Courtesy of Pratima Gupta

I'm Pregnant. I'm A Mom. I'm Also An Abortion Provider.

Ad failed to load

I am a pregnant abortion provider who is pro-life. By that, I mean that my work as an obstetrician/gynecologist in the Bay Area is conducted in service of women’s lives, not just those of their unborn children. I provide care with respect, compassion, and dignity, whether my patient needs an abortion or prenatal care, a cancer screening, or if she’s in labor. When I say I’m "pro-life," I mean that the literal sense of the word “life,” not the way it's been twisted by anti-choice advocates who want to shame, punish, and control women, their bodies, and their choices.

In my opinion (and in my work), there is nothing “pro-life” about policies that force clinics to close and put women’s health at risk. There is nothing “pro-life” about denying women the ability to make decisions about their own lives. There is nothing “pro-life” about taking away a woman’s health coverage for abortion, forcing her to the economic, emotional, and physical brink. On the contrary, abortion providers like me give women and families their lives back, save women’s lives, and help to ensure the health and safety of their current and future children. Though some may argue that being a pregnant mom who's also an abortion provider somehow makes me a “hypocrite,” I'll say this: I see no conflict of interest. I have a duty to my patients. I also have a duty to myself, and mine is very much a wanted pregnancy.

In the course of my work recently, there have been moments when I've been at the same stage in my pregnancy as patients I'm providing an abortion for. It gives me cause for reflection, especially when I consider the anti-abortion myths that have helped shape the way we talk about abortion, and the assumption that women aren’t “smart” or “thoughtful” enough to make their own decisions about an unwanted pregnancy. But the reality is this: Women are smart and thoughtful enough to make those choices. In fact, women who have made the decision to have abortions do so carefully, seriously, and with full awareness of what it means to end a pregnancy. After all, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 59 percent of women who have abortions are already moms.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Pratima Gupta

Recently, I’ve felt my fetus kick mid-procedure, and it reminds me that I am on this pregnancy journey as well as my patients — I'm just taking a different path. It can be jarring to be so physically reminded of my own pregnancy as I am ending the pregnancy of another woman, but it doesn’t make me any less committed to being an abortion provider, and it doesn't change or alter my opinion of my patients by any means.

I was particularly drawn to the field of family planning because I became a doctor to help people live their lives with health and dignity. My work as an abortion provider allows me to do that.
Ad failed to load

Patients often ask me if it is difficult for me to provide their abortions because of my own pregnancy, and my response is simple and honest: “It's not your time now, but it is for me. If and when you decide to become a parent, I will be by your side then, too.” And I will. I am fortunate in knowing that mine is a planned and desired pregnancy. And precisely because I know how profound and personal the decision to continue a pregnancy is, I continue to support all women who seek an abortion. All too often we frame the reason for an abortion as reactionary — something had to happen to these women for them to want to end the developing fetuses inside them. But in my opinion, the only “good” or “necessary” reason they need to give — if they even feel comfortable giving one at all — for wanting an abortion is that they no longer want to be pregnant. Some of my colleagues will give preferential treatment or priority to women seeking abortions for fetal anomalies, but this is contrary to my medical and ethical practice of beneficence.

Right now my 4-year-old son understands what I do for work as “helping ladies.” When he's old enough to ask more detailed questions, I’ll be proud to tell him that I help women realize the decisions they’ve made about their lives, pregnancies, and futures. I’ll tell him that I'm there for women who want to end a pregnancy as well as those who want to become parents because I want to normalize abortion as part of the health career I willingly chose.

No one should be forced to continue a pregnancy against their will — certainly not because some politician wants to interfere, their local provider has been defunded, or because their insurance doesn’t cover their care.
Ad failed to load

I’ve often been told by my patients and their partners that I don’t look like an abortion provider, and that I'm “much nicer” than my patients were expecting. I've been an abortion provider for nearly 12 years, and I respond to each comment in the same way: I support my patients in a non-judgmental manner, whatever their decisions, whatever their reasons. I add that I was particularly drawn to the field of family planning because I became a doctor to help people live their lives with health and dignity. My work as an abortion provider allows me to do that.

In fact, many of the patients who see me for abortion care will then request that I provide their prenatal care in a subsequent pregnancy. To me, this means I'm truly giving women quality care that respects their decisions and safeguards their health and lives. Women who give birth and women who seek abortion are not “different” women — they’re the same women, only at different points in their journeys, operating under different and unique circumstances. In my career as an obstetrician and gynecologist, I serve patients for life. Over time, I can care for (and protect) the same patient for sexually-transmitted infection screenings, pap smears, birth control, prenatal care, deliver their baby, end a pregnancy, and consult on menopause. There are often days when I’ll provide an abortion for one woman and deliver a baby for another within a few hours of each other — this is the continuum of my life.

I trust my patients to make the right choice for themselves, just as I have made this one for myself.
Ad failed to load

As I embark into this new world as mother of a newborn, I am readying myself for the sleepless nights, dirty diapers, stresses, worries, and toll on my mind and body. I am doing my best to plan for the logistical, financial, and social supports my family will need to thrive, all while I juggle the demands of a baby and toddler. All of this serves to remind me that no one should be forced to continue a pregnancy against their will — certainly not because some politician wants to interfere, their local provider has been defunded, or because their insurance doesn’t cover their care.

To those who might critique the decisions of my patients, or my own decision to provide abortion care, the commitment to become a parent (or have another child) is one of the most important decisions a person can make. I trust my patients to make the right choice for themselves, just as I have made this one for myself. I'm honored to support the women I care for as they choose to (or not to) create life, and I hope that we can move toward a day when each and every woman is supported, trusted, and respected for their choices. That's the future I want for my patients, and my children too.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack