I believe that it is possible to be 13 months away from my 40th birthday and still not be sure what I believe. I believe it is possible, normal even, for beliefs to change as we grow older, as we experience life’s lessons.
For example, I used to believe in pro-choice. Not so much for me – my personal and religious beliefs would make abortion a very hard choice for me. But I believed in each woman’s right to choose. to make this very personal and difficult decision on her own. I believed that the government did not need to regulate this. And I held onto that belief even as my husband and I had difficulty conceiving.
Even though each woman in a position to consider abortion made me insanely jealous, I believed. I believed, even as we entered into the world of invitro fertilization – painful shots and mood debilitating medicines, ultrasounds and invasive procedures. This is when my belief suddenly became a potential reality, although disguised, not spoken of as “abortion”, but instead becoming “selective reduction”. What if all those fertilized eggs took hold? Would we reduce? My belief was being tested.
Thankfully we did not have to make that decision. But my belief, once so strong, is now being tested. This is because we made the decision to adopt. We adopted from a country where abortions are not easily accessible, where pre-natal care is often non existent. We waited for our precious child for nearly two years, and when I hold him and breath in his baby scent I wish everyone could feel this love that envelopes me. But not everyone can feel that love, because not everyone can have this gift. So many people want it, and because so many people hold that pro-choice belief I once did, others will not get to hold their own precious miracles.
So has my belief in the right to choose changed? I don’t know. One day I think it hasn’t, that this choice should remain a woman’s right. Then I hold my son, and I waiver. Oh, I know, yanking the right to choose away from pregnant women will not solve the problem of all the empty arms out there. There is no guarantee these unwilling birth mothers would restrain from drugs, would take care of themselves. There is no guarantee that forcing these women to bring pregnancies to term would not end with even more crack babies in this world.
What do I belief then? That our belief system is a work in progress. That our world is not black and white, but instead many shades of gray. This I believe.