Thursday, April 27, 2006

My Abortion, part 3

I'm a merciful blogger. I can't keep you in suspense for long. Here's where I left you hanging: I'd had a miscarriage, and I was grieving. On top of that, I was feeling all my unresolved guilt and confusion over the abortion I'd had as a teenager.

Basically, my primary activity at that time was wallowing in regret, and hoping desperately that I would get pregnant again, so that I could move on. But month after month, cycle after cycle, it just wasn't happening. (See for yourself, BBT chart enthusiasts, here are mine.) I was sinking.

Then, out of the blue, my very first boyfriend, father of my first pregnancy, called to catch up.

Last time I saw him, he had just purchased a house, moved in with his two sons (twins from a previous marriage) and his girlfriend and her two kids. "We're the Brady Bunch," he had said then, grinning. "It's great."

On the phone ten years later, E~ reported that he was in the same Brady Bunch house, married now, financially successful, and hap-hap-happy as ever. He said that he thought of me frequently, wondered what I was doing, how my life was going. "I want you to know, you will always have a place in my heart." Of course I burst into tears, hearing this. And told him about the miscarriage, and how it brought back feelings about you know what.

He knew what, and didn't hesitate to say so. "I always thought you made the right decision," he stated. "I would've been fine if you had decided to keep it. It's what I wanted. But I would have worried for your happiness. More than anything, I wanted you to be happy." I cried again, hearing this, feeling absolved but also sadder than ever, all the more convinced that E~ would've been a good father, that our child would've been well loved, and that I was living the wrong life. That teenaged me seemed like such a coward.

E~ called me several more times, expressing keen interest in resurrecting a friendship. Maybe it's the spirit of our unborn child bringing us back together, I mused. For healing.

Or else to give us another chance to bring her forth.
This thought caught me off guard.

Though E~ was never inappropriate, and though I wouldn't seriously consider cheating, there was a certain vibe between us that was hard to deny (though I did my best). It made my husband uncomfortable, that's for sure. But hadn't I promised that child that I'd give her another chance to come through? I don't make vows like that lightly.

But as I listened to E~ talk about himself, (on one occasion he went on for a solid ten minutes about his very long hair and how all the women at work admire it) I started thinking that the teenaged me wasn't so off base after all. Perhaps actually, she was brave, knowing I would have to slog through these regrets, but that the alternative would have been at least equally fraught. E~ was a good man, a perfect, doting, sensitive first boyfriend. But as a husband, or even a co-parent, he would've driven me up the wall. And besides, I didn't make wedding vows lightly either. (My husband, on the other hand, broke his vow without a thought of me, I later learned, but that's another story.)

The fact that E~ later got a divorce too is also a moot point. because I began to understand that I would never keep my promise to my unborn child. If I ever had a baby, it would be another being altogether, with another partner. My first pregnancy, my first child, was gone for ever.

I began to accept it.

That's when I had the dream where I found the dead baby. That's when I really started to grieve and heal from the abortion. And that's when I began to entertain the idea of becoming an abortion counselor.

To be continued, of course.


Anonymous said...

I wonder, knowing what you know from experience, have you ever counseled women to reconsider and NOT have an abortion? That they can carry the pregnancy to term and have a baby and be OK? Not perfect, but good? They they are up to the task? Or is every abortion client so sure, so convinced they don't need a first baby or another baby ... Some of the scenarios you presented earlier were pretty dire. But did you ever have a client that could have done well by the baby and themselves in having the child? Just curious. I've been in an abortion waiting room with other women and wondered how many of us were making a mistake.

Amy said...


this is such a good question, thank you. The answer deserves a blog entry of its own. Keep an eye out, because I plan to dedicate one to this. Maybe even the very next entry (I plan to write about being an abortion counselor next anyway).

But for now, the short answer is: yes, sometimes I did counsel women to seriously consider the alternative. I once sent someone home to take another week to think it over, since she was planning to go through with the abortion but didn't seem sure enough of her choice. This is not an uncommon thing for an abortion counselor to do, though it probably doesn't happen in all clinics, and in mine, probably not more than one or two percent of the time). There is a lot more I could (and will) say about this. It wasn't easy.

thanks again for the question

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I wonder how many women are like me. I could NEVER, NEVER, NEVER talk to an ex boyfriend like that. I have a crazy ex who found out where I'm working. There is so much anger that I feel. It's anger over his stalking me. When I think of him I think of his stalking me. I remember bumping into him in the street and having him throw a lighter at my car that would have knocked me out if my window had been rolled down. I remember him slamming me in the face with his fist only to have his relative intervene. I don't know what your relationship with your ex was but usually when a relationship ends I consider it over & flush the toilet never to revisit it.

During this same time he had a friend who seemed to like me but of course not enough to stand up for me and be a man. It's their loss.