The Cult of Pregnancy or If You Want Body Autonomy, Missy, You Best Die.

Back in 2004, I was a raging preggasaurus rex, made psycho (there was a phone conversation to my mother where I relayed the fact that had I pistol, I’d pop myself in the head because I couldn’t handle the whole incubating an alien with a penchant for organ feng shui and the burst dam of hormones thing known as pregnancy) by my impending son’s arrival.

When I did the at home pregnancy test earlier that year and got the positive, I offered my husband an option: we can do this or I can abort– being that we were financially strapped and adding a kid to that generally doesn’t improve the situation. He didn’t want me to abort, and I felt relief tinged with anxiety– oh fuck, here comes parenthood.

I didn’t handle pregnancy well– the hormones did something horrid to my mental state, morning sickness for eight months straight (I can say that pregnancy was the best diet ever! Lost 30 pounds in 28 days… which isn’t a good thing.) and came close to miscarrying which resulted in me having to use steroids for a time if I wanted to stay pregnant. A part of me felt that I shouldn’t use the medication– if nature is giving me a sign, then maybe I should let nature do its thing rather than thwarting it with chemistry. But no, if I’m pregnant, I need to stay pregnant– at least until it’s time to deliver. If I didn’t take the medication and lost the pregnancy, it’d be my fault because I didn’t do everything in my power to stay knocked up.

When it came to the end, I was in an induced labor (the OB thought my son would be large, like 9-14 pounds. Ha. 8.1!) for four [very shitty] days.  Tore north and south despite the episiotomy and good gods, there wasn’t enough lidocaine to take away the pain. Granted, I got a pretty awesome kid out of it, but no one told me how thoroughly crappy pregnancy could be.

Seriously, that shit gets whitewashed with glee of reproduction shaded with nausea (at least for a little while!) shopping for furniture and baby clothes and other sundry supplies, of strangers asking to touch one’s wiggling belly and smiling knowingly about the sleepless nights and engorged breasts ahead.

I fell into this cult for a while, being that as a fat chick I didn’t show my pregnancy as much as a more slender woman would and it hurt to not have my fertility acknowledged by strangers. Never got the big basketball belly. Only two people asked when I was due; the OB’s receptionist and a little old lady I met at a craft fair two days before I got induced. That’s right. Eight and half months of misery [Oh, did I forget to mention testing glucose levels 5 times a day (including at 2am) and twice daily insulin injections (who hates needles? I FUCKING DO!)  and psychosis-inducing hormones and only two acknowledgements… aside from that, I hated being pregnant. Best part of pregnancy? Giving birth because it mean that shit was OVER.]

My second pregnancy was just as medical-misery inducing topped off with more stress and a huge dose of postpartum depression– which affects the whole family unit. Needless to say, the last time I found myself in a family way, I opted for a termination.  The clinic I went to didn’t have a bunch of protesters, but there was a windowless van parked just down the street with a sign on the back stating that “abortion kills.”

So here comes the Cult of Pregnancy: the urge to keep all products of fornication/procreation, despite the mother’s situation being detrimental. If said “mother” opts to terminate, then she’s a whore; needs to keep her legs shut; how dare she have sex when fertile?!; and that cluster of cells growing like a tumor within one has more rights than the incubator on legs.

For example, this HuffPost vid regarding one woman’s choice to speak about her abortion gained such marvelous replies from the masses– for example,  the FaceBook post got these charming thoughts about how precious that zygote is and how that woman was lower than whale shit on the bottom of the sea:

cult1 cult2
cult3

How dare the rightful heir of the pillowy throne of womb be usurped? Those worshipping pregnancy as the defining moment of womanhood (if one spreads her legs, she better be prepared to deal with pregnancy; either carry to term and keep it or give it away, but she must suffer through pregnancy because she had the audacity to have sex, the hussy!) and to deviate from that; to ‘deny’ her natural course in life as an incubator means she’s irresponsible.

Those with infertility issues can spend years and thousands of dollars to try and breed naturally– or as naturally as possible. Meanwhile, there are almost half a million children in foster care waiting for adoption and pregnant women are told to not terminate and to adopt out instead, adding to those figures. The Cult of Pregnancy is such that women will go out of their way to ensure their own expression of fertility is heard; granted, there is nothing inherently wrong with that, however, ‘informing’ a woman that she’s a piece of shit for not indulging in the Cult of Pregnancy and the Sacred Wombfruit by seeking termination is shitty. All around shitty.

The Cult of Pregnancy isn’t a unifying force. I mean, it can be for some, but ultimately, it becomes a “you’re with us or the enemy” sort of situation– either surrender your uterus and autonomy for 9 months, or you’re a whore.

And about that title up there? The dying part? Check this out:

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