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My miscarriages made me question being pro-choice

A few hours after my doctor told me that my third pregnancy was going to end with a third miscarriage, I was standing in front of a class of college freshman leading a discussion about the ethics of abortion. I think there was a conflict of interest, pedagogically speaking.

The discussion prompts I prepared were politically neutral, meant to promote deeper thinking about all perspectives of the debate, but when I put it together I knew what side I was on. I’ve been pro-choice since before I even understood what was at stake. And yet, when I chose to have a baby while still in my allegedly fertile late-20s, all I could produce were the kind of clots sucked out during a D&C. I chose baby. Where was my baby?

I still don’t know. I mean, I know where my babies are. The end results of pregnancies No. 4 and No. 5 are now bounding preschoolers with scraped knees and very firm opinions about tomatoes (one for and one against). I am lucky among people who choose to reproduce in that I eventually got to. I would like to say that my son and daughter are the children always intended for me by some force that I don’t understand and probably don’t believe in; that those other pregnancies were just my real kids making RSVPs they couldn’t keep, but that’s just not how I feel. It doesn’t make any sense to me, at least not intellectually, but I feel like I have five children — two born and three who were not born, which is a point-of-view that is hard to reconcile with being pro-choice.

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