I don't know if this is entirely appropriate for me to post here, and I honestly don't know how long I will leave it. It's written more as a vent than anything, since it's something that I can't really go 'real life' public with in terms of venting....
A few weeks ago during an online conversation, my sister (who, with the exception of 3 weeks around Christmas 2010, has been in Southern Africa with the Peace Corps since August of 2009) casually mentioned that she had had a 'condom snafu' and that she was planning to do a pregnancy test when she went into the capital city several days later for dental work. I told her that there were worse things than getting pregnant, to which she responded that if she was pregnant (which was worst case scenario), she would get a two week 'vacation' stateside. I was confused about this so I asked why they would send her stateside for two weeks. Her reply was "because abortion is illegal here."
Her reply almost knocked me off the couch. I could not believe what I was seeing on my computer screen. Thankfully, it was time to keep moving so I could get out the door on time for work, but I spent the rest of the day trying to process this chain of events. The more I processed it, the more disturbed I became. Growing up, my sister and I didn't always see eye to eye, but we have always been quite close. Sadly, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that this brewing situation was one of very few things capable of having a profoundly negative impact on our relationship.
Our conversation caused an immediate flurry of thoughts and questions in my brain. Does the Peace Corps really use tax money to pay for her med-evac trip across the Atlantic for this? Who actually pays for her abortion? How in the world does she think she can remain in 'stealth mode' if she spends two weeks stateside; does she really think that this is something that she can hide from close friends and family? Has she even thought about the implications of having an abortion? Has she given any consideration at all to carrying a baby to term and arranging an adoption? We want more kids...could we adopt and raise this baby or would that eventually create too much tension and animosity amongst the family? And lastly...why in the hell would she share her intentions with me????? Has she forgotten that we buried her first born niece less than two years before???? Did she think AT ALL about the reaction I might have to her having an abortion?
Ten years ago, this wouldn't have had much impact on me, as I have never been steadfast pro-life or pro-choice. But things are substantially different for me now than they were 5 or 10 years ago. In this particular instance, I had a severely negative reaction to her inclination to use abortion as a means of back up birth control. Thinking about it actually caused a physical reaction within me. I kept coming back to thoughts about the people I know who are struggling to cope with infertility and/or long and arduous adoption processes...and I wondered if any of them would have interest in a private adoption. I kept coming back to thoughts about what the next few years hold for us in terms of our childbearing hopes. I kept coming back to thoughts that told me over and over again that my sister is just way to selfish to even consider carrying a baby to term in order for it to be adopted.
I agonized over all of this for 3 days until I got word from my sister that her pregnancy test was negative. Surprisingly, knowing that she is not pregnant didn't really make me feel much better. A few weeks have passed, and it's still nagging at me...pretty substantially. Those who read here with any regularity might remember that my sister's visit state side over Christmas was very bumpy. It was probably the single worst 3 week period that I have ever been through with my sister. Based on that, I simply cannot imagine what would have ensued if she had announced that she was pregnant. I do know, without a doubt, that it would have been ugly and I'm certain that it would not have passed quickly...if at all. There are questions that I didn't get answers to (including who would have paid for her trip and procedure) that I will probably never will get answers to. As much as I would 'love' to breach the conversation with her at some point now that I know there is no baby involved, I know that nothing productive can come from it, so I just don't know if it's worth it.
I so badly want for my sister to un-ring this bell. I want to erase these thoughts and I want to not see my sister in this whole new light . I want, in the worst way, to not have this kind of reaction over something that I have absolutely no control over. I certainly want to never have this kind of reaction to something that someone else considers to be just a snafu...just an inconvenient bump in the road.