Apparently, today is Sanctity of Life Sunday or something. I don’t know if I ever knew there was such a thing.
I have acquaintances who frequently post rather graphic images, videos, and quotes on social media about pro-life and anti-abortion and special needs kids (who deserve life – doctors recommend terminating pregnancies if tests reveal a disorder). I’m sure they mean well as their results show, with lots of comments and likes showing agreement.
I have friends who wear pro-life T-shirts and probably feel like they’re changing lives with the messages written across their hearts. And maybe they are.
At women’s conferences, pro-life orgs proudly set up tables amidst the charities, Etsy shop vomit, and various vendor alley.
And what they do is well and good, I’m sure.
But aren’t they preaching to the choir?
I smile when they spout self-righteousness, but the smile doesn’t reach my eyes.
Because they don’t know.
They don’t realize how they’re turning that knife and carving out pieces of my soul with every word.
I’ve read various heart-wrenching stories of teen girls being coerced into an abortion by their families, their church, their culture.
I could’ve been that girl too.
But I was twenty-two.
Too old to use the excuse of “she didn’t know any better.”
And I was married.
This is proof that you never know what someone is going through or has been through.
Don’t judge until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes.
So many excuses could’ve been laid out there. The devil loves excuses.
I read all these fabulous adoption stories and something wrenches inside me. My baby could’ve lived and had a loving home. Maybe I could redeem the whole ordeal by adopting a baby. I’m horrified by women experiencing infertility and I long to comfort them somehow, some way, but who am I?
But that’s not the answer.
There was no coercion. I was simply dead inside and followed to my doom. Sure, there were oodles of options. I even filled out a form for whatever state aid was available to me. I had planned to have that baby. No insurance. Separated from my husband. No hope. Lost.
I turned to the parents – who should have protected me and my child, who are supposed to know what’s best.
When I blindly trusted and obeyed, I should have rebelled and run away, far away, even if it had been to have my child in secret squalor, in love.
My parents led us like lambs to slaughter.
But it was my choice.
The worst, wrongest decision.
So, for the good and juicy? Because that’s why you’re here.
I can’t bear to relive the details, much less type them out here.
It sure wasn’t glamorous.
I still remember the smell of the clinic. I expected to see picketers outside like I’d seen on the news. The nurse showed me an ultrasound of my seven-week old child and made sure I realized there was a heartbeat on that monitor. It was the law.
I turned away from the flickering image, sick in body and soul.
And then I did the unthinkable.
I was put to sleep while they sucked that precious little life out of me.
That heartbeat stopped.
Recovery felt like a dream, a void, a time lapse. Had I just been to the dentist or something?
I pushed the experience away, to the depths of my being, to not be remembered.
The shame. The blame. The soul-sickness.
It wasn’t spoken aloud. When I tried to express something, once, I was hushed with a harsh word and a harsher expression. So, I clammed up and moved on. It’s never been spoken.
I thought my mother would understand my loss, my pain, my hopelessness.
Perhaps it was hers too, but she didn’t know how to cope or comfort.
I realize now that I’ve never even really grieved. It is a nameless, sexless child. A nonbeing.
People seldom ask questions. I occasionally fill out forms where I have to write in how many pregnancies – how many to term and how many not, and I pause in pain over those.
I don’t feel forgiven because I can’t ever forgive myself.
I am still amazed that God has blessed me with four perfect children.
I expected punishment. I don’t deserve those perfect children and I live in constant fear that they will be taken away, like I’m living in some dream of what could be, should be, an alternate reality – and because I didn’t appreciate nor protect that one innocent life, I will eventually awake and realize my punishment of childlessness.
This is my self-inflicted tragedy and I don’t expect anyone to understand it. Sure, you can quote Bible verses and suggest studies to set me free, but perhaps I’m still not ready. There’s that gaping hole that nothing can fill.
People can scream on both sides of the political issue and that’s fine. I hope and pray that those who feel so self-righteous about a woman’s body, her child, her choices…never have to face that decision.
There is no black and white. No absolute right or wrong. It’s not all only pro-choice or pro-life. There are third and fourth and fifth options. Infinite options.
There are always options.
Find an option you don’t have to apologize to yourself every day for.
The day of infamy.
When azaleas bloom and the world awakes to a new beginniing.
One life went to sleep.