? He needs psychological help.
Posted by Patricia Kayden on August 9, 2012 at 4:44 AM · Report this
Wow, is that a michelle pfeiffer lookalike or what?
You should see a Jacksonville Beach insert photo of a woman abeing I think a sailor jerry model and then see the local equivalent..its wildly unmotivating.
so far, this article maybe doth speak to me in volumes of not being a suicidal infant like the one song by Puddle of Mudd, but if that song is to be used in a different ,light, maybe the retarded arian aganda makes more a whole..being retarded and blonde....its something I haven't seen but does exist and its not envy, and that crying out to god reference is a wonderful homage towards the Creed of this man or womans' recreation and telling story that doesn't seem to be a paranormal fable of living.
Posted by dann on August 9, 2012 at 6:18 AM · Report this
Allyn 23
@21 well, and what an ego. If he as a barely formed bunch of cells was special enough to get God to step in and save him, what does it say about a living child in danger who cries to God yet still dies by a parent's hand? Did that child have less worth to God than the unaborted fetus?

@19 I would love some planted memories, as long as they were wonderful. If I could get recovered memories of an amazing childhood and a degree from Harvard, I'm in.
Posted by Allyn on August 9, 2012 at 7:17 AM · Report this
McJulie 24
Let's say a girl has sex as a teenager, gets pregnant, considers abortion, and then has the baby. Years later, that baby is this guy, saying "I'm so glad my mother didn't abort me." Notice he doesn't say, "I'm so glad my mother had underage sex." And why is that? He wouldn't exist without the sex any more than he would exist if she'd had the abortion.

Nobody says, "I'm so glad my mother was raped." Nobody says, "I'm so glad my mother had that cocaine addiction problem and turned tricks for extra money." Nobody says, "I'm so glad my biological grandfather was in the habit of sexually abusing my mother."

Posted by McJulie on August 9, 2012 at 9:27 AM · Report this
willendorf 25
It has never occurred to me to wish my mother had had an abortion, but I have thought her life might have been better if she had never married my father and I had never been born. I used to feel guilty about this, but she made the choices she made, and here we are.
Posted by willendorf on August 9, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
I am very happy that my mother, against the advice of her Dr, chose not to abort me. I am also very happy that my mother got to make that choice rather than having it dictated to her by the government.

I will never understand how anti-government/pro-"freedom" conservatives can possibly justify the government coming in to make the most personal decisions possible for people, regulating them right down to their internal organs.
Posted by Root on August 9, 2012 at 1:48 PM · Report this
@11, Well, sweetie, It's a cute and pithy table turning essay but it's not any argument to counter the Pro-life positions.

The essay, and the some comments, directly inferred by those would-be-aborted fetuses that in hindsight abortion would have been a "better" option. "Should" implies something.

If it was better for granny to have aborted mommie, or mommie to have aborted you, - and the "world would still keep turning" - then, logically, it's STILL better. What's changed? The world will still turn if you die today. What's so important about you now? Nothing if you take that utilitarian line of reasoning.

That an individual person's total contributions likely don't amount to that much is not a valid or moral argument FOR abortion. Nor is the potential contribution of an aborted fetus a valid argument AGAINST abortion.

The argument pits one set of unknowns and suppositions against another equally unprovable set of assumptions and all based on highly speculative and subjective utilitarian criteria reviewed in hindsight.

Not only that, if we set down the road to utilitarianism we basically start measuring human worth by impossibly absolutist economic metrics. So, if that's what you want - kill yourself now: A thousand people can live off the resources you as an American can consume. Positive utility established!

Abortion should be legal simply because a grown adult woman's CHOICES take precedent over a clump of undifferentiated cells that reside inside her. And abortion should be legal because the confines of your own body is sacrosanct. Full stop.

What that clump of cells might or might not become or regret in the future, or what the government wants with that clump, is irrelevant.

Abortion isn't needed in hindsight or in the future. It's needed in the present. That is where the valid argument lives.

If you think rhetoric like in this essay is convincing or compelling, then it's no wonder my fellow liberals are losing ground politically.

Debating these idiots on their level just makes us idiots too.
Posted by tkc on August 9, 2012 at 2:52 PM · Report this
Also. The title of this post is "I Wish My Mother Had Aborted Me"
Posted by tkc on August 9, 2012 at 3:03 PM · Report this
Christampa 29
The title of the linked article is "I Wish My Mother Had Aborted Me", you pedantic dipshit, not a fervent wish from Cienna.

If we follow your logic, the world would keep spinning even if you were dead, so why don't you kill yourself? Wow, your argument is so foolproof even I can use it against you!

No really, you taking someone to task for using a very common expression to indicate how insignificant we all are is very persuasive. Taking literally what ought to be taken figuratively is an A++ way of spinning the argument in your favor, especially when you follow it up with some wonderful hyperbole equating never having existed with ending your life now. Which, by the way, you should definitely do. I can honestly say that I would be a much happier person with you dead right now, than with you having never existed.

Why you insist on being such a consistently wrong piece of shit, day after day, when you could just as easily stop doing that and everything else is beyond me.
Posted by Christampa on August 10, 2012 at 2:27 AM · Report this
sirkowski 30
I bet she listens to Evanescance.
Posted by sirkowski on August 10, 2012 at 7:20 PM · Report this

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