The results of a 12-year Danish study of thousands of women published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that having an abortion does not harm your mental health, but that having a baby very well might. Here’s the report in the Associated Press.
Whatever your views on abortion, what this says to me most of all is that either children make you nuts (which 2 hours with any toddler on any day in Denmark or Dubuque would tell you) or that people who want to have children are already nuts to begin with. Anxiety and depression were the biggest complains of those in the study who sought treatment.
I’d go so far as to posit that women who accidentally get pregnant and decide to have the baby are marginally less bonkers than people (like me) who spent thousands of dollars on fertility treatments in order to have kids, and then wind up with twins, which will make you exponentially more mentally ill than a single baby. Accidental pregnancy is a passive act (although of course passive acts like not using birth control are decisions of a kind) whereas undergoing IVF requires great effort, discomfort and expenditure of resources. It also requires you to have your partner masturbate into a cup to much-fondled porn magazines in a sterile room in a clinic, which means you’ve managed to draw at least one other person into your insanity.
(Love my girls, desperately wanted them, would die for them, etc. But they still stretch the limits of my mental health on a daily basis.)
So: Should birth control pills be prescribed for one’s mental health before the fact, as opposed to Xanax or Prozac after?
Or was the 15-minute argument over whether Sasha could wear her sisters’ brand new suede Minnetonka moccasins in the 20 inches of snow we have here in New York City simply the start of a challenging day?