Sooner or later, we all find ourselves at a crossroads along various points in our journey through Life. I know I certainly have, and surely you have (or will), too.
Literally, a crossroads is an intersection of two or more roads. Metaphorically, it represents a point in your life path where you need to make some kind of serious, life-altering decision. I’m talking about the kind of decision where, if you go down a certain path, your life can be seriously changed from what it was before, whether it be for (so-called) better or for worse. Do you continue along your current path? Or do you veer down one of the untraveled roads?
These types of decisions usually involve deciding whether or not to follow a certain career, marry, move to a new city, buy a particular house, have a child (or children), divorce, etcetera. These are commonly known as The Big Life Decisions.
I’ve made a number of these types of decisions thus far in my life, although you might not think I have based on where I am right now — I do not own a house, I am not married (nor ever have been), and I do not have kids.
In this blog post, I share some of the stories behind some of The Roads Not Taken which have ultimately led to my present coordinates in my ongoing Creative Journey through Life.
The Career I Didn’t Choose
Ever since I was very young, I’ve struggled with the idea of having to choose just one career path. When you’re young, you’re conditioned to believe that you have to pick one career, and then stick with it for life.
This is HUGE. Ultimately, choosing and deciding upon a career path alone might be the most influential decision of your entire life. This single decision would shape your thoughts and actions for decades to come — probably even more so than marrying or having kids. How is anyone supposed to make such a huge decision, let alone a teen or a young adult?
There were many careers I considered at various points in my youth, teens, and early twenties:
- Fiction Author
- Music Composer
- Orchestra Conductor
- Professional Pianist
- Opera Singer
- Advertising / Marketing Agent
- Real Estate Agent
- Particle / Research Physicist
- Artistic Director of a well respected Theatre Company
- Theatrical Sets, Lighting and Costume Designer
- Stage Manager
- Actress / Performer
I ultimately chose the career path of independent theatre artist. This combines many skills, such as writing, performing, directing, designing, and producing. Although I may have chosen an “impractical” and “difficult” path, I must say, I love it.
I find the work I create for myself to be incredibly fulfilling, especially when I receive feedback from audience members who have been profoundly moved by my work. But even so, I still wonder from time to time what my life might be like had I chosen a different career path. And sometimes I even consider the possibility of going back to school to study something else completely different.
The Man I Never Married
The short version is this: Once upon a time, I loved a man very much and we were engaged to be married. Then, we grew in different directions, changed, and decided it best to break up. That relationship ended — or, instead of saying that relationship “ended”, perhaps instead I should say that relationship underwent a major transformation — in the earlier half of 2002.
Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like had I decided to marry my first love. But alas, that is not the path I chose to take.
And even though we broke up in the earlier half of 2002, I’m very glad to say we’re still friends even to this day. In fact, we met up with each other quite recently and spent about six hours just talking, catching up, and enjoying each other’s company. He’s really happy with the direction his life is currently heading, and I’m honestly thrilled to hear that — I’m feel genuine happiness for him. It’s amazing to realize that we’ve known each other for over twenty years now.
As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to experience deep, connected, and growth-oriented relationships with a number of men. I’m ecstatically happy with with the connection I share with Steve in our current relationship. Even so, sometimes I wonder what my life might have been like had I married the man I was initially engaged to in my early twenties. But considering where my life is now, I must say I’m beyond happy with my relationship life and certainly have no regrets. <3
The Home I Lost
My first love and I bought a condo together around the 5-year mark of our relationship. We had gotten engaged at roughly the same time, too.
It was a nice little condo. Not very big, but not too tiny. It had two bedrooms, 1 bathroom, an L-shaped living room / dining room area, a decent kitchen with lots of cupboard space, and a small laundry room with a brand new washer and dryer that we bought ourselves. There was also a parking spot right by our private entrance.
When we broke up, I remember he wanted to keep the condo. I didn’t feel right about that for some reason. At the time my thinking was that since it was “our” home, and if it would no longer be “our” home, I felt it should no longer belong to either of us. We sold it and made a very small profit on the sale of the condo. But had we stayed there, it believe it would be worth 3-4 times as much now as what we paid for it back then.
Even though I no longer own my home, I’m still tremendously happy. The paths I’ve traveled thus far have brought me to a point where I’ve become more and more comfortable within myself and my heart. If “Home is where the heart is,” then living from the heart and following your own personal path of courage will ultimately lead to a perpetual sense of happiness, wellbeing, and being at “home” in your own life and skin, no matter where your physical location might be.
The Child I Never Had
This topic has been one I’ve been conflicted about on some level or another for essentially my entire life.
I’ve never been passionately drawn to the idea of having children. I’ve met many women that wanted children so badly they’d exclaim their ovaries hurt every time they’d see or talk or think about anything related to family and babies. This has never really been the case for me, though, so it’s been really hard for me to relate with most women on this level.
That said, I must admit I am somewhat fascinated by children and the human species as a whole. The way a human mind and personality develops and unfolds is surely captivating, and I imagine it must be something amazing to witness and behold. I certainly wonder what another human being would be like if my DNA were to be combined with someone else’s — especially if it was with someone I dearly loved and admired.
What would my child look like? What would his or her temperament be? Would he or she be drawn to sciences or the arts? What kind of a parent would I be? But is curiosity alone reason enough to become a mother? Unlike many (or perhaps most?) women, motherhood has never been something for which I’ve longed and yearned.
A number of years ago, I found myself facing the hardest decision of my life. I accidentally became pregnant. Steve was the father. When I found out, we had been in a relationship with each other for less than three months. I loved Steve deeply, but I was scared beyond belief. Do I keep this baby, give birth, raise this child, and commit to being a parent for the rest of my life? Or, should I have an abortion?
Steve said he would support me fully in whatever I decided to do. But with that in mind, he did express that he felt it would be a wiser decision to have an abortion. Given that we had only been in each other’s lives for such a short time, lived in different countries, and my poor financial situation, it did seem to make more sense to not follow through with pregnancy and parenthood. At least, not yet — if ever.
The decision to have an abortion made sense from a logical standpoint. But my heart was being torn to pieces. I didn’t feel right about becoming a parent under my given circumstances, and yet I didn’t feel right about terminating the pregnancy either. The idea of carrying through with the pregnancy but giving the child up for adoption didn’t feel right either. Nothing felt right. But I had to make a decision. Needless to say, it was an incredibly difficult and emotional time for me.
All things considered, I finally decided to terminate the pregnancy. It was and still is the most difficult decision I have ever made in my life.
I remember the procedure very well. I opted to avoid the usual painkillers and sedatives offered… I wanted to be conscious and awake for this. Although after some prompting I decided I’d try the nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. I don’t know why it’s called that, though. I cried and cried the entire time.
I cried deep moaning sobs that shook my very soul. I remember thinking while crying and sobbing, “I’m killing my baby. I’m sorry. I love you. I’m so so sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. I love you. I love you. Please forgive me. Please, please forgive me. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I love you.”
I had no knowledge of the concept of Hoʻoponopono at the time, but it turns out that was exactly what I had been thinking — except I had been leaving out the “Thank you.” Although, come to think of it, it’s possible I might have silently thought “Thank you”, once everything was over and done.
I still think about what my life might have been like had I made a different decision. My child would have just turned three this month. For some reason, I think the child would have been a boy.
The Path of Courage
Was my decision to terminate my pregnancy motivated by fear? Definitely. But it was partly motivated by love, too.
I was scared at the prospect of becoming a parent, especially given my then-current circumstances. There’s no doubt about that. So where does the love fit in? Did I make a choice motivated by fear and cowardice? Or was it actually a path of courage?
After thinking about it for a very long time, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s all a matter of perspective.
One way of looking at the situation is this: I didn’t let the fear of being judged by others make my decision for me. If I was too afraid of what others might think of me for having an abortion, or if I was too afraid of the possibility of not being accepted by family or friends for choosing this path, I would have let that fear bully me into having a baby I was not prepared to have. And since I did not allow that fear to dictate my decision, you could then describe my choice as taking a path of courage.
I want to make it clear that there was definitely fear in the mix, but it wasn’t a decision completely devoid of courage, either. I experienced fear at the prospect of either outcome. In this situation, any of my options actually held different possibilities for following a path of courage and love.
What I’ve come to realize, though, is that there’s often more than just one path of courage available to us at the various crossroads in our lives. Having and raising a child can definitely be seen as a very courageous path, as well.
However, seeing how commonly tread and traveled the parenthood path has become, it’s definitely quite courageous to choose to travel along the less-trodden path. Who knows what I’ll discover there?
Choosing Your Path
Is following through with an unplanned pregnancy “the right” path to take, even if one or both parents do not wish to have (another) child? I honestly don’t think there’s a clear-cut black and white right or wrong answer here.
From one point of view, you might believe that terminating an unplanned pregnancy is very selfish. If the mother-to-be is healthy and there are no health-related risks presented to either the mother or the child, some might hold the perspective that the morally responsible or correct thing to do would be to have the child, no matter what.
If I made the decision to embrace parenthood, would I be able to fulfill my other hopes and dreams? Knowing that my hopes and dreams involve positively influencing others and working towards making the world a better place, I felt that embracing a life of motherhood would seriously hinder my efforts and goals. I realize they’d still be possible… but likely a lot more difficult to achieve, too. What if not having a child meant I would be more likely or able to positively affect hundreds, or thousands, or maybe even eventually millions of others, vs focusing so much on raising one specific tiny little human being?
There’s definitely no shortage of humans currently populating the Earth. The current global population of over 7 billion people is already two to three times higher than the sustainable level. Several recent studies show that Earth’s resources are enough to sustain only about 2 billion people at a European standard of living. That being the case, it’s definitely not a stretch of the imagination to say that having any more than one or two children in this day in age can be viewed as a selfish act, serving mainly to fuel your ego and personal sense of meaning and purpose. Some might even hold the perspective that it’s our moral and ethical responsibility to have one or possibly two children at maximum, to only have children if it’s planned and desired, and to only have children if you are capable of providing the best environment to support their growth and development. This would include their emotional environment and development.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
If I ever choose to become a mother, I want it to be intentional and deliberate — not a reactionary response. Otherwise, I’d worry about unintentionally harboring some sort of resentment towards having and raising a child that I did not plan nor intend. And seeing that Steve wasn’t interested in having another child either (he already has two), I worried about even more possibility for unintentional resentment to arise.
I’m not saying that I made a wonderful decision. Nor am I saying it was an awful and horrible decision. I have a blend of positive and negative feelings associated with the decision I made.
With everything said and done, I am glad to report that I am very happy not to be a parent as result of my choice. I have been able to partake in some wonderful adventures that would have been very difficult to undertake with a baby or toddler in tow.
Even so, I still wonder from time to time what things might have been like if I had chosen to take a different path.
The Road Not Taken
The Road Not Taken is the title of a poem by Robert Frost. It’s been a favorite poem of mine since I first read it at the age of fourteen.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
What roads have you tended not to take thus far along your journey through Life?
Do you tend to walk along the well-traveled paths of predictability and normalcy?
Or do you tend to choose the path that is less traveled by?
Although it’s certainly okay to briefly entertain different possibilities and their outcomes had different paths been taken, don’t make a habit out of it, and don’t let it consume you. Thinking about the effects your actions have made on the present is one thing, but mulling over the past (or what might have been or could have been) will only serve to take you out of living in the present.
You can only consciously create your future when you are fully living in the present, walking along your path with deliberate and intentioned footsteps.
Regardless of what decisions were made and what roads have been taken thus far in life, it’s imperative to live fully in the present and embrace the here and now. Release any negativity or regret you might be carrying with you from past decisions.
Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Love. Too often, it’s the path less traveled by.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
This is a very courageous post. Thank you for opening up and sharing. I was really moved by your description of your emotions during your abortion. In my opinion, there is no true right or wrong.. what we have to respond to and deal with (if we choose) is our programming and the perceptions of those around us of what is right and wrong. Regret is a waste of energy 🙂
Thanks for writing this Rachelle. It must have taken a lot of courage to be so open about your life, especially your abortion.
The decision not to use anesthesia during the operation seems like a meaningful one both as a symbol of making the decision “with your eyes open” and of accepting the consequences.
I think the only cowardly choice would have been to make no choice at all. To have a child without consciously deciding you were committed to it, and thus being unprepared for what it really means.
A difficult, conscious, decision and a moving piece of writing about that decision.
One of the things about this that impresses me about what you’ve written here is the tone of responsibility and ownership of the decision that you express throughout.
I loved this article. I haven’t read all the articles in your blog but this is the first one I really like. It sounds so much more sincere, authentic, and profound than others in which I felt like you mostly offered advice. I feel like you finally let your true self show in this. Congratulations for having the courage to do this. I get that it was probably very difficult to write this. I hope you have the courage to write other articles that are just as raw as this one.
A very raw and honest post which puts your life and some of the major decision points in perspective. It took a lot of courage to publically disclose an experience which was very challenging and difficult for you, and relive the experience of making the decision. You are comfortable with all of these turns on the road of your life, and look predominantly forward rather than dwell on the “what if”.
Wow, Rachelle, this is a FANTASTIC article. I comment you for your courage to make a conscious decision, to involve Steve in that decision, and to be even more courageous to share it with the world now. You are a very brave woman and you are impacting many lives right now simply in your honesty and conviction of this point. You don’t have to be a parent to change someone’s life. You have already changed mine. Thank you.
wow. thanks for the post. i might say that if you in the future have an opportunity to have a kid, you should. i lived in nyc for ten years and had a ton of adventure – saw numerous things. each of my kids is worth trillions of times the multiple of all my experiences in such an amazing city. once you have a kid, it will blow your mind. in the future, i would not let finances, etc., be an impediment if you can somehow squeak by. i wouldn’t let steve or anyone else talk you into an abortion if you have doubts. you can also help people and have a kid at the same time. numerous people do it in their own small or large ways. you can still have a great life that helps others and have kids. i would not look at it in a binary way. all that said, i am just presenting my own personal opinion and i really do appreciate and respect the honesty of your post.
Thanks so much for sharing this, I think your point that there is more than one path of courage possible is particularly important — I think too often we tend to think in terms of black & white, that one possible direction is courageous or “right” and that another is cowardly or “wrong”. Rarely have I found it constructive to think in those terms.
I’m impressed to see such heart-felt and supportive replies to Rachelle’s story. It was certainly not an easy situation. There will always be some curiosity and wonder about the road not taken… and perhaps even some love for it.
I’ve known numerous people who’ve practiced polyamory over the years (both men and women) and from my experience, nearly all of the women come to regret it. Polyamorous male partners are just not as emotionally invested, whereas women experience oxytocin (the bonding hormone) and can’t help but want to bond, “nest,” start a family, etc. Women have more emotions at stake, while men are far less affected by this chemistry. Men may outgrow polyamory at some point, but they rarely regret it.
Women want to feel special, chosen above all others — and rightly so. Deep down, most men want this as well, and we all deserve this. It’s fine to have a “play” stage in life, but eventually it comes time to grow up. Real emotions are at stake.
Concerned Artist seems either grossly misinformed or just inexperienced with the realities of open relationships. I can’t see much truth in those statements, especially the overgeneralizations about men and women and how they’re supposed to be. This looks like an outsider’s perspective who doesn’t really get it — it lacks a basis in reality.
Personally I love the bonding aspect. I think it’s ignorant to say that men are less affected by it. For me that’s one of the most cherished parts of relating to a woman, feeling deeply connected to her. I can’t imagine anyone reading this recent article about my relationship with Rachelle and concluding that I don’t feel strongly connected to her:
Thinking that open relationships are equivalent to non-serious play is ridiculously ignorant as well. I could easily write an article about traditional marriage being the “play” stage in life, where you’re playing house, or prince and princess, and then afterwards when you finally awaken from that socially conditioned Disney dream, you have the option to get serious about real unconditional love, stop being so clingy and territorial, move beyond jealousy and other fears, and become much more giving and open-hearted.
one other point. some might say that the whole game is occurring at a level far beyond the body or ego – the space of the true self perhaps. from this angle, what’s meant to be, will be. from this angle, whatever has happened has been guided by the Self. congrats on finding a great partner like steve.
now, in my opinion, it’s time to build whatever you want from here. if you’ve never had a child, i think it’s a bit difficult to induce, based on seeing other parents & kids perhaps, until you’ve actually had one. a book that puts this into context is called “selfish reasons to have more kids.” the book is written in a highly biased fashion, but it does bring up some good points related to the benefits of grandkids in old age, the contribution that a person makes when having kids, etc. i personally have never seen anyone regret having their kid. that said, there is the downside of worry if negative things should happen to your kids (broken bones, etc). to note, i have also seen folks without kids quite happy and fulfilled. some monks, for example, have honed their quality of attention and seem to be living in bliss without kids or partners. all in all, even though i don’t know you and everything you’ve been through, i nonetheless say “go have a kid!” if you can.
Oh, Concerned Artist, there’s such a broad spectrum of outcomes where polyamorous relationships are concerned! People are so different, have such different attitudes and approaches… it’s certainly something that takes effort, in part because it requires unselfishness and a certain degree of personal security (or at least the will to develop these qualities). Just be careful of making broad generalizations based on a small sampling of people’s experiences.
Right now, if I could have a sister wife instead of a divorce, I’d probably do it. Call me weird, rare, whatever. You should watch the 1982 movie “Summer Lovers”. While it indulges itself as a sexy romp a bit more than is my taste in movies, it makes some incredibly valid points about the way the human heart works. My favorite line in the movie is from the character Lina, who says “Jealousy doesn’t show how much you love someone, it shows how insecure you are.”
Anyhoo… back to the main point this post is making… I disagree slightly with the people above who said there’s no right or wrong. To me, it’s more about principles vs. circumstances, which pretty much boils down to the fact that the exact “right” way to act can differ situationally. Many Christians unfortunately take the black-and-white view that ALL abortion is wrong, period. I believe that the principle of the situation is respect for life. I get the impression that Rachelle (appropriately) consulted both head and heart in this, and did so with that principle in mind. For a long time, I thought that putting the child up for adoption must always be the best thing to do in a case like this, but I’ve learned something over the past few days (which I’m prompted not to share openly) that tells me there was a valid and compelling reason this wouldn’t have been the way to go for her, and it may take time before that reason (or reasons) come(s) to light. And, at the end of the day, that is HER business.
In any case, if anyone else feels like making judgmental comments, please exercise the principle of sensitivity, do us all a favor, and refrain.
Steve, I’m not saying the “marriage” institution is the end-all-be-all for everyone; I was referring to a level of commitment and accountability in a relationship with someone who has rocked your world so much that no one else is needed or wanted. I am lucky enough to have that in my life and believe it is possible for everyone. You have to first choose it, stay open to it and above all connect with that place in yourself where you know you deserve it. I’m not saying true, committed intimacy is always easy; far from it. All our real issues come out in deep, real, committed relationships — unresolved family of origin issues, trust issues, etc. IMO polyamory seems to be a way of being able to skirt true intimacy because you never have to go very deep with any one person. It’s also a known fact that women are biologically more compelled toward monogamy due to far higher production of oxytocin (the bonding hormone) than men — http://www.wisegeek.org/what-does-the-oxytocin-hormone-do.htm. I believe that’s why so many women come to regret polyamory. They’re not cut out for it; but I actually don’t think that men are either, beyond a “sowing their oats” period that may happen in the teens and 20s. It’s been my observation that people who practice polyamory as an ongoing lifestyle feel safer not getting too deep and real with any one person — but true, soul-shattering unconditional love is always possible for everyone. (Soul-shattering in a GOOD way! 😉
I definitely think people practicing polyamory can have deep, intimate connections with more than one partner. However, in my experience, which is reasonably vast in this area, human beings are not honest, mature or well-intentioned enough to succeed at this. If multiple humans who actually care for other humans, somewhat unselfishly, want to work VERY diligently at communicating and nurturing their relationships – more power to you!
I was never satisfied in a poly situation. Also, about women bonding more than men – chemicals or not, that really varies. Some of the most successful open relationships I’ve had were with groups of just women. It was very much a communal care situation where each of us used our personal gifts to tend to one another.
No poly relationship I have seen or experienced has had the depth of spirit I desire in a relationship. Sure, some of the people practicing have been amazing people, but my connection to them was not the earth-shattering, bonding, soul liberating connection I absolutely need.
I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability in this article. Of all the choices, the choice about the abortion feels the hardest. My brother had a similar situation arise with a woman who got pregnant with twins when they’d only been dating a few months. She decided to keep the pregnancy. My brother and the woman are not together anymore, and it was a rough road.
Look forward to hopefully meeting you in person soon.
congrats also rachelle on staying true to your creative expression. also, no use regretting anything in my opinion. it brought you here.
on the highest level, it’s all your true self’s game – everyone you see is the family you create. doesn’t have to come through a pregnancy. i’m just a big fan of kids.
If you have any affinity at all for a spiritual world view, Rachelle, you might appreciate the proposal that the soul that could have been your child is still there somewhere, in the Greater Universe. So no real harm was done – except of course what felt very real and painful in this physical world that we all have to travel for a while. Having lived most of the paths not taken you describe and then some, I hope you can trust that this statement comes from experience and not spiritual snobbery. In any case, another proposal could just be that this child you never had … is in a sense forever with you, especially in the times of doubt, making you able to write something that moves others to finally remember that to forgive oneself is the only way forward. You did a pretty good job tonight of helping me to remember once again. Thank you.
Steve has definitely rocked my world more than anyone else with whom I’ve ever been in a relationship. We are committed to each other, we share the deepest of intimacies possible, our love and passion for each other is full and deep. The fact that our relationship is not closed to connecting with others does not in any way make our love, commitment, relationship, etc, any less real or deep.
Even though we are open, I do not really feel a need or desire for anyone else, since I find our relationship to be so very satisfying… although I suppose that is not entirely true, because sometimes I find that I do desire to connect *with* him *and* another simultaneously, in the form of a loving and passionate threesome. A deeply connected 3-person relationship would be something I’m also open to explore.
It is definitely amazing and soul-shattering to love someone so much, that you want to share that person with others so that they too can experience the same (or similar) bliss that you feel when you’re together, connecting in the deepest of ways.
I’m open to the possibility of falling in love with another man, but thus far I haven’t met anyone else that I’ve felt a desire to pursue. I’m also open to the possibility of falling in love with a woman, but I’ve never fallen in love with a woman before, so that is completely new territory for me. Being open to these possibilities, however, does not in any way diminish the intensity of our love, accountability, and commitment for and to each other.
I love that I have the freedom to explore connections with others, should the desire to explore other connections arise. I also love that Steve has that freedom as well. It all comes down to freedom, which I consider to be the highest and truest expression of love that is possible.
I am lucky enough to have that in my life and believe it is possible for everyone. You have to first choose it, stay open to it and above all connect with that place in yourself where you know you deserve it. <3
Hi Rachelle, what a hard emotionally uphill share. Appreciate your courage and open energy in writing this. I love that you communicated to your fetus before terminating. I hope you fill your heart and mind with congruence and love with Truth or the situation as it is Now.
As for open relationship discussions, I think after Steve’s comment, nothing really needs to be said.
I read this a week ago when you posted and it bothered me, so I took some time to figure out why. Now I’m coming back and it’s of course none of my business at the end of the day, and I think (from having read your blog and peripheral knowledge from Steve) you are a pretty freaking cool chick. With that said,
1. You got pregnant so quickly, three months, wasn’t Steve still with his wife at the time? Polyamorous and no discussion of safe sex? Or, assuming you and Erin were OK with him not using condoms after STD tests, no discussion of a form of birth control? I find it really hard to grasp with 2 such intelligent people, neither of these issues ever came up? You have no responsibility to be the “poster children” for polyamory, but as a fan/reader, I read your & Steve’s posts to see and understand “real world” polyamorous relationships, and this is such an incredible turn-off and comes across as extremely irresponsible. If you are reckless with such simple logistics (i.e. don’t get unintentionally pregnant) how can I look to you as a positive, responsible role model of an open relationship? How can you be responsible with someone’s heart if you aren’t responsible with your body?
2. I cannot wrap my head around preaching a vegan lifestyle and terminating a pregnancy. This is aimed more at Steve, since it’s his blog I constantly find the “I respect all life” language. All life but human fetuses? I am pro-choice, but I have a hard time reconciling his actions with his blog. Again, not my business, who cares, but it really hurts in a way to believe so strongly in someone living an honest life true to his ideals only to see that his actions don’t align. He writes one thing (that I respect and enjoy) but I come here to see that he was encouraging you to terminate its life. This raises the question in my mind: what other principles does he violate?
I am pro-choice and not a vegan. I think this was a great post. I liked how I had to figure out why it got under my skin. I think you did the right thing (if there is such a thing as “right”). Thinking in “what if”s is always a mindfuck. It’s always reassuring to assess how happy you are and think if this is what it took to get here, then there can’t be too many regrets.
Your comment brings up a lot of questions. I could potentially write a whole other blog post to cover the points and questions raised. But for now, I’ll just write some quick responses in point form. It appears there are a lot of assumptions being made that have no basis in the reality of the situation.
– No, Steve was not with his ex-wife Erin at the time. They separated in October of 2009. Steve and I started our in-person relationship in January 2010.
– Steve and I were practicing safe sex via condoms during the first month of our relationship.
– Steve and I were sexually monogamous in practice (yet always open in spirit) during this time in question.
– You can’t get STDs from having sex when both (or all) those participating do not have (nor ever had) any STDs to speak of, ever.
– We both shared a strong desire to experience sex and physical intimacy with each other without condoms. I was 31 years old at the time and up to that point I had never, once, let anyone directly ejaculate inside of me. Steve was the first (and so far, only) man to ever share in this experience with me. We were both smitten and in love with each other, and we wanted to deepen our physical intimacy and take it to the next level, to match the level of intimacy we shared and were experiencing on levels of mind, heart and spirit.
– We did talk about birth control, specifically natural birth control via monitoring menstural cycles, which can in fact be extremely effective when practiced properly. Unfortunately, there was an error made in practice.
– Steve and I are both long term vegans and both share the same views regarding “respect for all life”, as you put it.
– The above is one of the reasons I was so very, very torn.
– The abortion occurred very early. It was not yet a fetus, but an embryo.
– The embryo’s stage of development was such that there was no brain activity, and no nervous system had been developed. It could not yet perceive nor feel suffering or pain.
– The differences between aborting an embryo and being vegan for ethical reasons are huge. Animals are already born and fully alive. They can think, feel emotions, and experience suffering and pain. Although a human embryo has that same potential (albeit to different degrees) after sufficient development, it cannot as of yet do, feel, or experience any of those things.
– If the embryo/fetus had already reached a certain point of development in which it had brain activity, or a nervous system which would have enable it to experience pain, I believe I would have kept the fetus-child-to-be, despite my many conflictions.
You wrote: “The differences between aborting an embryo and being vegan for ethical reasons are huge. Animals are already born and fully alive. They can think, feel emotions, and experience suffering and pain”
So then are you okay with eating chicken eggs?
Nope! Because the chickens that lay the eggs are horribly mistreated and they no doubt suffer a great deal. At least this is the case with standard industrial farming practices. Consuming eggs directly supports that industry, and I do not wish to support or condone such practices.
You could ask, “Well, what about free-range eggs then?” It really depends on what “free-range” means, as the term “free-range” may be used differently depending on the country and its laws. In some cases it might simply mean the chickens aren’t in tiny cages, but they may still have poor living conditions and suffer a great deal.
If I met a chicken that was happy and free and someone offered me its egg, I wouldn’t be opposed to it from an ethical point of view. That said, I still wouldn’t want it, but for other reasons. I have no desire to eat eggs and no longer see such things as ‘food’.
I don’t really agree with your reasoning that it’s ok to abort an embryo but not ok to eat an animal. You say that it comes down to the animal being able to “feel emotions, and experience suffering and pain” while a human embryo cannot yet. With that reasoning, one would be ok with swiftly killing a human or animal that was sleeping since they wouldn’t feel pain or suffering from it.
Also, what do your parents think of your polyamorous lifestyle?
Frankly I couldn’t care less whether you agree with my reasoning or not. Obviously not everyone is going to agree with my personal reasoning, nor do I expect everyone to. So anonymously voicing an opinion of disagreement essentially serves no purpose at all other than to act as an agitant. This isn’t a forum for debate. It’s my blog.
I’m not saying it’s “okay” to abort an embryo, nor am I saying it’s “not okay”. It’s a deeply personal and difficult decision. I was merely offering insight into my inner thought processes that help guide my decisions, and different ways of looking at different circumstances.
Also, why the fuck would I (or anyone) be okay with swiftly killing an animal or human for no other reason whatsoever apart from the possibility to do so? That’s the kind of thing a violent psychopath might conclude and carry out. Most people use a set of heuristics to make decisions, not one simple binary factor that is completely detached from the rest of reality.
Eg: Some people might decide to put down a pet animal due to extreme old age and/or irreversible illness, to put them out of suffering, etc. Do such people choose to swiftly kill their pet in such a way that causes the least amount of suffering? Yes. Nonetheless, is it usually a difficult or painful decision to make? Yes. Do most people see such an action as immoral? No. On the other hand, many people do see eating meat as immoral, while others do not. Many people see abortion as immoral, while others do not. Different people come to different conclusions based on the different sets of heuristics (or morals / values / belief systems) that are referred to when making such decisions.
As for what my parents think about my lifestyle choices? Not that it’s any of your business, but I actually don’t know, nor do I care. I haven’t asked for or sought their approval, because I don’t need their approval. I can tell you this, though: If they were in any way actively discouraging, disrespectful, or unsupportive of my choices, I would certainly be inclined to extract their involvement from my life.
Anyone is free and entitled to their own opinion, but if your opinion is going to be anything other than supportive or constructive in relation to my own, then please either keep it to yourself or share it elsewhere. One can disagree yet still be constructive and/or supportive, and as such, such opinions are still welcome here. Otherwise, what’s the point?
p.s. I don’t really use the term “polyamorous” to describe my lifestyle. I prefer to use the term “open”. It’s just a matter of personal preference.
p.p.s. This is the last time I’m going to answer or approve any questions or comments from anyone who cowardly hides behind the mask of anonymity.
Wow… so beautiful. Yes, entirely your decision and I respect and love what you have so graciously shared. I believe if people were more honest and shared as you do, we would be building together a more loving reality.
I too had to let myself percolate on the layers of emotions this vulnerable, honest sharing evoked from deep within me.
Part of me is grieving, idk why? It’s like a primal thing? If there is such a beast 🙂 Maybe it’s because I am a mother and have learned more than imaginable by being one. And maybe it’s because I am being selfish cuz I would’ve loved a child produced by you two. And I know how much love that child would’ve grown up with and what an incredible person he would’ve been. Yet I know as was said in an earlier comment that the same person is still in the ether in spirit so no harm no foul 🙂 I’ve concluded that the mother in me was triggered.
I was also angry as a woman, triggered again. I have contemplated this scenario, if I ever had an unplanned pregnancy what would I do? For me it is always the woman’s choice because she is the one who’s body has to go through the process and she goes through so much more than the man. It is a huge thing for the woman, the man is somewhat a bystander in much of the process, at least biologically/physically and also less emotionally invested because his body is not undergoing this metamorphosis. The minute a man states his preference over whether to abort or not, he has already taken part of that decision making process away from the woman, so she is gonna consider his preference. I know logically it is only fair that the man have some say so as well, but the woman in me is like, really? Mainly because I know how it is to be pregnant. Once you have this life inside you, it is not an easy choice and doesn’t feel “fair” to have pressure to choose other than what feels right for the pregnant woman, because it is now part of her body. So the minute the man states his preference, some freedom to choose is lost to the woman. maybe not logical to the mind, but that’s how it feels from a woman’s, mother’s, my viewpoint in this human body.
Spiritually? We are all fine and good in the ether so whatever choice we make is valid here and all is well always. No regrets. We are learning as we grow, through the choices we make, all of us. And love prevails, always 🙂 I am having to let go of and forgive more and more and this is allowing more freedom for me. I get disappointed and am saddened, but letting go and focusing on what I can directly control is working for me.
And mostly I just wanna grab you up and hug you and cry with you because it is such a hard thing being here in this human experience, messy as it is. The painful challenges we go through. And I must say that I probably would choose the same as you did, given the circumstances. It is a giant, life altering choice to become a parent and if it’s not what you are wanting or able to do, why of course it is much better to choose responsibly. And there is always the chance to be a parent again, in this lifetime or another 🙂
I know this post addressed other crossroads/life choices but the choice that seemed the hardest and most life altering was that of being a mother. I am biased. Some comments touched on open relationships and to me that is also a big consideration and I agree the more freedom the better, and being a parent definitely is not freedom, but being committed to loving is not freedom either, it is something much more vast and requires utmost reverence and responsibility and living uncompromisingly according to what is true for you from deep within you. Which I see you are doing beautifully 🙂
And this I guess is ultimate freedom. When you live truthfully according to your deepest heart’s longings and love yourself as fully as possible so this overflows to everyone else to create more oneness in love. To be human, for me allows me to choose love. The freedom to choose what is most loving from my human point of reference in this lifetime at this moment… and that is only up to me. I am the only one who can do this, make the choice of what I am being, doing, becoming, living and loving. To thine own self be true. Be true to that love in you and all is well always. Who cares what anyone else thinks? You have to live with your choices most of all and who of us can see the big, all encompassing picture of the what if’s? Everything is working to help us always so no matter what choice, we get the benefits, always 🙂
I have been monogamous, but I do see how if one is capable, we can love multiples. But I don’t see much true intimacy, honesty and love going on in other people’s relationships because they are not being true to themselves so how can they be true to anyone else? So to me all of this talk of monogamy and polyamory is besides the point when people as a whole are not committed to being true to themselves and have clarity and love themselves first. By loving I mean having your thoughts, feelings, words and actions, your whole energetic being aligned with love and what is most loving for you? So then you can extend this love and truth in communications, collaboration in oneness with all you encounter? This to me requires my full effort in my relationship with my human self, and until I get that on point it is challenging to share myself deeply with others. Monogamy is a first step for me and if I can get that going well, then poly may be possible. If you’re already there, then yay!
Love you very much Rachelle, thank you so much for being and sharing so graciously and fearlessly from your heart and truth. Hugs! <3
i just spent a day in the burbs arguing with these smug folks about the poor teachers in one of my two kids’ classes. there are definitely sacrifices to being a parent.
on a day like today, i am now rethinking some things. starting to think i don’t actually have any right to say that anyone should have kids based on my take on things. also, creative folks are really the inspiring ones to encourage everyone to break out of this strange Pleasant Valleyesque place that i live in for example. The bottom line may be: do whatever you’re gonna do and shower yourself with love regardless.
I think sometimes right now the selfish part of me would crave adventure over parenthood. My worry with that however would be regretting it in later life when it’s too late. Lately I’ve found great peace in adopting a policy of making decisions which benefit others as well as myself and for embracing the experiences life throws at me. “that which is in front of you is your teacher” I think your decision was heavily influenced by Steve and I empathize. No one wants to bring up children alone. With that said, I was an accident and my father was not around much for me but I’m very glad my mother kept me. I’m not saying what you did was wrong you did what was right for you but if you get another shot then maybe see where it takes you.
Rachelle, you are a good writer.
Found your blog recently from a link from Steve’s and only read a few so far.
On this subject there is a point no one has brought up. I got this idea from the writings of John G. Bennett.
When a child dies young it may be because the soul needed only that much time to accomplish whatever its purpose was. The decision you thought was only your own may not have been such.
Hi xoxo Oh my gosh, this made me cry. I am 31, just got married and know children is the next step. I have never been really drawn to the idea of having children either. I feel if I had a child, i too may harbor resentment toward the child and others such as my husband. My partner has said if i don’t want children then we just won’t have them. I feel that is very unfair to him as he would be a great father. But i will not have children because he wants them or because that is what society says you must do, so do my friends, family, work collegues and customers. But sometimes i wonder what it would be like if i had a child, how they would look, what they would be like, or if i will regret not having a child. I am stuck. My 10 year relationship has been mostly negative. There have been nice times though. People say we go together very well and suit and compliment eachother. We fight a lot. I cannot see myself with him all my life, tho when i think of us staying together, i see unhappiness. I cannot be myself with him. I dont know why. He really is a lovely 1 in a million guy. I sing a lot and dance, but never with him. I should, but i cannot. Once i nearly did, but then we fought and i was glad to not have shared that part of myself with him. I am quite independant. Even when our relationship is going nicely, i won’t choose to have a child as there would be so many new things to argue over. Sometimes i feel that in many years i will be in love with someone else, there will be a lot of passion and amidst that happiness i would consider a child, as they would have been created with love, brought into the world with love and raised with love. My partner and i have been through so much. It should’ve made us stronger together, love eachother more. No. I know he loves me very much and him not being with me would break his heart. I’m not being vein, just honest from my observations. After we were married, there was no honeymoon feeling. We were not a couple madly in love. It was meant to be special and feel special. Now all i have is more debt, a ring i dont want on my finger, more confusion, extra pressure for children, sadness, no love together. We fought most of our honeymoon as he was worried about money. Currently I WANT to not show up for work, loose our house and assets, leave everyone and travel. I have to travel. I work in pharmacy. I loath being there. They have noticed i have changed. I make mistakes, which according to my obese manager, is due to a lack of protein to my brain from my ‘new diet’. I am raw vegan, most of the time and i had just increased my raw salad intake. I couldn’t believe she said that. I wanted to tell het that her mistakes were due to having too much fat in her brain due to the slop that she eats. We have termed this FOB disease, Fat On the Brain, which i believe is a proven fact. All i want To do is lay on the floor in the sun and never move. My partner just came in the room, i looked at him wondering if i do love him. I believe i do love him very much. But i also believe i need to just be with me. If I would have children with him it would be by mistake, if i fell pregnant i would keep the baby, i do not have the courage to do as you have done. I would just have to work very hard at improving our circumstances so ensure the child has the best upbringing we could offer. Why did i get married? He has asked me that, and i have asked myself also. I reply, because you asked, i wasn’t going to say no. I figured we are together and will remain that way for some time, so it wouldn’t make any difference to our circumstances and perhaps we would be stronger together. People always told me marriage changes everything. I thought, perhaps it did for them as we all experience things differently. How could it change things for the worse if you have already experienced so much madness together. Now there is less madness but more sadness and emptiness. It’s not that i don’t care. I care a lot, perhaps too much, and i feel i am done with everything. I had enough a long time ago. But i don’t want to do this all again, come back in having to re-awaken and go through it all again. I am tired. This earth and people are beautiful. I don’t want to re-do this. I want to learn, grow and move up. With things i know, i’d be locked up. Things i’ve seen, they would take me away. And in reality, i don’t know much at all. I wondered if i had a child, what an appropriate name would be at this time in oue existance and i got told Alessia. I had never heard of that name and couldn’t believe what i read the meaning was. Defender/protector of earth i think. Well at anyrate, defender or protector of a planet. I felt honoured to have been given that name, should i have a girl. Then more recently i was relaxing and drifting, and very melodically i was told, if i’m not going to have children, protect from the earth. Perhaps i mixed the words up, lost in translation, perhaps it is protect the earth? It was getting continuously told to me until i realised, hang on, what is being said in my head, what are those words. It was like a song amongst the peaceful music i was listening to. I could just make things simple for myself, trudge along to work and smile more, be more grateful in my relationship and just carry on as everyone else does. No body in my job shares my values or understanding. They very happily go to work, then go home and tend to their families. Work, children, retirement, apparently that is normal and they serm soo happy within the system. I would rather not be in their system. I love the saying that some people are so deep within the system, that they do not want to be woken up. Pharmacists and technicians, the ones who think they have all the knowledge, and their children who get top marks at school, who are very good at memorising their work and are so good at following and being within the system. Oh my gosh, i just realised where i began with this. I wanted to tell you I admire your courage and I have enjoyed reading your truth xoxo I have never told anyone what i have written here. I guess by the looks of it, I really needed to. I came here via Steves twitter page. I just found his blog today as i was googling something like, what happens if i dont pay my bills. I dont want to. Oddly, i kind of feel happy to crash and burn. The other week i was imagining all the aspects about if i jumped from a bridge onto some very sharp rocks. Now dont take that as a dark comment, as it is not. Im not going anywhere. I know i am loved and it would hurt people deeply if i did that. Plus i would have to start over and i dont want to. I would rather live here for thousands of years. I have a lot of work i want and need to do. That i need to be here for a very long time. Which in reality is no time at all. Anyways, i was saying rocks, the thought of it didnt feel dark or depressing. It felt nice and light and floaty. Which i thought was weird. It made me smile and feel good. Perhaps most people would say that is dangerous, but like i said, i ain’t going anywhere. I need to have fun, i need life. Im always seconds away from walking out of work and getting on a plane to anywhere. Except we have mega debt, no money for a ticket and I have 2 beautiful cats that i need to love and take care of. While i am writing this, my cat Sprite snuggled up to me in a fashion she doesn’t usually do. Then later she looked at me with love in here eyes and gave me a love bite over my nose. She is so beautiful taking care of me. Xoxo I want to help people to learn and grow. I want to travel and see more of the worlds beauty. I want to meet more people to love. I want my partner to find someone who wants his children and loves him madly. I want to learn more of what has been hidden from humanity. I want to be me and be abnormal. I want abnormal friends. I want to just love xoxo and very much, i want to thank beautiful you for reading this xoxo I am still in a rut, have no idea what to do, but know the universe has that covered. But this feels nice, having written what i have. Thank you with great big hugs and lots of love xoxoxo
Also, I agree with the reply from Rich Gold.
The child who was physically with you for that time, I believe knew there was a chance they may not be there for long, they came to you with that knowledge. No choice you could make would be wrong or right, it just is. Either choice you could’ve made would have lessons to learn (in a positive light) and opportunities for growth. I have read over this reply numerous times to make sure it isn’t offensive in any way, though I am tired so I cannot be sure. So please do not take offence in this as none is intended xoxo only love and light.