For almost 10 years, Des Moines resident Kate has wanted to be a mom. However, even in her third trimester, she said no one should be forced to be pregnant if they don’t want to be.
“It’s really uncomfortable, you know, why should someone be forced to go through all of this medical stuff if they don’t want a baby out of it?” Kate said. “It’s not fun being pregnant for most people. You have to miss work, you have to change your life a lot.”
“I was super active before and had to really step back,” she continued. “Which I was happy to do because I want to be a mother. This is all planned for me. But for somebody who got pregnant and didn’t want to, that would be terrible.”
And that’s only one reason why Kate supports women having the right to decide whether to keep their pregnancies and why she’s concerned about the leaked US Supreme Court draft ruling that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Out of concern for her privacy, Kate said she only wanted to use her first name in this story.
Aside from the discomfort, she’s also had to deal with an unsupportive job, future daycare hassles, navigating health insurance, and her and her husband’s finances.
She left her old job because it didn’t offer maternity leave and only allowed employees to accumulate two weeks’ worth of time off a year.
“I had heard comments from people who were like, ‘Oh, yeah when I had my baby, I was back in two weeks.’ And I was just thinking, what’s wrong with you? Like, you can’t even put your baby in daycare in two weeks,” she said.
That job also had expensive health insurance which would have taken the majority of her income to pay the premium if she’d continued working there.
Fortunately for her, Kate found a new job that offered two months of maternity leave. She already has daycare lined up for when her leave is over, and she has better, cheaper health insurance for her family.
If she hadn’t, Kate said she would have had to stay home and apply for Medicaid or maybe take a part-time job and get health care that way.
“Now I have a good job and we have a family plan already,” she said. “My husband’s on my plan now, and it’s very, very inexpensive. I got, frankly, extremely lucky.”
Considering all of that, Kate said it’s ridiculous to force someone to have a baby if they don’t want, or have the ability, to make those sacrifices and arrangements.
“These politicians, at least these Republican politicians, are trying to make it so that you have to have a baby. But then there’s nothing for the baby, for the mother, for the family afterward,” she said.
That lack of support for child care and health care was also why having the morning-after pill as an option was such a relief to her.
“It wasn’t situations where I was like being irresponsible or something,” Kate said. “It was situations where the condom broke or like my partner said that the condom was on and it wasn’t.”
At the times when she used it, she said, she wasn’t in the right place to raise a child. Kate also said she’d never been able to get out of debt if she’d gotten pregnant.
“But now we’re in a really good place financially,” she said. “We’ve worked really hard to get to this spot and this is why we’re having a baby now and later in life because it’s so damn expensive.”
And it’s worth it to her. Kate said she’s willing to deal with the discomfort, the job change, and the daycare hunt because she wants to be a mom. But the fact that it’s her choice makes all the difference to her.
“I know that lots of people get pregnant unplanned but then they decide they want the baby,” she said. “Well, great. But if you don’t and you’re obligated to go through all this—the resentment the parent would have for the baby. It’s like, that’s not any family I would want to be born into.”
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