Thursday, August 18, 2011

Meanderings

I thought I'd go into some background information on Six Weeks, and what inspired me to do it. A lot of people have been wondering...

Six Weeks is really a very powerful story about a young woman who has nothing but difficult choices to make in life. Immy has to take care of her alcoholic, arthritic mother who has all but given up on herself and her children. A fifth of whiskey a day dulls her pain, but causes agony for Immy and her little sister Sadie.

When Immy discovers she's pregnant, the callous nurse-practitioner tells her that she's six weeks along, and that she only has six weeks to make a decision on what to do with the fetus.

What would you do in that circumstance? I have feelings and beliefs about abortion, adoption, and raising children, and I don't really want to foist them on anyone. But the question is there. A lot of people have very black-and-white beliefs regarding the subject of abortion, and I wondered what would happen if those beliefs were challenged.

It's sometimes difficult for someone who feels strongly about one thing or another to step back and reevaluate. But that's my goal for Six Weeks. I'd like to challenge readers to explore their own feelings on the subject and consider what they might do under such desperate circumstances. I think it's important to consider a subject from all sides before making a decision, and Six Weeks is a good tool for people to use to help them consider.

What would you do? Let's say you were in Immy's shoes. Do you abort the child and go on with your life to try to make it better? Do you keep the child and raise it, either in the same house with a worthless alcoholic and a little girl who needs too much? Do you birth the child only to give it away? Those are tough choices for anyone, much less a young woman with the weight of the world on her shoulders.

When I set out to write Six Weeks, I never really intended for the religious themes that are woven througthe the book to be there. But it seemed logical during my research. A lot of the "Pregnant? We can help!" places are run by churches or other religious institutions, and they offer alternatives to abortion. And really, isn't the whole pro-life/pro-choice debate theological? One of the main objections to abortion is the fact that God doesn't approve.

Really, the bottom line is that every person who may find themselves on the fence on the topic of abortion needs to consider plights from every angle. It's very hard to be logical about such an issues. Babies and pregnancy invoke strong feelings. Religion invokes strong feelings. I think, though, that it's important to consider that there is more than 1 side to every story, and unfortunately, there's not a one-size fits all solution for every young pregnant woman. I think it's important to recognize that there may not be a "right" solution; rather, there could be just one that seems less wrong than the others.

I ask that if you do run across someone in Immy's shoes, listen to her story first and judge later. Maybe the young woman won't do what you would do in the same situation, but maybe she's doing the best she can with her limited options.

And ask yourself: what would I do in her shoes?

Jess

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