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Selective Reduction: "I Didn't Want Twins"


[WARNING: The Elle article in question may be too graphic for some readers.]

In an article in Elle, Bettina Paige candidly shares her story of deciding to abort one fetus after discovering she is pregnant with twins via fertility treatments. She's brutally honest about the guilty feelings surrounding her decision, admitting that maybe it was "more accurate to say that we didn't want to handle twins, rather than we couldn't."

Selective reduction refers to the abortion of one or more fetuses in a multiple pregnancy. Sometimes pregnant women have a reduction for medical reasons; Paige reports that reducing from three babies to two may improve the chances for healthy babies and lessen the chance of premature births and other complications. In this case, however, Paige reduced for personal reasons. With a three-year-old at home, and money already tight, she felt she could not handle twins.

"I knew that we didn't have the energy, the patience, or the fortitude to juggle two infants in addition to our son. As it was, I sometimes felt like a superhero, and my husband and I fought over sharing the responsibilities of one child. Even in the best of times we struggled not to bark out demands and to keep from seeing the other as the enemy. But struggle we did, because the life we'd made -- our marriage, our community of friends, and especially our son -- seemed worth the effort. I seriously doubted that this fragile equilibrium could withstand the stress of three young children. And as much as I wished the situation were different, it wasn't. I know it sounds selfish, but I wanted to protect the well-being of the people already in my life -- my son, my husband, and, yes, myself."

Her doctor told her not to tell anybody, since even people who are pro-choice aren't necessarily sympathetic, viewing selective reduction as a whole different matter. However, she decided to write about her experience in a national magazine.

Read Page's story, and tell us what you think. What would you do if you discovered you were pregnant with more kids than you reasonably thought you could handle?