The A Word
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
By: Janis E.
Have you ever heard of the saying, ‘some things are easier said than done’? Well, this portion of my life is quite the opposite, it was easier done than said. The strange part about flipping that saying is that actions speak louder than words, and those actions are the ones that haunt us the most.
As long as I can remember, I always imagined how I’d be as a mother. The fun games I’d play, the projects I would assist with, and the cooking I would be so happy to share. I couldn’t wait till the day I was able to carry my own baby and feel their kicks through my belly. I never thought that that day would come, until it did.
I remember finding out I was pregnant. My menstruation was a week late and I didn’t know why. I had been involved with a guy I was talking to for some time. But it was too soon. It had only been five months, and I had recently found out that he had a four-year-old son. I was scared and nervous. I messed up. No, we both messed up.
After seeing how loving my partner was with his child, I figured it would be ok. When I finally spoke to him about the situation, I was surprised to hear the discontent tone in his voice. Anger and disappointment followed right after. I was confused, but he made it very clear that he didn’t want to have another child. He said some hurtful things, one of which had stuck with me for a very long time. “If you keep it, I will hate you!”
How can someone so caring be so cruel? That said a lot about him. He had a lot to learn about how to carry himself in tough situations. A taste of how men can be when things don’t go their way. But this wasn’t about him or his words, it was about me.
At that moment, I had made up my mind. I didn’t need him. I didn’t want him. I had myself, my family, and my baby. But there was something in what he said that made me feel worthless. There was something in his tone that made me realize I meant nothing to him. I was just another problem.
I gathered my belongings to leave, but before I could step out of the door, he stopped me.
He apologized profusely. His words were that of a coward, weak and ruthless, he admitted. But even with his sincere apology, he made it very clear that he wasn’t ready for another baby. Financially, we both weren't ready.
As my morning sickness began to kick in, and my day to day life started changing. It was then that I started to realize--wait! Am I ready for this? I don’t have the finances. I wanted more. I haven’t even followed my dreams yet. How can I raise a child when I still haven’t learned how to take care of myself?
For a couple of weeks, I weighed out the pros and cons about what would change; my freedom, my dreams, my life goals, my life in general. Everything would change. My life would no longer be about me. And I know that to many people that sounds very selfish. But is it?
I was just 24. I was still learning about myself, learning to love myself and learning how to be more independent. I still had time to grow and to follow my dreams. But my love for kids and my love for starting a family was holding me back. I had to make a choice, for me.
For a while the words that my partner had thrown at me as a weapon, the ultimatum, lingered in my mind. Hate is a strong word for a woman that could potentially be the mother of his child. I wasn’t scared of having a baby, he was. He wasn’t ready to be responsible for another human. And unfortunately, there was a little truth in that for me as well. I wasn’t ready.
I was scared to have a baby and fail in my dreams, fail as a mother. I didn’t want to take the chance of having a baby, and feeling like they would deprived me of my dreams. But it wasn’t the baby’s fault. I was being selfish! A baby to me would mean love, nurturing, teaching, and healing. All of which already comes so naturally to me. I was ready. I was going to keep the baby.
Another week or two passed by and I started having a hard time even staying at work an entire day. The nausea, the exhaustion, the breast pain, the throwing up--it was all too much. Even the smells drove me crazy. I had missed too many days of work. When I finally got my paycheck for those days, I realized that I had to make sacrifices. Money was going to be a big thing.
I wasn’t where I wanted to be financially. I had a plan, and this wasn’t my plan. I cried and I cried. Every night I cried myself to sleep. And after some hard thinking, I made up my mind. My partner supported me in my decision.
Even with all his support, I still felt alone. I felt alone all along. One good time for a lifetime of regret. I never imagined how my life would change. And it would be all because of our mistake, my decision. This was a bond between my baby and me, something I was giving up for selfish reasons.
On the day of the procedure I went to the clinic with my partner not feeling like myself. I was sad, scared, nervous, mad, regretful, thankful, but most of all-- I felt empty. Numb.
The nurse had done an ultrasound on me, and that was the first time I saw my baby. It was then that it hit me. That was my baby, my life. I wanted to run. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I betrayed my baby. I chose myself over my baby.
I felt guilty. I felt worthless. I was empty.
After taking the pill, there was no turning back. The pill would stop any growth of the fetus and that was it. The second pill was to flush everything out.
This was the most painful decision I could have ever made, physically. But not as painful as it was tormenting. Mentally, I became weaker, and emotionally, I was a mess.
No one ever talks about how they made their choice to get an abortion. No one ever talks about how hard it is. How painful it is. How it affects us. It’s never easy.
The abortion was painful. I started getting cramps that felt like I could have been in labor. I was on the toilet bleeding, throwing up, and had diarrhea all at the same time. It was not a pretty sight. I was sweating and shaking. I almost fainted while sitting on the toilet and no one could save me from the pain I felt. No matter how much I cried and moaned in pain, no one could make this go away.
I somehow got into the shower, alone. I sat on the floor and watched the blood go down the drain. And then I felt something different come out of me. And there he or she was--floating away.
This was the hardest part of the entire process. I never imagined I would actually see them. I picked up the fetus, my baby. They were so tiny. Transparent with tiny little fingers and little feet, and two black dots growing to be their eyes.
I held my baby in my palm and held them close to my heart. I cried. I apologized. I cried more and more and more.
I regretted it, but it was too late.
The physical pain was gone, but now replaced by this empty void in my heart.
We all have a choice, and no choice is ever easy. After the abortion, nothing anyone ever said or did was good enough to replace this empty feeling in my heart. Nothing made it ok or reasonably moral.
For two whole years I struggled to feel like myself again. Everything made me cry. Seeing my nieces, seeing my friends having kids, seeing my partner being loving with his first child. Everything made me hurt.
After some time, I remembered that I made a choice because I wanted to focus on my dreams. I wanted to be a better version of myself before I could teach a little one to be a better version of themselves.
In my heart, I know where my baby stands. In my thoughts, I know the value of the sacrifice. I made a choice, and whether it was the right choice or not, there are no take backs. My partner bought me a stuffed dragon in honor of our little angel. I know we will meet again.
When mommy is stronger, more loving, more nurturing, and wiser--we will meet again.