Thank you for all the well wishes; my husband and I are indeed thrilled to be awaiting the birth of Baby Geiger in August. (In case you missed the byline, this is your favorite ERI gal Emily Geiger, formerly Emily Albrecht. I got married last November!)
Anyways, I’m thrilled about my pregnancy.
But what if I wasn’t thrilled?
In the days after two little pink lines on a stick announced that there is a tiny human growing inside my body, I couldn’t help but imagine what life would be like if I wasn’t pro-life; if I didn’t know what I do about pregnancy and abortion; if my life circumstances were different and more challenging.
Estimated reading time: 13 minutes
I’ve gotta say, the “missed-period pills” marketing strategy is genius.
As my colleague Andrew has investigated before, Missed-Period Pills are a new strategy of the abortion lobby designed to abort human embryos while being marketed to women who might otherwise feel uncomfortable with abortion. “The pills are just misoprostol—half of the typical chemical abortion regimen—and what they are designed to do is procure a chemical abortion without the woman needing to know whether or not she’s pregnant. In other words, it’s either a chemical abortion or an unnecessary, unindicated medical intervention, but the patient doesn’t have to know which one.”
Back to my story: a few days after my period was supposed to have arrived, I was cramping a lot. It felt like my period just desperately wanted to start but was having trouble.
Of course, no two women’s pregnancy experiences are the same. (Just ask any two women!) But these symptoms are extremely common; when I eventually downloaded the What to Expect app, the Week 4 section listed “PMS-like symptoms” under the Common Symptoms heading. Moodiness, bloating, and cramping are all perfectly normal in week four of pregnancy, aka the same week when most women are expecting their period to arrive. So expecting your period to arrive and being pregnant…they have exactly the same symptoms.
I’m pro-life, and my husband and I were excited to have a baby, so when my period didn’t come, I took a pregnancy test. But I was cramping so hard and it felt so exactly like my period was about to start that I was confident I wasn’t pregnant. I literally only took the test because I wanted to know for sure, so I would stop hoping I was pregnant and I’d be less disappointed when my period finally started!
Lo and behold, I was pregnant.
But if I had been pro-choice and didn’t want to be pregnant, it would have been so incredibly easy to convince myself that they were just period symptoms, and my body simply needed a little help to induce my period to start. I’d never have thought to take a pregnancy test, and the idea of a “missed-period pill? Absolutely! My body just needs a little help to get my period going, that’s all.
“Missed-period pills” are incredibly dangerous, both for women and for unborn children, yet most pro-life people have never heard of them. With the clinical trial at the University of California San Francisco set for completion in September of this year, we cannot allow ourselves to be caught flatfooted when these pills hit the market.
Week 5 & 6
As thrilled as I was to be pregnant, I only felt the excitement in my head. The rest of my body felt angry and just plain weird.
That’s the strange thing about early pregnancy; you don’t actually feel the baby or, honestly, anything positive at all. Your first physical associations with pregnancy are wildly negative. I was in abdominal pain, had spontaneous dizzy spells, and experienced frequent waves of nausea. I felt exhausted at 2 pm and was simultaneously constantly starving while absolutely no food sounded appealing. And I lived with a trash can next to me at all times, with more and more time being spent with my head in it than out of it as the days crawled by.
I’m not writing this for your pity. I’m writing this because of the approximately 80 year-old man who declared after one of my speeches two years ago, “Pregnancy isn’t hard! I mean, maybe it’s a little uncomfortable for the last month, but any woman who is complaining about pregnancy needs to put on her big girl pants and deal with it.”
I wasn’t even pregnant yet, and I felt viscerally angry.
Pregnancy is hard. Period.
Does that difficulty justify killing an innocent human? Absolutely not. But pro-life people, please, please realize that minimizing the very real effects of pregnancy on women is not only wildly ignorant but it is severely hurting our movement.
Women can do this. We are strong, and, especially with strong people in our life helping us every step of the way, we absolutely can do this!
But we need those strong people encouraging us along the way. If I didn’t have my husband, if I didn’t have my family, if I didn’t have my friends or literally anyone in my life who was supporting me during my pregnancy, it would have been so easy to let these feelings of sickness drive me to believe that I couldn’t do this. There are days that I cried with my head in the trash can while part of my brain questioned whether or not I could stand weeks and weeks more of this.
Pregnancy is hard. Instead of running from that reality, I believe the pro-life movement must embrace it, saying “yeah, it’s hard—really, really hard—but we’re here to help you.” Reach out to your local pregnancy center. You don’t have to have money to donate; what pregnant women need is that support system. Many pregnancy centers are in desperate need of mentors to walk with pregnant moms and expecting dads. Whether it’s as involved as helping teach a parenting class or as simple as dropping off some groceries or taking her to coffee, you being there as a cheerleader and lending a helping hand will mean more to her than you may ever know.
Week 7 & 8
“Congratulations! You’re having a baby!”
Having. They mean it in the future sense.
Pro-lifers, this is not that hard to figure out. It took me about three seconds on Twitter to find countless examples of pro-lifers trying to prove that because we never say “congratulations, you’re having a fetus,” everyone therefore obviously knows it’s a baby. So abortion is wrong, duh.
I even found a national organization that ran a whole ad campaign based on this idea.
During week seven, my husband and I told our families we were expecting, both because we were thrilled and because it had become impossible to hide my non-stop nausea. While searching for pregnancy announcement ideas, I re-came-across this classic pro-life faulty argument, and it frustrated me to no end.
Remember: when you’re seven weeks pregnant, you have zero positive physical experiences with pregnancy. It in no way feels like there is a tiny human inside of you; it 100% feels like you have the stomach flu, constipation, headaches, low blood sugar, and insomnia all at once. Even if you’re lucky and have basically no symptoms, you still don’t feel the baby. People say “you’re having a baby” because you are, in the future, having a baby, not because they see you as literally, right now, in possession of a baby. Sure, it’s grammatically incorrect, but that’s what they mean.
Of course, I am literally, right now, in possession of a tiny human. I know that, even if it doesn’t feel that way.
But some pro-choice people don’t see it that way, while others recognize the tiny human but don’t see that human as having any moral value (or at least not trumping the woman’s bodily autonomy). When pro-choice people say “you’re having a baby,” they are in no way, shape, or form “admitting” the fact that “obviously everybody already knows” a fetus is a person with the same rights as you and me.
Our job as pro-life advocates is to humanize the unborn. There are helpful ways to do that and ways that do absolutely nothing to advance the pro-life cause. Use your time and your words wisely. I can and do make arguments about the personhood of the unborn that pro-choice people actually find compelling, and you can, too. At no point in my pregnancy will you see me try to argue that, purely because people refer to me as pregnant with a “baby” or “having a baby,” abortion therefore must be wrong. Pro-lifers should be seen as people who think well, who value logic, ethics, science, and equality. Handing pro-choice people in the Twitter comments an easy way to make pro-lifers look stupid—which the people under those comments I screenshotted above did in less time than it took me to write this sentence—is not helping our cause.
Week 9 & 10
I saw my child yesterday.
As I am writing this, the morning after my nine-week ultrasound, I cannot help but have a giant smile on my face.
I’ve heard pro-life advocates for years discuss the power of ultrasounds in causing abortion-minded women to choose life, and I believed them. But now, I really, really believe them.
Seeing an ultrasound in real life is extremely different from seeing one in pictures, even different from seeing my own ultrasound photo in the subsequent days as it hangs on our refrigerator. While my nine-week ultrasound photo above looks like a cross between a blob and a human, the living, moving, being you watch live on the screen in the office is unmistakably human. It wiggles. It’s little heart visibly beats, with tiny flashes on the screen at 174 beats per minute showing us just how much hard work his or her body is doing right now!
It was breathtakingly beautiful.
There’s a reason our Sidewalk Counseling Masterclass teaches that one of the most effective signs you can carry outside of an abortion clinic is “Free Ultrasound, Ask Me How.” Sidewalk counselors from around the country have told us the power of helping women leave the abortion clinic to get a free ultrasound at the local pregnancy center; seeing the tiny life inside of them can change everything.
While the vast majority of pregnancy centers have an ultrasound machine (if your local one doesn’t, help them start a campaign to fix that!), many don’t have enough staff to have the ultrasound machine up and running frequently. I feel even more strongly now that it must be standard operating procedure to get abortion-minded women ultrasounds as soon as humanly possible. I know pregnancy center nurses who’ve come in after hours or dropped everything on a Saturday to give an abortion-minded woman an ultrasound; these nurses are heroes.
I also know a lot of pregnancy center directors thanks to the many pregnancy center banquets I’ve spoken for around the country, and the story is frequently the same: “We want to be open for more hours, but we need more staff, and we really need to hire more nurses.”
Maybe it sounds weird for one non-profit organization to tell you to donate to a different non-profit organization, but that should tell you just how much I believe in their cause. In order to effectively combat disinformation campaigns that pregnancy centers are “fake clinics” that don’t provide trustworthy medical care, we must increase the presence of medical personnel in our centers. Not to mention that I believe providing quality medical care by licensed medical personnel to women should always be our goal, regardless of what the abortion lobby thinks. The unfortunate reality is that, due to economic challenges and the difficulty of finding pro-life medical personnel, it is incredibly difficult for pregnancy centers to reach this goal.
Donate to your local pregnancy center so they can increase or acquire medical staff. If you’re a nurse, consider completing training to perform limited obstetric ultrasounds, and volunteer your time or go take that job at your local pregnancy center!
Week 11 & 12
Point out genuinely virtuous behavior whenever possible.
I announced my pregnancy publicly across all our platforms this week. Thank you to the many, many of you who emailed, texted, commented, and visited me personally at our March for Life booth to say congratulations. I’ve received an overwhelming amount of support, encouragement, and excitement from you all, and it truly made my week!!
I also had the unique experience of announcing my exciting news to an audience who…let’s say isn’t my biggest fan. While the vast majority of viewers of my daily TikToks/Reels are excited about our work here at ERI, including many pro-choice people who thank me for helping them think differently about abortion, it probably isn’t surprising to you that there are some pro-choice people who are less than thrilled with my growing platform for spreading powerful pro-life arguments.
While hundreds upon hundreds of comments on my pregnancy announcement video were along the lines of “CONGRATULATIONS!!!!”, there was one comment in particular that stood out to me from one of those pro-choice people, someone I’ll call “Klaus”.
Without any context, my simple reply “Thanks, Klaus!” probably seems very strange. But Klaus is a known-entity on the ERI TikTok channel—a passionate pro-choice person who comments one, two, sometimes five times on every single video I post. I’ve made many, many TikToks based on Klaus’ pro-choice comments, which are frequently quite snarky. While the latter half of this particular comment is no exception, what caught my attention was the first half. Klaus reached across the aisle the tiniest little bit right there:
“Congrats – genuinely happy for you.”
It would have been incredibly easy to ignore his five nice words, remembering the hundreds of snarky things he’s written in the past, and just scroll on by. Or I could have rolled my eyes at his “seems like you’ve always wanted people to be pregnant” and snapped back “ummm…more like I’ve always wanted people to not kill babies #it’snotthathard”.
At ERI, we teach that you should point out common ground with pro-choice people whenever possible. I believe a second thing: you should also point out genuinely virtuous behavior whenever possible. Even and especially when the person has a history of less-than-virtuous behavior.
So I didn’t scroll on by. I stopped and said thanks.
I didn’t comment on his mischaracterization of my motives or his veiled assertion that being pro-people-getting-to-choose automatically gives you the moral high ground. I just said thanks.
That happened yesterday, so I can’t sit here and tell you that he’s a changed person (he probably isn’t) or that his comments are so much less snarky now (we’ll have to see on that one). But I can tell you that how you treat people matters, and how you model a good standard of dialogue matters. He definitely wasn’t expecting me to reach back across the aisle and thank him, especially given my history of making videos based on his previous comments. I believe that over time, as we treat people who disagree with us well and positively reinforce their virtuous behavior, they will eventually rise to the occasion and treat us well in return.
That’s all for now.
If you’ve made it this far, wow…that was a lot of random musings from my pregnancy brain! Do you have any pregnancy advice? Hot takes? Just leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you.
~ Emily Geiger & Baby Geiger
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The post I’m pregnant: The hot takes and musings of a pregnant pro-life advocate originally appeared at the Equal Rights Institute blog. Subscribe to our email list with the form below and get a FREE gift. Click here to learn more about our pro-life apologetics course, “Equipped for Life: A Fresh Approach to Conversations About Abortion.”