It’s almost midnight and I am sitting in the bathroom wringing my hands and wiping away tears. I am waiting to see if my life is going to change or if I am going to keep on living the way I have been these last few months, wild and free, unstoppable and feeling undestructable. When the timer goes off, I almost fall off the toilet from fear. I pick up my home test with shaking hands and look, but I cannot see; my brain won’t let the reality of it sink in. I keep looking, but I am rejecting it. The color my brain denies is the haunting color of blue. I am willing that color to change, but it stubbornly refuses to turn pink. Blue: there it is, my life will surely not go on the way I have planned. I am barely sixteen years old and I am pregnant. Worse yet, I just ended my relationship with my boyfriend and have my eyes on another. My mind starts to yell, “What ya gonna do now…what ya gonna do now?” “Shut up!” I scream at myself, “I don’t know what I am going to do!” All I can do now is hide the test, go to bed, and pray. Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a heart for the Lord. Tonight, I need answers and I pray, I beg, and I plead, but all the response is the condemning silence. I roll over, feeling that God is mad at me for this stupid mistake. I lay my hand gently on my tummy, give it a soft pat, and smile at the knowledge of the little life inside of me. At the break of dawn, my weary mind finally tires of fighting against itself and sleep closes my eyes. I awake late in the afternoon and I sneak out of bed, trying not to face anyone. I am terrified that my words may betray me. I walk past my sister and mother with my head down, avoiding eyes and conversation. My mother is smarter than I give her credit for and she has this magical radar that picks up anything at any moment. It is hard to avoid her antennas of perception that are constantly bouncing in my direction. “Honey, have you started your period yet?” (She always keeps track of these embarrassing milestones in my life.) “Yeah mom, last week.” It is too easy to lie and I’m feeling guilty. My mothers radar is still bouncing off of me and she will not shut it off completely. Something is stirring and she knows it. Mom goes into the bathroom and unwraps all my kotex pads in the waste basket. They give me up as the criminal I feel like, because of their cleanliness. Some how, I thought I was clever in my ripe old age of sixteen! She comes out of the bathroom, her face is pale white with a sick expression, like she just got hit in the belly by a professional boxer. As she looks at me, I break down crying, feeling my shame envelope me. My mom is in shock but she still takes me into her arms and I sob, “I’m so sorry, mommy.” After our initial shock and tears,we sit down with dad, which is harder than telling my mom. After all, I am daddy’s little girl, his princess, as he calls me. I do not feel like a princess at the moment, but rather like one of her ragged servants. I fight for this baby, because I want to feel this child grow and I want to give her life. But at sixteen, my life is not my own as I find out. I will not have this child, after all, it is not a baby yet, it is just a little piece of tissue and some cells, so I am told. When your sixteen, pregnant, scared, and are used to adults making all of your decisions, it is hard not to believe them so I put my total trust and life into their hands. I handed over my life and the life of my child. Calls are made, appointments are set up with decisions made in a whirlwind of two days. I do not have much time left with this baby, I have to say goodbye soon. I am up almost all night before my little “problem” gets fixed and I write a letter to her ( I feel that it is a girl) explaining why I cannot keep her and saying my goodbyes. I cry all night, patting and rubbing my tummy, talking to a child who cannot and who will never hear my voice. The morning rushes in quickly and even though the sun is shining, there is a dark, stormy cloud over me and it is pouring on my emotions. I refuse to get up! My parents have no sympathy for me on this bright, beautiful day, there is a job to be done, a problem to be taken care of, a life to end. We drive for an hour in silence with long, sad faces, each of us seem lost in thoughts of, “What if, maybe we can, and should we.” I remember looking out the window of the car all the way up to Chicago with my hand on my tummy, gently rubbing it, watching people on the outside going on with their lives. The life of my baby will soon come to an end and no one will ever know of even care. We arrive all too soon and we walk the two windy blocks to the women’s clinic. There is a protest going on today in front of this building. Angry women and men with big, accusing signs shouting in protest against abortion and the murder of children. We have to walk straight through that mob to get in. My mother wraps her arms around me tightly as we quickly walk up the sidewalk. The protesters see us coming and they know what we are about to do. They surround us and yell their angry words. I keep my head down and avoid all eyes. I do not want to be there, I am on their side, I agree with them, but I am in my mothers grip and I have to go forward. One angry woman steps in front of us and starts to yell, ” do you know that you are going to kill a baby?!” I want so badly to stop & talk to her, I look her in the eyes and she seems to see the hurt and desperation in my face. She gives me a look of pity and understanding and steps aside. The others are not so kind or merciful.
The inside of this clinic was cold and uninviting. Nurses were rushing about. Young men had long sad faces, full of worry and guilt. There were parents fitfully pacing the floors, waiting, suffering in silence. It was a place where new life walked in and was then tricked into death. I was forced to see a counselor before my “procedure” and I poured out my fears, hopes and dreams for keeping this baby and giving her life, but she has heard this sob story a million times and some where in her heart, it all became just words, not real people. She politely nodded her head and then sent me on my way. That walk down the lonely hallway was cold, bare and uncaring, I could almost hear the faint cries of newborns bouncing off the walls pleading for a different way!
As I was placed on that hard cold metal table, the doctor who has made a life out of taking it, seems tired and irritable, rushing to get this little problem out of the way. He is very matter of fact, not really looking at me, but rather through me. He hurriedly explains what he is doing as he has a thousand times before, ” a little cold, some cramping, over in a minute”. Just like that…..over…done…gone…no more. As he turns on his machine of death, I break down and cry, “Goodbye my little one, do not be scared, I love you!” The young nurse who did not look much older than myself, took my hand and held it as she wiped away my tears, it was the only kind thing that happened to me that day. I feel like the hardness of that environment had not yet penetrated her heart. In the recovery room or should I say the grieving room, was another young girl my age who had just gone through her own little procedure. Her story was a lot like mine ,but her father was a big politician with a nice career ahead of him and having a pregnant teenage daughter was out of the question. So here she was, getting fixed for daddy. We cried together.
In one short day I had a new life inside of me, full of promise and who wanted to live as we all do, yet she was taken away in a matter of seconds because having her would have been inconvenient for a few people. So she was sent to live her life with Jesus and just knowing that my daughter is with God makes the pain bearable. I shall meet her some day and will finally become her mommy. I often wonder what kind of woman and mother she would have been ,and I have thought about her every week for the last 31 years. She is my child & I am her mother and nothing can ever change that fact.
NOBODY ever gets over an abortion, I know, it has been over 30 years and I still think about her & I ask the Lord on a weekly basis to give her a hug from mommy.
I know that much of the time we focus so much on the act of abortion itself that we look past the person who made the decision to do it & throw our fingers in their face. When my mother & I had to walk through that angry mob, no one tried to speak kindly to us or offer us an option. They surrounded us like hungry lions out for the kill, screaming at us with their big ‘holy’ signs! I remember when we left the building hours later, the mob was gone, no one was there to help the young ladies with their pain. I cried all the way down those steps, my mom & dad were helping me to stay on my feet as the guilt & pain came out in sobs. That mob of accusing people left a bad taste in my mouth about Christan’s for a long time until the Lord took/touched my heart for His Glory about 12 years ago. He has set me free from the guilt & pain of that day, but my arms & heart still ache for a daughter that I am looking forward to meeting in Heaven some day.
So this is/was my ‘reproductive rights’….a child is gone & I still live with it.