“Were PregnantMy wife, YJ, and I could hardly believe it. It was 2018 and we had just started trying, after years of putting it off. Many of our friends had struggled to get pregnant, and we were in late thirties, so I had prepared myself for a long and difficult process.Yet there we were, staring at a little pink line on the home test, the rest of our lives suddenly rushing towards us, whether we were ready or not. I was thrilled – I had always wanted to be a dad. YJ was more ambivalent, nervous about giving up his independence and taking on parenting responsibilities. My mom, on the other end of the line , was over the moon. As she never tires of reminding us, she was waiting – and waiting – to be a grandmother.
“Were Pregnant!” It’s a phrase repeated year after year in countless happy phone calls and social media posts. But is it fair to say “we” when just one of you is literally carrying all the weight? Yes , it was a life-changing experience for both of us. And dads should take responsibility as caregivers every step of the way, not pretend they’re just spectators or breadwinners. But I don’t I wasn’t the one feeling nauseous, losing my energy and appetite, giving up martinis and facing all kinds of aches, pains and indignities. There’s no way to share the real burden of pregnancy.
What is true for starting a pregnancy is also true for ending it. Towards the end of the first trimester, genetic tests revealed serious chromosomal abnormalities. I want to tell you that “we have decided to terminate the pregnancy”. Or, “we had an abortion.” And in a way, that’s true. My wife and I discussed it, made a decision together and never really doubted it was the right one. When it was over, we cried a lot. Not because we had moral scruples, but because we desperately wanted things to be different. But here too, the “we” is complicated. It was my wife who underwent the anesthesia and underwent the procedure, not me. She had to deal with hormonal changes and the process of resetting her body, not me. She had an abortion, not me.
So how are men supposed to talk about abortions? Now that the right-wing majority in the Supreme Court has overturned Roe vs. Wade, mass mobilization for abortion rights has never been more urgent. November’s midterm elections will help determine whether many states protect reproductive freedom or destroy it. Last month, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina clarified the election stakes by introducing a nationwide abortion ban. Men can’t stay on the sidelines. We must also see the fight for reproductive rights as our fight. Learning to talk about our own experiences with abortion is a first step.