During my weekly visits to Dr. H.’s office over the next month, I watched the two little sacs on the sonogram darken and grow, develop heartbeats and vaguely human outlines. “Can you turn the screen away, please?” I asked, tears pooling in the corners of my eyes. “I don’t want to get attached.”
Dr. H. turned it toward me and said sternly: “Start getting attached.”
I’d already asked him about selective reduction. A colleague of his had told me that many women do it, and that it was no more dangerous than amniocentesis. But Dr. H. contradicted her: The odds of losing the entire pregnancy were about 10 percent, he said, and he didn’t do reductions himself.
I kept telling myself I should be happy to be pregnant at all: After wanting another child for the better part of two years and trying and failing for 12 months to have one on my own, I’d conceived! But I grew increasingly despondent as the deadline for terminating one of the pregnancies loomed. My husband was convinced that twins would radically change our lives for the worse. We’d have to leave our beloved neighborhood for a place with cheaper rents and better public schools—there was no way we could afford private education for three kids. We’d kiss goodbye any hope of career advancement, at least for the foreseeable future. To his list, I added the loss of my income, necessary to meet our expenses. I couldn’t see how I’d be able to resume working after the birth since we could never afford full-time help, and—no matter how well they napped—two infants wouldn’t leave much time for anything else.
Friday, July 16, 2010
"Can you turn the screen away, please?"
The magazine Elle has a piece by Bettina Paige entitled. "Fertility Treatments: Would You Get Selective Reduction" in which the author discusses her and husband's decision to abort one of their twins after using artificial insemination to become pregnant. It's amazingly honest for the most part, Paige knows her "selective reduction" decision was completely selfish. Her reasons for deciding to kill one of her twin children could easily have been used to rationalize killing both children (small apartment, don't want to move, don't have the money, limited career advancement etc.). She recognizes that the child she decided to have killed had "an identity," "could be a life" and that the "selective reduction" terminology is Orwellian. Yet she does it anyway after her husband responds negatively to the news they had twins.