The other day, I got a little dehydrated and overheated (it’s finally getting hot here, and no one has air conditioning) and ended up lying on our kitchen floor for maybe twenty minutes. I spent part of the time thinking about popsicles, and the rest worrying about the little bird—and feeling guilty about thinking of him as a baby. He won’t be viable for another few weeks by even the most generous standard, and while I don’t think I could legally get an abortion at this point (that cuts off at twenty weeks, right?), thinking of the fetus as a baby makes me feel a bit as though I’m letting down the pro-choice side. If the little bird died now, I’d feel as though I’d lost a baby—but I think I’d also feel a bit guilty about that.
I read a blogger some time ago talking about the allies that the pro-choice movement could do without, and the “I am pro-choice but would/did not choose to have an abortion myself” crowd made the list. I was a bit pissed about that, honestly; do you have to have an abortion to prove your bona fides before you can support a woman’s right to choose? And yet, the list did touch on my insecurity around this issue. Does thinking of this fetus as a baby make me a bad feminist? Maybe. I hope not.
Last week, I told the Mister that if the little bird doesn’t survive for whatever reason, I don’t want to use the name we have picked out for another child. “This is Pete” is probably the way I put it. (Yeah, that’s not a slip, I just feel like writing it down here. I am unpredictable!) He looked at me as though I had just said a crazy thing and said that Of Course, this name is for this kiddo and if we lost him, we’d grieve him under that name. Maybe it was just fallout from conversations with my mother, but I worried that my wanting to keep this name for this little bird would turn out to be inappropriate. But that’s not the only thing I was thinking.
When I was pregnant with Cricket, we had the same list of names that we do now, and deliberately didn’t pick our number one boy’s name for him because we knew he was going to have his name changed and be part of a different family. There are things that I wanted in a name for him—a saint’s name, a connection to us, a sign that we loved him—but I didn’t want to give him one of the names we had picked out for our kids. (I’m cringing a bit, writing this.) So this time I suppose I had a bit of uncertainty—we’ve been thinking of the little bird as our Pete, but are we supposed to take that back if we lose him during the second half of the pregnancy? The idea makes me uncomfortable, but I think I know what my mom would say. And at the same time, I’m not sure about whether some of the things I am comfortable with are gross or inappropriate. We had Cricket to ourselves for his first day, and bought some baby clothes so that we could dress him and take pictures with him. I still have those clothes, and I have every intention of dressing the kids we raise in them—is that gross?