As a child I was quite the 'girly' girl. I played with dolls, lived in pretty dresses and adored makeup. Even at a young age I was tapped into my womanhood. I knew exactly the type of woman I would be, the kind that studied law and went on to be a stylish but intelligent criminal defense attorney. I would live in a cute and spacious one bedroom and drive an affordable car until I gifted myself with a more luxurious one upon law school graduation. My counterpart would be equally educated and ambitious. We would be great together, almost perfect. Eventually the relationship would grow and we would make more of a commitment to each other, living together, sharing bank accounts and planning our future.
This nearly perfect picture just didn’t include one thing: children. I never saw a future that included children. I'm not sure when it happened, but as far back as I can recall I have never seen myself as a mother. My sister and I would play with our dolls and pretend house. However, I could never relate to the mother role. I understood what being a mother meant; the enormity of it was overwhelming to me. I believe it was that understanding that made it so I had no wish for having a child of my own. I'm not sure if it's the weight of being responsible for another life or the amount of work involved, or maybe I just didn't have the maternal instinct I've heard about so often. I simply did not want to be a mother--until my abortion.
Not all aspects of my dream life happened exactly the way I envisioned it. I graduated college, yes, but never made it to law school. I had a great job and a very active social life and for the most part my life was seemingly good. The part of my life that ended up being different from my expectations was my relationship with men. I won't rehash the long list of “he should have been the one, he could have been the one, or he would have been the one... if”. We would be here for a very, very long time. Let’s just say I haven’t really met the “one”. However, there was one who got closer than any other. So close in fact, the whole experience has altered me forever.
It was wonderful in the beginning. There was love and laughter. We progressed along quite seamlessly and very naturally. Almost two years later, we went away on a trip to celebrate my birthday. There was a gorgeous hotel, wine tasting, a Jacuzzi and amazing warm weather. All the fixings for the perfect romantic weekend. It was bliss! And then a month later it became hell. I was pregnant and my world came crashing down. Me? Pregnant? I was blown away.
I was so stunned and confused that I told myself over and over again there has to be some kind of mistake. But no mistake about it, I was with child. I cried and cried, and when I thought I had no more tears, I cried some more. From the start of our relationship he and I discussed having children and I knew he, very much like myself, did not want anything to do with kids or becoming a parent. Telling him was incredible hard but dealing with his reaction was so much harder. His lips started to move but as he spoke it felt like a fog had come over us and it was hard to see or hear. I only heard the word abortion. It rolled around in my head, over and over like dice hitting the table. When it finally stopped I realized that was just the beginning. In not so many words he told me the relationship would be over if I kept the pregnancy. Conflicted, panic-stricken and scared could not sufficiently described how I felt. There were so many emotions I felt all at once that it consumed me. I didn’t want children but I didn’t want to get an abortion. I didn’t want my relationship to end but I didn’t want to be a single mother.
I would be a single mother if I decided to keep the being growing inside of me. Another life I never wanted or envisioned for myself. So abortion should have been the 'easier' choice to make. Instead, it was the most difficult decision I ever had to make. Abortion has never been a consideration or option for me. All my life I've been told that you should go after the things in life that will make you the happiest. Going through with an abortion definitely didn’t evoke happiness, but neither did being a single mother.
Then there is the fact that I grew up in a single parent home. I know firsthand what it feels like to not have both parents. There always seems to be a part of you missing and I didn't want that for my own child. Also, how could I have a child for a man who would abandon me so quickly? If he truly loved me we would make it work, right? Isn’t that what love is about?
So I made the appointment. He came with me, I guess to ensure I actually followed through with it. I hated him like I never hated any one thing or person in this life or the next. Afterwards, I pulled myself together enough to make it through the days, weeks, and months of waking up everyday and pretending to be okay. I wasn’t okay but no one really knew for I had perfected the art of masking. I masked away the pain I felt from ending the relationship. I masked the new feeling of emptiness and loneliness I felt. Then I started to mask the urges. I went through a roller coaster of emotions and when I got off I was hit with the realization that I'd changed. There was suddenly a hole, gaping and wide inside of me.
Something had shifted and now baby was an enormous neon sign that I could see everywhere. I wanted a baby, or so I was beginning to feel. How could that be possible? But those urges I felt were soothed each time I saw or touched a baby. I would look at pregnant women with new-found curiosity. It did not make sense. I dare not speak what I was feeling aloud, not even to myself. I couldn’t explain the pendulum that swung back and forth between the old version of myself and this newer, strange model. I don’t regret my decision to terminate my pregnancy. The choice in the end was the best choice for me. However, this inexplicable and quite startling new perspective on motherhood was insightful. In life you learn and evolve from your experiences; it’s how you see aspects of yourself that may have not been visible before. In a flash, your strengths, your weakness, your potential, and your desires can change from one thing to the next. My abortion did that for me. It tore me completely open and left me painfully raw. But what I was left with once I healed was a shiny, new reintroduction to myself.
I’m not sure if I will ever be a mother but I've ascertained that in order to move on you may need to first understand why you felt the way you did. It was a painful lesson but my abortion made me realize that not wanting to be a mother was wrapped in fear and doubt. I’m no longer afraid.