I remember exactly when I knew. I was hanging out on the roof sun tanning with my BFF. We were talking about girl stuff, and after we got our bathing suits on, my girlfriend turns to me and says, “you’re pregnant.”
Then, my stomach sunk.
I wouldn’t even say the words to myself, because even though I had to make it real, my mind shied away from it. I am not religious, but I do believe in God. And even though I no longer attended services, I still held a few things sacred. Life, itself, was sacred. Life was precious. It was important and beautiful and perfect.
Since I knew exactly who the father was. There was more than one possibility, and I wasn’t comfortable playing eenie, meenie, minie, mo with something like paternity.
I knew, as soon as I knew about it, what I was going to do. I always knew I thought it was wrong. I also knew I didn’t care, because I wasn’t going to ruin my entire life, and I wasn’t open for the imagined misery this new one might hold.
So, I had an abortion.
The pain was excruciating. This wasn’t normal period cramps. And after the baby was gone, the guilt came over me. It shaped itself to the child I wanted. I know now it wasn’t the right thing to do. And I know now I wouldn’t be where I am today, living an unhappy, empty, guilt, depressive life. I would have never gotten involved with the wrong crowd of people or got addicted to drugs.
I always imagined my baby as a girl. I gave her a name.
A name for something I love. A name for my punishment. I cannot have any children now, because the abortion caused me to have an ectopic pregnancy with my ex-husband and made me infertile. I have always longed for one. I can’t shake the feeling that this child I let go is the reason why. This lack of fertility is my punishment for her. I so desperately want kids. Because of her, my heart tells me, I cannot have them.
This is my religious guilt speaking. This is my tit-for-tat, my holy roller sooner-or-later-gonna-cut-you-down. My heart says that God does not work that way. My head says that maybe He does.
I know I didn’t make the right choice, all those years ago, lonely and alone, but it was too late. I didn’t tell anyone, of course. I did it all by my lonesome. I avoided what could have made me stronger. I also avoided what would have been hard, what would have been different, what would have been something I never would have wanted or asked for. I made the worst choice, but with the best resources I had at the time. It pains me and brings back memories of what could of been every time I walk down the aisles of baby stuff, see a pregnant woman or see a baby.
But I did it. I had an abortion. As painful as it is, I can say the word sometimes, now. Look it in the face. I can mouth it, type it, admit it. But I cannot own it. The tangle is to great. My arms are too empty.