Sunday, July 17, 2005

"I’m glad you’ve decided not to kill it."

Alas (a blog)

In the comments to Pro-choice and pregnant, Robert said

Oh, and congratulations on the baby. I’m glad you’ve decided not to kill it.

Ignoring for the moment the question of whether that was intended as deliberate provocation, I wanted to address the question of whether it’s even accurate. I’m not sure it is.

“Decided not to…” implies that the possibility has been given some consideration, however fleeting; I might say, for example, “I thought about buying the Kaiser Chiefs album but decided not to.” If the option hasn’t been consciously considered and rejected, it doesn’t really make sense to imply a decision has been made. I wouldn’t say that I’ve decided not to move to Milton Keynes, become a chartered accountant or take up underwater basketweaving, and nor would I say that I’ve decided not to terminate this pregnancy.

Before I became pregnant, I spent a long time considering the possibility of having a baby. I passionately wanted a family, and although I don’t believe there’s anything special about biological, as opposed to adoptive, parenthood, I decided the simplest way to have a baby of my own was to give birth to one. So to say that I “decided not to adopt” is completely reasonable: I considered the possibility and rejected it.

The decision to become pregnant was less positive: the timing never seemed to be quite right and I wasn’t sure I had the right to inflict myself on a child. I hesitated, and circumstances came together to help me decide. I had the opportunity to have unprotected sex at the appropriate time of the month. I took it, and three nervous weeks later a blood test confirmed my pregnancy.