Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Pregnancy Interlude

Recently I asked two people a question for which I thought the answer was obvious, but they both answered the opposite answer from me, and in turn thought their answer was obvious. It is rare that this happens, as socially backwards and morally ambiguous as I am/feel sometimes.

I looked it up later and it turns out that statistics overwhelmingly support only one of them, despite the fact that they gave the same answer. You will see how this is possible in a minute. But now I am left with the odd feeling that my mind works in backwards, alien, screwed up, selfish ways! I mean, I knew that, but, um, what say you when given this choice, loyal 'multitudes'? I know you're loyal because you're still here!

Given this situation: you are pregnant. With a single child, twins, triplets, nonuplets... doesn't matter. You have complications. The doctor says to you that he can either save you or save your babies. Which do you choose?

One friend, a girl, said that she would choose the babies. My boyfriend, speaking as the male watching the mother of his child go through this, disturbingly (to me) also said he would choose the babies. Neither of them hesitated.

And I thought, really? See, I would choose myself in a second, and if it somehow were my husband/boyfriend going through this, I would choose his life with even more force than I chose my own! While taking into account that I am a crappy predictor, like the rest of the species, and just think I would choose that because I haven't yet felt that incredibly strong maternal bond that is said to exist, I still made a different snap certain decision from the other two, like it was obvious, like, who would really pick these unborn babies?

I recently read a book by Atul Gawande, the surgeon and writer, that cited a study that said that most mothers, when in that situation, choose to save their babies, while most fathers choose to save the mothers. Can I find this study on the internet somewhere? Hmm, no, but it was somewhere near this excerpt.

Now, this is a crazy oversimplification and I realize this, and I realize that by even bringing it up I'm being rude to sentimentalists and people with feelings everywhere, but could it be that both mother and father are choosing the choice that carries the least risk of crippling regret?

The mother, if she chooses to save herself, was still obviously extremely attached to her baby and might never forgive herself for not trying to save it. The father, if he chooses to save the baby, might feel doubly guilty for not saving his wife and depriving his child of a mother.

Or maybe people just choose to save those of whom they are most protective.

(I should have named this entry A Pregnancy Interlude, or: How I Successfully Put Off Writing About Regret Again.)


Becca said...

i'd def. choose my life. i can always have another child but i can't have another me!

wow that sounds horrible...can you tell i'm not ready for a child?

Dan R said...

I just asked myself what the mother would want.

All that means is I'm incredibly in-tune with female desires!


Or something like that...

Hannah said...

Becca - thank you, I'm glad I'm not alone. Even if it means we're not ready for children. i'm okay with that.

Dan - sounds like you're incredibly in tune with the female desire to die?