First of all, it really was an accident that I posted in the Emergencies and Crisis area, sometimes I just click on stuff without really looking at it. Sorry.
I really think that it is a topic that I would like to discuss further, although admittedly the topic I want to discuss does not really belong in the emergency section so I thought I would post here instead.
The issue in question here is whether a man has the right to be as upset about an abortion as the woman who was pregnant does. If I may respectfully disagree with you on this one Miz. Scarlet I think that you kind of dismissed what he might be feeling and insinuated that he should not feel the way that he does.
quote:Certainly, he's going to have his own feelings about it, but this should not be a crisis-type scenario for him, as he isn't IN crisis.
I also understand that she needs the support of her boyfriend and that they are in this together but he may not be capable of giving her that support right now.
quote:YOU need support right now: ask for it. He says he's fine, you say YOU are not fine, so ask him to step up. Seriously, YOU need to be your primary concern right now, and he needs to pony up and realize you are the one who has been in crisis here.
Although he says he's fine his actions definitely show that he is not, just because he is not admitting it doesn't mean he isn't feeling badly.
quote:All he ever wants to do is sleep. He always wants to be alone...He's not acting like himself at all and no one can get him to talk.
This is not the behavior of someone that is "fine". Asking him, or expecting him to be strong and be her rock right now is kind of ignoring his feelings completely.
I don't think that because she physically had to endure the abortion process she has MORE RIGHT to be upset or that her emotions are any more valid than his. That is not to say that what she feels is not important I just think that what he feels is JUST AS important.
All of the feelings of loss and regret that come along with an abortion could be felt just as strongly on his side of the equation as well as hers. The pregnancy and abortion SHOULD have an affect on him as it is his future as well as hers that are afected by them. Like I stated before, I understand that he is not necessarily "bound" to the baby the same way she is but that doesn't mean he is the type of guy that would have turned his back on his child.
I do believe that the woman should have the final and ultimate decision when it comes to whether or not to have an abortion. Too often though we hear the story of the woman who was pressured to have one and did not. What if a woman chooses an abortion and the potential father did not want her to have one?? He may not be entitled to try and persuede her not to or make her feel guilty for having one but he is certainly entitled to feel a sense of loss and regret. Everyone is entitled to their feelings, even men.
Abortion is more of a womens issue for sure. But we should not ignore, dismiss, or diminish how the men who are affected by abortion feel.
Any other thoughs on this topic would be greatly appreciated.
quote:I think that you should definitely be concerned with making sure that YOU feel fine right now. You need to be your own first priority. If he is not capable or not willing to give you the support you need then you should look elsewhere for that. Don't take it personally how he is feeling. He is obviously upset but that doesn't mean that he's upset at you. I don't really know if a grand gesture is the right move, but I think that you should talk to him. Just talk, ask him what it is that he wants. If he says that he needs space then give him that. If you decide that you both need to be there for each other then understand that you are both going through a lot and neither one of you might make the best "rock" or "shoulder to cry on" right now. Personally I think that counselling is a GREAT idea for anyone in this situation even if they don't feel like they need it. Maybe going to counselling yourself would help you get the support that you want but aren't getting from him?? If he doesn't want to go then it's unfortunate but ultimately his decision. Just remember that he may just need to get through the worst of it by himself right now and perhaps in a few days he'll be a bit more open to working through the rest together with you.
I don't think it is fair to dismiss or diminish what he is feeling though. It may not have been his body that the abortion was performed on but he also has to deal with the fact that a part of him helped cause the pregnancy. He is probably dealing with similar thoughts as what a woman would after an abortion. It was part him. The "baby that could have been" was half his. The pregnancy and abortion affected his future as well. Definitely NOT as much as it would have affected hers but it still did. It seems to me like he was genuinely emotionally involved in this whole thing. I understand that men are not "bound" to a baby in the same way that a woman is and therefore can turn their backs and not have to deal with it anymore, but did this guy do that?? He shouldn't be treated like the bad guy because he needs to deal with this in his own way. Why does he have to be a rock when he feels badly. No-one would expect a woman to pretend to be strong and unaffected by something that was geuinely bothering her, why should he be expected to??
It is not as if he tried to convince her not to have an abortion or tried to make her feel guilty about having the abortion. He may have unintentionally done so by not recognizing what she needed and giving that to her but it is not his fault. I honestly don't think that he is doing anything wrong. He is having trouble dealing with this, and as such he may not be in the best position to offer the support that she needs anyway.
Some people like to deal with this kind of thing as a unit and work it out together, every step of the way. Maybe right now he just can't.
Ah, I wanted to be able to reply to that post, as well, because I was thinking the same thing as Peaches.
Just because the woman is the one who is/was actually pregnant, doesn't mean that she is the only one dealing with the emotional repercussions. I would certainly be confused if my boyfriend just came out of it completely emotionally unaffected.
If you're in a close, loving relationship and a pregnancy occurs, the guy has a lot to deal with, as well. If he plans to stay with the woman and see this through with her, then his life is about to change as much as the woman's. Just because he could easily run and hide doesn't mean that he will. Similarly, if they decide on an abortion, then I think it's only natural that the guy has a lot on his plate, as well. It is also his child.
With all due respect, I think it's wrong to tell someone that their boyfriends emotions don't matter, especially not if he so clearly is suffering very much. He has every right to be upset with what happened and I think a much healthier approach would be if the two dealt with their -clearly very similar feelings- together. Maybe see a counselor together to work it through.
I can see where you are both coming from. I also think you are taking some of what Miz Scarlet had to say out of context.
I could be wrong, but what i got from her response was that her boyfriends emotions should not be her priority right now. When you've just had an abortion, your own emotional well-being needs to be your first priority. If you are not your own first priority you are of no use to anyone else.
And not to play the symantics game, but this was not a 'THEY' decision, and this was not a child but an embryo/fetus.
We're not really debating whether or not the partner has a right to any sort of feelings/emotions, only that in order for them both to heal, they need to get their priorities in order.
I agree with the priorities aspect of this situation. I definitely think that any woman who has had an abortion needs to deal with a lot of stuff. I have a friend that gave a baby up for adoption which I think can be just as difficult in some ways. She definitely didn't deal with it properly and it has effected her entire life in a negative way. She has turned to drugs and alcohol and is generally leading a very destructive life.
The fact still remains though, that this girl wants her boyfriend to be there for her right now:
quote:I'm really upset and worried. I'm only 17 and I feel like he is the only person who can be here for me through this... but he won't!
It is understandable that she should want his support but put yourself in that type of situation. If you are an emotional wreck yourself perhaps you are not the best one to be giving comfort to someone going through the same thing?? Perhaps it is not that he "won't", but maybe he CAN'T.
When Miz. Scarlet said that he "isn't in crisis" and that he needs to "pony up and realize" that she has been in crisis and that she needs support not him. I think that while the intention may have been to tell her to worry about herself, it came off as a little insensitive to what his needs may be.
I definitely wouldn't go to a man who is genuinely feeling upset about an abortion and tell him to get over it and start supporting his girlfriend instead. It just seems rude.
Thing is it's usually pretty obvious in these discussions who has -- personally -- and who has not been pregnant before, no matter what was done with the pregnancy.
quote:Just because the woman is the one who is/was actually pregnant, doesn't mean that she is the only one dealing with the emotional repercussions. I would certainly be confused if my boyfriend just came out of it completely emotionally unaffected.
A man does not: - have to deal with being ill during and after a pregnancy, nor with the serious emotional extra-havoc changing hormones add to the scenario, especially with a termination. This includes hormones which chemically do bind a woman emotionally to the fetus and/or child: a man has no such thing. - have to take ANY of the health risks involved with a pregnancy, childbirth or termination, OR any long-term health issues which may arise because of pregnancy. - have to deal with the cultural stigmas affixed to abortion AND the same level of cultural stigma affixed to becoming pregnanct in the first place, especially accidentally. - have to deal with the cultural expectation women have of still taking care of everyone else throughout her own crisis, which has often isolated her already.
And you know, on some level, it wouldn't BE all that surprising to have a male partner be far more disaffected: it happens pretty commonly, actually, and not because men are jerks or aren't emotionally sensitive, etc. Rather, because men are not the ones who are pregnant.
quote:He is probably dealing with similar thoughts as what a woman would after an abortion.
Yes, men may be upset about a pregnancy (and it was stated that his upset began with the pregnancy, not with the abortion, mind). However, he is FAR more capable of taking care of himself in this situation, with less support, with far less the grapple with, than a woman is. And a stand-up guy, IMO, will claim that, be accountable AND either pony up and support his partner first or help her find someone else who can IF he is truly incapable of doing so. And no: probably he is NOT having the same issues and thoughts his female partner is. He may have his own issues, but likely, they aren't as similar as you'd guess. (Again, too, ruminating on what someone MIGHT feel like who has been pregnant is of very, very limited value. It just happens to be one of those things in life where, until you've been there, the picture is just mighty incomplete.)
But on a lot of levels, tricky as it is, and as tough a pill as it is to swallow, couples often don't deal well with this stuff as a "together" issue, because the scales just aren't balanced at all per both parties: it is the woman bearing most of the burden, and it's a burden men cannot viscerally understand because they cannot be pregnant, or even very well imagine what it might feel like to be pregnant.
quote:If you're in a close, loving relationship and a pregnancy occurs, the guy has a lot to deal with, as well. If he plans to stay with the woman and see this through with her, then his life is about to change as much as the woman's. Just because he could easily run and hide doesn't mean that he will. Similarly, if they decide on an abortion, then I think it's only natural that the guy has a lot on his plate, as well. It is also his child.
And yet, it is still FAR more optional for a man to opt in or out of any aspect of pregnancy or child-rearing, and even just the knowledge that it is laregly optional makes a huge difference when it comes to the emotional burden. Heck, culturally speaking, a man who abandons a child we'll hear or say is a jerk or a "deadbeat dad." On the other hand, a woman who does same is treated literally like a MONSTER. And there was no "child" with a termination situation. Once more, this guy in this situation was upset from the pregnancy on: before the abortion. I'm also willing to bet that reliable birth control wasn't used here, which throws a whole new set of bits into the works, especially if, statistically true to form, the lack of BC use or BC failure involved this guy not using a condom and doing his part per BC.
Personally, I'm pretty hardcore with this, likely more so than many users and even volunteers here might be, even if for no other reason than my age and life experience. Absolutely, that's a personal opinion of mine, but it's also one very informed by many, many years of work and experience with these matters, an awful lot of reading per the biology and sociology of this stuff AND because this is a big-time feminist issue which also touches on a lot of the problems we're having protecting reproductive choice in the world right now. I'm hardcore about it because I know what it feels like to be pregnant, have spent many years of my life with many women who know same; because I've seen a lot of women in my life through pregnancies, and various choices for pregnancies. I'm hardcore about it because even over the years here working these boards, getting the email I get from this site, I am some days literally sick with watching young women go without support and care they direly need -- when their gender alone already sets them up to be less supported overall -- because they will set aside their own needs again and again for the men in their lives, put themselves at various levels of risk, for far lesser needs, often with little or no return, and often at the expense of their own health and well-being.
But I'm also hardcore about it because men aren't pregnant. Men don't have abortions, adoptions, go into labor, the works. Women do. And because of that, I will ALWAYS suggest women be put first in these situations: that isn't the same as saying men need to shut up and not feel what they're feeling, however.
If my partner is in the hospital with cancer, and I've got a bad head cold, I would find it pretty indefensible for me to not get it together and figure out how to support them at that time because I'm not feeling well either, with something which is quantifiably easier to manage, less severe, and much less serious. If I need some care for myself, I should seek it out, absolutely: but not from my partner at that time until they are first out of their larger crisis and I do whatever I can to help them out. Same goes here.
I kind of thought that eventually someone would say something about the fact that it is "obvious" that I have never been pregnant. True as it may be, I don't think that it has anything to do with the topic as we are discussing what a MAN involved in an abortion thinks and feels and I don't think that either one of us is in a position to comment on that from a personal perspective either.
I have an analogy that might sound kind of stange but I think it works. I have been told, about a million times over, by my male friends that there is NO pain in the world like being kicked in the genitals (if you are male). I always disagree with them and tell them that there are types of pain that they cannot feel and therefore cannot compare acurately, such as childbirth. I think that the same priciple can be applied to this situation. What a man might be feeling if his girlfriend recently aborted a pregnancy may very well be the worst emotional pain he has had to suffer, to date in his life (the kick in the groin). He cannot possibly compare what he is feeling with what she may be feeling because obviously, he wasn't pregnant and did not have an abortion. Now on the other hand....I do not have a penis, and as such I have never been kicked there. I do not know what it feels like for a man anymore than he knows what it feels like for a woman to give birth.
So I guess my point is that the game of "who's in more pain" right now is kind of moot because since no-one has ever felt both types of pain (the woman who had the abortion and the man who helped get her pregnant) no-one is really in a position to say which one feels worse. That is why my stand on the issue is that neither one of them is a bigger priority to each other. I think that she should care for herself in whatever way she can and that he should care for himself in whatever way he can.
In the case of the head cold v.s cancer analogy it is quite obvious who is in more need because it is a fact that cancer is more life-threateneing and requires more difficult treatments etc. I don't think that it quite translates because the emotional suffering that they both feel cannot be placed on a scale.
All I'm saying is that he might need to put his feelings first as well and no-one can really say that his feelings should be easier to deal with than hers because no-one knows what exactly he feels and how it is affecting him.
Emotions are tricky that way. Who know's? maybe he has a lower emotional pain threshold than she does and to him the pain he is feeling is just unbearable.
Since this is a hypothetical discussion as well as a discussion about a real situation why don't we pretend for a minute that a man could be feeling suicidal beacuse of his girlfriend's abortion. Pretend that he feels like his life and his girlfriend's life will never be the same and he feel's so badly that he wants to kill himself. Pretend that deep down he actually wanted to be a father, but realizing that ultimately it was her choice he didn't voice this wish because he wanted to let her decide what was best for her. Pretend whatever you want because any of these things is possible. It definitely is not likely to happen often but it is a possibility. In that case...shouldn't he be worried about himself first??
The bottom line is that you don't know what he is feeling and you are just assuming that what he is feeling could not possibly be as bad as what she is. We automatically assume that men cannot feel as much as women can, I think that is an idea we need to get rid of.
[This message has been edited by Peaches44 (edited 01-24-2006).]
Yet it is NOT moot, because many of these things are completely quantifiable.
It is quantifiable that women have hormonal issues to deal with with a pregnancy which men do not: it is not comprable, men simply do not HAVE chemicals in their body from a pregnancy. Those hormones quantifiably CREATE greater emotional escalation. That is simply physiological fact, not guesswork.
It is quantifiable that men will feel no physical pain whatsoever from pregnancy or any reproductive option, nor will they have long-term health effects.
It is quanitifiable that women carry a greater burden in nearly all countires when it comes to pregnancy, childbearing, abortion and parenting than men do.
None of these things, or other related issues, are assumptions.
quote:We automatically assume that men cannot feel as much as women can, I think that is an idea we need to get rid of.
And I don't know who you're asserting is assuming this, but it isn't me. This isn't about some general notion of one gender having a greater, unilateral emotional threshold than another. This is about one sex -- women -- carrying a far greater load when it comes to an event which happens almost entirely within their own bodies, and which has far greater residual effects on the whole of their lives. If you think we need to "get rid of" that idea, that's an opinion you get to have, but to be frank, not one I'm going to entertian in this space, because it stands very counter to what we do here and how we advocate here for people of all genders.
Moreover, for those of us who have talked a good deal to men with pregnant partners, and/or read a good deal about men's feelings and experiences on these issues, while we cannot speak from a personal perspective, we can speak from a rather educated one, especially combined with a hack of a lot of background on women's issues and reproduction, parenting and the myriad of matters involved in women in the world when it comes to reproduction.
I also am not going to presume this guy is suicidal (especially since suicidal behaviour tends not to be situational, and this guy was purportedly usually very stable save once he knocked his partner up) or dig for ways to excuse his behavior. For this poster, this guy did not call his partner who had an abortion for days. He got pissed off at her for asking for a HUG, for crissakes. He can't even return a simple phone call. He's an adult, his partner is a minor. In a word, chances are incredibly good this guy is perfectly capable of dealing with his issues with a lot more maturity and care for his partner than he is now. Chances are good that he is not some tragic figure. So, no, I'm not going to "pretend" things about him when we have plenty of actual information right there, and when this whole scenario is hardly atypical and sorry, but most men in it are not suicidal, are not tragic figures, etc. We have seen it -- and I sure have -- again and again, and while yes, there are exceptions, they are just that.
(FYI? I do want everyone here posting to realize that it's entirely likely that TBEAR could be reading this post, or end up reading it. And I am in no way comfortable with someone having a bunch of strangers defending the heck out of her boyfriend, who is compounding her crisis, for the record, and his needs over hers when SHE is -- and this is no assumption -- in need right now, not getting her needs met at all, despite already TRYING to meet his very productively and with care. That's just really inconsiderate to her.)
Just for my two cents, to add my personal experience.
I have not had an abortion but I took ECP, which wrecked havoc on my body; I can only imagine what going through an abortion would be like. The emotional effects were worse, however, changing my life forever due to the way the situation was handled by the people surrounding me, such as my parents and siblings. Again, if this little situation was so horrible for me, I can only imagine what it would have been like had I gotten pregnant.
I love men who are strong–– and soft, or whatever you'd call it. So I'd be darned at any guy who can't step up to the plate to support his partner during her pregnancy (including her decision to terminate it.) To me, that is not an emotional or feeling guy, but a weak human being. (Yes, incredibly harshly judgemental but I hold my ground.)
Six months or so after this happened, I was having a conversation with some men in an art class about a related topic. I was still hurting and stupidly left myself open to such discussions, even if I didn't really tell the story. But I did say that what I experienced was a painful scenario that "men could never understand or feel in the same way I did." And I still believe that is true.
So I really have to agree with Miz Scarlet about the boyfriend's feelings surrounding this. Nonetheless, as previously mentioned, the main critical point in all this is that guy started chickening out from the start.
I do not want to judge TBear's actions, because this is all a lot of hard stuff to process all at once. But I can say that while I'd feel bad for him at first, I'd grow to be pretty hugely furious at his reaction looking back over time.
Okay, I think that since you are uncomfortable with this thread this will be my last post on this topic. By no means would I want TBEAR to be upset by what we are discussing.
The last thing I want to mention is that while I don't know what it is like to be a man who's girlfriend has had an abortion I have had friends that have had unwanted pregnancies. The first of which was the best friend I have ever had. We were as close as two people who are not related can be. Like sisters. We lived on different sides of the same duplex for years and for several months she lived with me and my family because of upsetting living conditions with her parents.
When she found out she was pregnant, I was sitting in the doctors office next to her. I held her hand as the doctor told her she was pregnant. I went to almost every doctors appointment and ultrasound. I was in the delivery room when she gave birth and I attended the ceremony at which she handed her baby over to the parents that adopted it. I even read the "Prayer From The Birthparents" at said ceremony because the father did not attend and my friend was crying to hard to be able to read anything.
I was a rock for her throughout the entire thing. Unlike most of the people around her at the time I was the only person who didn't tell her what I thought she should do with the pregnancy. I thought it best to be a sounding board and to offer facts and information about options rather than opinions and advice.
As much as I helped her through what, to date, has been the hardest time of her life there were times when I just couldn't handle it. Times when I had to kind of cut myself off from her and get my own head straight enough to be of any use. I felt so deeply involved in the situation that I would cry for hours for her, and pray for her, and sometimes just mentally beat my head on a wall for hours for her. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with and I was not even the father of her baby. There were a couple of times when I just couldn't talk to my friend for days because I didn't think I could say anything more or do anything more to be there for her. It's hard to be someone's rock. Even more so when you care about them so much. I don't know if you would call me weak or unsupportive because I stepped back every once in a while. I don't think I was either of those things. I did my best. I'm sure there are people out there who are "strong" enough to not have to do that, people who can separate their feelings from the job to be done. I'm not one of them.
I'm sorry if this upsets anyone but I don't think there is anything wrong with this man's actions.
quote:for a few days he tried really hard to hold it together (he feels like he has to stay strong so I will do the same)...He said he's had nightmares about the protestors...he went home that night we were on good terms, he hasn't talked to me for two days and hasn't seen me for three!...It's not like him to bail out in a time like this... he always tries to make sure I’m okay when there’s an emergency
I don't know if defending him will make TBEAR upset and if it does then I am truly sorry. I also don't know if telling her that he is being selfish and immature is the right course either, he is still her boyfriend after all. But I want the point to be made that he DID try to be there, he DID try to support her, he DID stay strong for a little while. Maybe it just got to be too much for him to handle. Maybe he needs to take a breather to get his head on straight. I know I did.
It may turn out that I am wrong, maybe he is just being one of "those guys". Maybe he is being selfish and unsupportive. But I don't think he deserves to be labelled that way automatically.
Well, I really have said all that I wanted to. I'm sure many people still disagree with me but right now I am quite willing to say that I respectfully would like to agree to disagree on this one.
I really hope I am not stepping on any toes here and I do understand your concern about us defending TBear's boyfriend, but I just wanted to say one more thing.
It sounds to me like you are making a generalized statement about all guys based on what you've seen. Now clearly, I am aware that you've been in this line of work for an age and have likely seen more than most people ever will. But given that the people who post here, at the very least, are likely to do so because they're not getting the suppport elsewhere, might mean that you're seeing too much of one side of the issue.
I'm fairly certain that while a lot of guys do bail out on their responsibilities regarding child-rearing or even just emotional support, that doesn't make it the norm or mean that that is how it is in most situations.
While I've never been pregnant myself, I am at an age where people around me are getting pregnant and the vast majority of fathers/would-be fathers are right there next to the girlfriend providing support. Now I am ready to admit that the emotions they go through aren't going to be the same, or even close, but I'll go with Peaches here and say that, just because it's physically impossible for them to know exactly what it feels like for a pregnant woman doesn't automatically mean that whatever they're feeling can't also be hugely difficult for them and have a large impact on their life.
What I am saying is that, while many many men do run, there are those that stay and I feel it's a little unfair to presume that their emotions can't be that deep, based on the fact that there is only a small amount of men who ever feel that way.
[This message has been edited by HumanTornado (edited 01-25-2006).]
There is a difference between a friend and a partner - Her partner got her pregnant, not you. It was his responsibility to be there, being the (biologically, anyway) father. To me, a friend should not have to (not that you shouldn't have; i'm sure your friend was glad to have you) carry that same amount of responsibility. You were not part of creating this pregnancy.
We're not really known for giving users answers solely based on what it is they want to hear - We're honest. It does appear selfish to me for this young woman's partner to go on a 2 week hiatus when she's in crisis. A breather is, maybe, 24hrs. This guy stopped calling for weeks.
No one is assuming this guy is going to bail out on his responsibilities ... The fact is that he currently IS bailing out on his responsibilities. There is no assuming about it.
There is also no one debating here that men cannot be negatively affected by their partners choice to abort or that they aren't entitled to these feelings. We're only saying that a woman in crisis should not be expected to comfort and console her partner; she needs to be looking out for her own emotional well-being first.
quote:I'm fairly certain that while a lot of guys do bail out on their responsibilities regarding child-rearing or even just emotional support, that doesn't make it the norm or mean that that is how it is in most situations.
I think he fact that, in a patriarchal culture where there is a serious lack of laws for protections for women and children, we have a very developed set of laws in the western world to deal with men bailing out on women and children tells us quite a bit about what the norm is. I assure you, I don't base everything I say here on Scarleteen alone: and remember that in your own life now, you're seeing the START of parenting/pregnancy, rather than the whole process, two, five, ten, twenty years down the line. Research can be done on these issues outside of anyone's personal experience: the information is out there. Once more, no one here is stating men's emotions on these matters canot "run deep," or be intense. Rather, what is being said is that it is a truly crappy situation for a woman to be out of her mind with worry for her male partner in this situation, to have to worry about taking care of him FIRST and foremost, rather than herself, especially when he is an adult and she a minor, especially when, as she stated, he has other means of support (which he has chosen not to seek out) and she does not. Especially when SHE is the one who was pregnant and she is the one who is recovering from both the pregnancy and abortion.
However, as Smurf made clear very nicely, we have the situation we're looking at right here. This guy? DID bail.
quote:But I want the point to be made that he DID try to be there, he DID try to support her, he DID stay strong for a little while.
Thing is, per her post, I'm not seeing that he did that. I think you're projecting something somehow, because everything she posted indicated the opposite.
I think abortion should definitely be the womans choice and ,of,course it would be much more traumatic for her rather than the man. Even putting the physical aspect aside she would be very sad and possibly depressed after the abortion and its no wonder. The man is not actually carrying the child and doesnt have to go through the abortion but I can understand why he might be quite upset if he didnt agree with abortion or whatever but what he would go through would be nothing compared to what the woman would. And the bottom line is that it is the womans body and that it should be her choice.
Posts: 19 | From: Ireland | Registered: Jan 2006
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I think one thing being overlooked here is that no matter WHAT reproductive choice a woman makes once pregnant -- abortion, childbirth with adoption or parenting -- it is a HUGE psychological, physiological, hormonal and experiential event with VERY long-term effects.
Even women who plan pregnancies, who are pregnant and give birth under the best conditions, who parent even above and beyond "average" condtions generally go through some level of ordeal. That is because of what pregnancy puts one's body and mind through physiologically and chemically AND because of all of what pregnancy, termination or labor and parenting entails, especially in the culture we live in.
Post-partum depression, for instance, is a HUGE problem and often huger still for women who do not or cannot breastfeed: in fact, women who carry pregnancies to term statistically have far greater problems with depression than those who terminate. The havoc pregnancy, even a couple months of it, can put on a woman's body is pretty extraordinary. And for a majority of women, it is a gargantuan life-altering event with a lot of emotional hardship which they have little or no outlets to find real support, understanding and aid. Much of WHY the latter is -- and for younger women and lower-class women, the former, as well -- is BECAUSE the system we live in is male-dominated and those needs are often assessed, those supports regulated by, men who at best, can only understand these issues for women intellectually and secondhand.
I want to share my thoughts, and part of it has to do with an experience that we went through.
Flip back to December 2001, just days before Christmas. I decided to take a HPP and Isaiah was there with me. It was positive. We had been fighting the last month, and I had never gotten my period. We were sexually active, but we were using condoms. We talked with each other and with some close family and friends about our situation. I was 18, he had just turned 19. We had only been dating for 6 months. We weren't anywhere near ready at all to be parents. This was totally unplanned. Finally by NYE 2002, we together decided to terminate the pregnancy. So we made some calls around, and scheduled the abortion for 2 weeks later.
I remember I was more affected by this decision than Isaiah was but this didn't mean that he wasn't emotionally distant at all. I cried, and cried two days before the abortion occured, and going with what ifs with myself. Isaiah came with me on the day of it, and that alone was his support. I know that there are many men who run off after, and I had this scare. However, Isaiah assured me on that day that he is still in love with me, loves me, and wanted us to continue to stay together. I was the same way. We realized that the decision was the best that could be done at the time for many many reasons and that we will have a blessing (planned one) to have a child together again in the future.
Anyway, 4 years later, we're still together. We are getting married in May (got engaged in '04).
We still aknowledge that we were once pregnant if people ask and that our decision was right at the time. Isaiah has this experience the back of his mind, nad he doesn't talk about it as openly as I do. This was something personal and private experience and this wasn't going to be done again. We decided that whenever we find out we're pregnant again, we're keeping it. Really, we don't have any regrets. Men can cry, but only when they choose to. I've seen my partner cry a few times over different things and it's not easy for him to cry. Remember, women are more emotionally open then men are and we need to respect that.
[This message has been edited by summergoddess (edited 01-27-2006).]
quote:Remember, women are more emotionally open then men are and we need to respect that.
You know, that just isn't so in any general way: it not only varies from person to person, but from situation to situation.
By all means, yes: much of our culture socializes men to be less emotionally expressive. But that is social, not biological (and if it is, we've no proof of that of yet) and again, that varies a LOT from person to person, based on personality, not upon gender.
And again: men not being as emotional with these issues shouldn't be surprising. "We" can't get pregnant, "we" can't have abortions. Only women can experience both of those things directly, only women can do those things, and only women can feel all of what those things do TO them; feel and experience all of the physical and emotional effects of those things. So while the variances of personality (not gender) mentioned above will still come into play, a big part of why many men often do not react as strongly is simply because it isn't happening to them in their bodies. Just the same way as if my partner breaks his leg, I may be fearful for him, I may empathize with his pain, I may have had injuries which I can relate, but I am NOT going to be feeling what he is because it isn't my leg broken, it's his.
I dont mean to spark anything back up in here, but I think this is a rather interesting debate and I would like to comment.
Although I agree with Peaches that the boyfriend is experiencing pain as well and should have time aside to sort his feelings and deal with it his own way, I also agree with this . .
quote:It does appear selfish to me for this young woman's partner to go on a 2 week hiatus when she's in crisis. A breather is, maybe, 24hrs. This guy stopped calling for weeks.
Time to sort out his feelings is well needed, I agree. I also agree that he was affected by the abortion considering the fact that it would have been HIS baby as well. I can understand that he may be confused about what he is feeling, but weeks?
I think they both need to understand that they both are affected by this. I think the boyfriend needs to step up and support his girlfriend. I agree that the girlfriend is the one who experienced the abortion and has all the risks associated with that choice, but we can't say that the boyfriend has no right to pain.
If the time were hours, or a day or two even, I would have to say that the boyfriend has his right to his time. But considering that the time frame is weeks? I think that is a bit selfish. If I were in this situation and I were the guy, even though I am experiencing a huge amount of pain as well, I would be right there beside my girlfriend. Sure, like I said, I would need time to sort out what I am feeling, but I would want to deal with this together. It affects both of them, they should get through it as a couple.
quote: "We" can't get pregnant, "we" can't have abortions. Only women can experience both of those things directly, only women can do those things, and only women can feel all of what those things do TO them; feel and experience all of the physical and emotional effects of those things.
I agree and disagree with this. Yes, women go through the pregnancy, and it takes a toll on a woman more both physically and emotionally. BUT, I think it affects them both. Maybe not equally, but it affects them both.
Well those are my thoughts..
[This message has been edited by oOo Lea oOo (edited 02-02-2006).]
Just one more reminder; NO ONE here has suggested that men cannot feel pain or are not entitled to feel pain about a woman's pregnancy, or what she opts to do with it.
Nor that this woman's partner shouldn't be given any aid he feels he needs for this: which he WAS, mind, by her, in spades. She gave him a resource for free counseling, she set aside HER feelings and needs to try and help with his, she even wasked for MORE ways to help this ADULT man while she stated she was getting ZERO support herself and pruportedly got none THROUGHOUT her pregnancy and abortion. She as given advice to take care of herself -- a minor female who was pregnanct and had an abortion -- at this point rather than continuing to try and bust down his doors to meet his needs, for reasons which should be glaringly obvious.
And while I find a lot of this sociologically interesting: that that assumption keeps getting pulled out of thin air, young women feeling the need to speak for men when men are perfectly capable of speaking for themselves, continuing to advocate for a guy, or generalize about other men via him, to be MOST concerend about him, a guy who has treated his partner pretty darn shabbily. Not to mention, that I have NEVER seen a level of fierce advocacy from users for anyone here before who has had an abortion and posted about it, and the fact that this level is for a man, and one behaving really badly at that, is noth alarming to me and incredibly saddening.
In any event, continuing to go back again and again to that false presumption that anyone here has said men aren't entitled to pain just isn't conducive to a decent discussion of the topic, nor is speaking for a group of which one is not a member when that group has full permission to participate and speak for themselves. In fact, in this culture, saying there is ANYTHING men aren't entitled to isn't something anyone even marginally versed in gender is going to say, because that's just plain silly.
I don't believe that any of us who are not of color would begin talking about what those who are think or feel or personally experience -- and I'd discourage that as well, it's patronizing as hell -- and the same holds true here. I also would seriously hope anyone posting in the ways stated above would take a pretty good look at why that's where they're going with this issue and ask themselves some big-time questions about that. In all truth, I'd suggest that if you feel very strongly about advocating for those who have been through pregnancy or abortion, that you first start with women: they already have the least support, they already get the short end of the advocacy stick.
I also feel the need to remind those who strongly feel that things like this need be dealt with 'as a couple," that often, partnerships dissolve or disintegrate over a woman's pregnancy, even when a lack of reliable birth control was pushed BY the male partner. And a case like this one is a good example of how tough this can be: chances are good, looking at how things went, that in a few short weeks, this young woman won't have a partner. She may not already. And of course, many, many pregnant women may have had a sexual partner, but are NOT a "couple," nor have a partner who is interested in being one, especially when pregnancy happens. (And as is hopefully obvious, a preghnant woman is not marrying herself automatically to a man who brought about her pregnancy by default, nor must she feel any obligation to couple with him if she does not want to.) I don't mean to be the perpetual unromantic buzzkill here, but things like this apparently aren't obvious: the rate of single mothers -- especially teen mothers -- worldwide alone should make it easily so.
[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 02-02-2006).]
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