I think a lot of that is because of the way we've bred cats and dogs. There's a lot of "natural" empathy genetically selected (by pet breeders and owners) over thousands of years, although humans weren't aware of the underlying, genetic mechanisms. (There are recent, interesting programs that explain this, like on PBS and Nat Geo.)
But still, not to take away from altruism that is occasionally (I think you're pointing out) seen in other animals, I just saw a program this week about a pet dog and a wild, baby doe becoming best pals and playmates for life. (The dog owners suckled her, after she apparently lost her doe mother and was roaming around, lost.) Even after the young doe matured returned to the wild herd to make her family, her offspring also became good friends with the dog.
I'm going to put my baby up for adoption.
I thought this might have been the case, but I avoided the sugar coating for exactly the reason you gave. I'm so sorry you've been put in this situation, Belle.
Abortion is the easy way out.
Gratefully, yes it is. It's one of the few times when women get to choose between the easy way and the hard way, overruling nature, religion, and male chauvinism. From the difficult times you've been through in other aspects of your life, I have no doubt that you're capable of handling this by going 'the hard way' if that's what you've decided.
But for me personally I can't live with broken possibilities of any kind. I always explore possibilities to the fullest. This gets me in trouble a lot, lol. But I don't regret it because it's one way of living life to the fullest. I could not live with the "what if" questions....I would rather have the baby and give it to parents who will LOVE the snot out of it and can give it the best life possible. This too is never guaranteed. But this is my choice. It is the harder path to take. But it will be the most fulfilling....now if I could just keep some food down....
I'm relieved you recognize that what you've decided is the harder choice. Neither would be pleasant, but I would find it agonizing to have a child and give it up, whereas by comparison it would be easy never to have that child at all. I must admit I would take the easy way, as I prefer to take the hard ways on my own terms, when I can.
That said, it's good to have choices, even difficult ones, and this one was yours to make. The worst would be having none. I hope you get the fulfilment you're looking for.
RE: I would find it agonizing to have a child and give it up...
I think in my mind I would find it agonizing to hear it being vacuumed out of me like dust on the rug...
If you would truly experience it in that way-- like a child being vacuumed out of you like so much dust-- then I understand why you'd never do it. I don't think I could either, if I looked at it that way and couldn't see it any other way.
I do see it two other ways, though. Before I explain: I support your choice, for whatever that's worth. I mean to discuss, not persuade.
The first way I see it has to do with how the word "child" stayed with me when I read what you wrote: a child being vacuumed out. That's such an extremely powerful image. There's too much detail to get into here, but this is about the religious right, the subjugation of women, and the steady stream of misinformation flowing from sources like Fox "News", except that the anti-abortion aspects date back to Roe v. Wade. The amount of time, effort and money expended to create impressions associated with meaningless things like "Coke is It" and "I'm Lovin' It" is dwarfed by what in the last 40 years went into creating the impression a woman associates with being pregnant: "it's a child, not a choice." Recognize this nearly ubiquitous, factually untrue, Orwellian pronouncement for exactly what it is: religious thought control-- control of women-- in a democratic society. It's meant to apply the instant and enormous pressure that once a woman is pregnant, it's beyond her power.
The second way I see it has to do with science. The same science that sends robots to Mars, transplants living organs, peers back to the origins of the universe, and builds supercomputers, also tells us, right here, right now, inside you: there is no child. Not yet.
There are pro's and con's to both....it's a very........very hard decision.
I acknowledge that the way you experience reality subjectively is valid here. Yet, the medically objective reality is also worth considering, if you can do it. Because in that medically objective reality, you're not choosing between destroying your child and giving your child away. You're choosing between having a child and not having a child. That's it. That's all it is. Pressure: gone. You still have weeks, months even, to decide.
Now, I'm not saying you've fallen prey to some pro-life brainwash job. Ever since I've known you, you've been spotting and escaping them. I'm saying I understand how you see it: to you it feels like it's a child already. I'm only pointing out the benefit of changing that feeling, if you're able to. If you can, then you won't have to make such a difficult choice.
Thank you, Belle, for sharing so much of yourself so openly on these boards.
I'm OK with it...because it really is the best thing in my situation.
I like those words and not because you've decided to seek a termination. I like that you're a woman, informed, empowered, and deciding for herself what is best for her situation; the anathema of the religious right.
I was tormented over it....but now it's a simple choice and I'm at peace about it. The sooner the better.
Depending on where you live, there may be some folks who are rather determined to make that simple, peaceful choice more difficult and disruptive. This may include medical professionals who aim to sway rather than discuss, misinform rather than inform, or hinder rather than assist. Planned Parenthood is a good place to ask for a referral to doctors who keep religion out of medical opinion, and out of your body.
+ 25 to Belle and all the people who have helped her come to a decision.
As someone who experienced an unwanted pregnancy at the age of sixteen, with my seventeen year old girlfriend, I can attest to the fact that abortion left mental scars for the both of us. I stayed by her side after making the decision to abort and tried to be supportive. I know the whole ordeal left me unsettled at the time and gave me cause to reflect about how I was conducting my own life. It has been many decades since then and I still regard the whole process of abortion as one that deserves careful thought and consideration. Adoption is certainly a healthy choice for many, I am adopted myself, but there is definitely a lot of mental baggage that goes with giving up your child. The sense of guilt can be overwhelming. With the advent of the morning after pill and other methods of contraception there is no reason to experience pregnancy unless you really desire to do so.
I would have an abortion. That is the healthier choice in my opinion. It feels like I would be rewarding the rapist by allowing his DNA to become a living human being even if he never knows about it. (very likely he would find out someday since with the Internet, friends of friends etc. not many things stay secret forever anymore)
My opinion doesn't matter though since I'm not the one that has to make the decision. Belle, I would recommend that you stop asking random strangers or even friends their opinions and talk with professional counselors and doctors about the situation you are in.
Remember that it is YOUR health and happiness that matter MOST. I have seen many women be self-sacrificing martyrs (my mom for example) and she ended up bitterly regretting being that way in the long run. It really is up to YOU to make smart and healthy decisions. I really do hope the best for YOU. Putting yourself first is not being selfish, it is hopefully enlightened self-interest and healthy self evaluation.
Rape likely has destroyed a part of your sense of healthiness but it doesn't have to stay that way forever. If you want more children then there are several other ways that will be healthier and make you happier, for example, being a surrogate mother or egg donor. Even sleeping with a random loving and kind stranger would be a better way to get pregnant than from rape in my stupid ass opinion. lol You could even still give the child up for adoption if you really feel like that is a healthy tradition.
Please know that I say these things with your best health and happiness in mind. But it's your life and I will do my best to support you in any limited ways that I can as a not that great old friend of yours. Please be gentle and kind with yourself and remember to invite and let people love and care about you in healthy ways.