After finding myself unwed and carrying a tiny precious life inside of me at the young age of eighteen, you would think that life would stop seeming so…surprising.
I drank, I danced, I took my son to the park, I laughed with friends, I relaxed to the sound of my music releasing every possible emotion I could force it to express.
Then, at twenty-one years old, I found myself pregnant again. Something that not many people know. At this point in my life, I was very much alone and very much scared. Walking through a heart wrenching divorce and trying desperately to create a joyful life for myself, I found myself terrified. What would I do with another baby? How would I maintain the very minimal lifestyle I already had? I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.
I was drowning. And I was running.
And, as I ran and drowned, I would hit potholes and brickwalls. Until, one very somber day, I concluded that the life inside of me was going to ruin the life outside of me.
So I ended it.
And I felt relief…
…for a few weeks. But then, like relief does, it began to change into worry.
Because WHAT IF…
And here’s the thing, world. No matter what side of the fence you stand, your answer can be nothing more than…’who know’s’.
But I know this…
I know that today, the day when I saw my third child’s heart beat for the first time, I wouldn’t be stricken with an unbearable sadness. I wouldn’t be feeling the weight of stopping another heart from beating. I wouldn’t.
And who knows, maybe my life would be worse, maybe it would be better. But what I did, I can never undo. It will never have not happened. It will never become just a terrible dream. For as long as I live, the decision I made, will be a very real part of my past. A part that breaks my heart. That tears at the inside of my lungs making it hard to breathe.
I’ve not ever been one to openly discuss this sort of thing. Ugly things. Things that make me look…human.
But these tears that stream down my face as I write this, are tears that were designed to fall.
I will not try to change your stance on women’s rights. You and I can agree to disagree. What I do know is that, today, the life that I so carelessly regarded as a mistake, is very real. And as I continue to weep, I know that I will not ever…could not ever…regret anything as much as I regret that horrible day.
And maybe someone out there will see this. And think a couple extra minutes. And perhaps it won’t change their decision. But it will be here when they are crying later in life. I will be here. Always remembering that day that won’t become a dream.
My goal in writing this is simply to provide perspective. For the girl contemplating. The woman regretting. The picketers protesting. The public voting.
What you think you know about ‘her’ situation is simply an implication formulated in your own mind. Unless you have walked it out, you cannot pretend to understand the confusion or devastation that many women feel after having an abortion. Mine was not an easy decision. I didn’t walk into that clinic with a smile on my face. I walked in, walked out, and remain to this day crying my heart out.
If you have found your heart hardened toward women who have had abortion, please remember that, for many, they bear the weight. If you find yourself supporting a woman’s right to decide, remember that with every story of empowerment through abortion, there is a story about grief through abortion. If you find yourself hurting because you’ve walked this out, know that there are women out here who mourn with you. Know that there is a community. If you are making a decision today – if you are preparing to go in tomorrow morning and carry out an abortion – I’m not going to beg you not to. i’m just going to tell you that FOR ME…it is my largest and most deeply felt regret.
So – from today on, when you enter into a discussion about women rights, please remember that there are real women, real stories, real pains that are hanging in the balance. Abortion isn’t just a word.