The Decision to Carry or Abort

To the women today who are making this decision please consider what I have to say.  I have been there, in more than one way.  I have decided to abort twice in my life.  I have decided to carry three times.  I was placed for adoption at birth myself forty-nine years ago.

What people don't often say is that every choice has consequences. Choosing not to carry doesn't change or remove that fact.  I do not judge you for where you are or the choices that you made or may make.  I feel sad for you because I fully know that no matter what choice you make, it will be with you for the rest of your life. I know the reality because I live it. 

My intention is not to scare you, bore you or change you.  My intention is, to be honest.  No matter which road you take, you will never be the same.  Some will tell you abortion is the easy way out.  That is never true.  At some point, maybe when you least expect it, the reality of the choice that you made will come back to you. I have sat with women who just found out they had cancer, I have had cancer.  One of the first things some say is, "I did this years ago it was a terrible thing to do.  Am I being punished for that?".  There are women have found out they can't conceive anymore.  They wonder is it punishment for the choice they made when they thought the time wasn't right.

Some will tell you carrying and parenting is the easy way out.  There is nothing easy about carrying and giving birth to a baby.  There is nothing easy about being a parent.  It can be rewarding, but it's not always.   Some will tell you that carrying and placing for adoption is easy.  Today there are more and more open adoptions, there are some good viable choices to be made.  Yet the reality is, not all are what you think they will be.  Some are, but not all are.  

So lest you think I am writing that there is no way out and life is full of gloom, let me make my point again.  No choice is without consequence.  I have sat with many women who chose abortion.  Almost always in a time of crisis, that is what comes to mind.  Is this because of what I did?  Often,  in a great season of life, those memories start coming back.  Maybe when you feel safe, or when are carrying a planned pregnancy. You may find yourself haunted by the choice you made to end the life growing inside of you.  If you carry and parent, there is almost always a time that comes when your heart feels broken.  Because as a parent, you love deeply and you hurt deeply.  No child is perfect, those times will come.  If you decide to become a birth mother you will have made the best choice you can make at the moment.  But that too can cause stress and trauma long term.  There are no guarantees.

In my life,  I have met many women on all sides and in all stages of this decision.  I have not met anyone who said I wish I wouldn't have chosen to give the life growing inside of me a chance.  I have, however, met many who live daily with the consequences of the choice they made. Not being able to deal with them in a healthy way.

So all I am saying is again, no choice is the easy choice.  My life has been a gift to me. It has been difficult.   I grew up in an abusive home and environment.  I had a terrible first marriage at a young age.  Yet the result of that was a lovely daughter that I wouldn't trade for anything.  Even with her a co-worker, who knew my situation, encouraged me to abort. I said no, hell no.  When faced with being a single mother and having another baby, I chose to not carry, twice.  I was not told there would be a consequence.  I heard it was my choice and the easiest choice.  Many nights, years later, I couldn't sleep because of what I had done.  I wanted to go find those people who told me that and slap them in the face. They lied. 

 Recently, I learned I was conceived in rape.  I learned my birth mother has struggled with her decision to place me for years.   A decision she made because she feared she couldn' t care for me based on her circumstances.  She feared she couldn't look at me if I looked like my father. I also learned that God told her life was a gift and that I would do great things in my life.  It was hard for her to hear I grew up unloved. It was hard for me to see the effects of her choice to give me life on her. 

Consequences, every choice we make has them.  My question for the woman struggling today with this choice is this.  Which choice can you live with for the rest of your life? 

If my birth mother would have aborted me, I wouldn't be here to write this. Maybe there wouldn't be programs at our local cancer center that I helped create.  There are families on a Reservation that might not be homeowners if I had not been a part of that program. There are women who have heard my stories and it has changed them.  It has inspired them to share their stories to change others.  The world would also be without three incredible, powerful young women who call me mom.  There would be three less daughters in this world.  Three less business owners.  Three less artists and students.  Three less  strong young women who have the ability to change the world around them. 

 The choice you make today dictates what will happen in the rest of your life.    Consequences, life is full of them.  Please be informed, seek information and make decisions carefully.  It is worth educating yourself and making an educated thoughtful decision.  The rest of your life will be affected by the choice you make.  You are smart, you are strong, you are someone and you are carrying somebody. 


Doris Cardwell