Pregnancy scare, enough said

Unintended pregnancy is a political and religious battleground; it's impossible to find objective help.

Quynh Nguyen

There’s this stigma about unintended pregnancy, as if anyone who has one is hedonistic, too stupid to use birth control and will spawn more stupid people like them. It brings to mind Sarah Silverman’s notorious comment regarding Britney Spears’ kids “They’re the most adorable little mistakes you will ever see!”

Most of us would like to think that we’d never experience a pregnancy scare because we’re too smart for that. Even our parents thought that they would not make a mistake, yet we ourselves have a 1 in 2 chance of being an “accident.”

According to statistics from 2001 on the Centers for Disease Control Web site, about one-half of all pregnancies in the United States were unintended. Even smart people (as in college folks like us) can find themselves with a pregnancy scare because it is so very easy to fumble the removal of a spent condom or the timing of a birth control pill.

I’ll tell you what happened with my pregnancy scare. I first went to my significant other, who proceeded to hyperventilate and asked me a bunch of harried questions like “How do you know?” and “God what are we going to do?” and “Are you sure?”

Secondly, I had a sleepless night wondering how my life was about to change dramatically. Thirdly, I bought a pregnancy test at the local supermarket as my cheeks glowed bright red and my eyes scanned to see if anyone I knew was around.

I did not tell any family members, any friends or any adults who might have a clue how to not freak out at a time like that. I was too scared and embarrassed, and it would have killed me to get told by a friend, “Gee, you were pretty stupid.”

The pregnancy test was negative, but good gravy that was one hell of a scare. I shared the test results with my significant other, who breathed a sigh of relief. We felt like we dodged a bullet.

During a pregnancy scare, life suddenly crystallizes. The pro-life, pro-choice debate comes much closer to home, and you’re wondering if you have the gumption to terminate a pregnancy, or change life as you knew it by bringing a child to this world.

Suddenly the decision is more than just between you and your partner. There are the political and religious pundits that weigh in on your personal decision. These pundits would be the first ones to decry “immoral activities,” promote laws that hurt reproductive choices and advocate abstinence-only education. But none of the things they advocate would have helped me or prevented me from having a pregnancy scare.

Unintended pregnancy is a political and religious battleground, making it impossible to find supportive, objective help from anyone or any group. There’s no way to know who will support your decisions and who will try to use you as a means to their judgmental ends. I look at the pro-life free pregnancy test centers around campus and shudder.

That pregnancy scare was years ago, but I can’t help thinking about other women on campus who are experiencing the same fear and isolation that I had.

The fear of being judged, coerced or losing respect from others are strong reasons not to let others know about a pregnancy scare. But we do ourselves a disservice by never talking about it, even after it has been resolved. This silence promotes the hostile environment that people with a pregnancy scare find themselves in.

Quynh Nguyen welcomes comments at [email protected]