Submitted by: EmilyKim
I still remember that day
The day I gave a life away.
I wanted to protect this life, or this potential of life
But the reasons to let go were too strong
A husband just diagnosed with leukemia
Counting the days before he started chemo
And an eight year old daughter who was long past asking for a sibling,
All she really wanted was to have the two of us
All to herself.
I had images of myself, crouching on the ground
Surrounding this unborn life with my arms and my body
Protecting it from the two people closest to me
I felt such a responsibility, such strength
To think that a woman can house the potential for a whole new person.
It was hard.
Week 5 and 6, I swayed back and forth like a pendulum
One day I was strong enough to go through with the pregnancy
The next day I was strong enough to go through with abortion.
Week 7, I had a long heart to heart
With my husband
The person I had known and loved as a friend then as a wife for now 20 years of my life
He had lost his first wife to cancer
A year after being married to her
He had almost lost me from suddenly low blood pressure
In the minutes before I had to go through a crash c-section to deliver a baby
Whose heart rate was undetectable for minutes before she was born
Even eight years later, those stressful minutes had not left him.
I told him that even I hadn’t planned for this
Even I did not want to go through the risks of another pregnancy
But what about this life, or this potential of life?
Would I ever forgive myself for backing out from this responsibility
Of allowing a life to live inside me?
He asked me to please not take the blame for it
He asked me to let him take all the blame for it
All he wanted was to preserve our family of 3 as much as he could.
Each day of week 7 I woke up in the morning
And asked him – do you still want an abortion
And each day the answer was the same
I convinced myself in week 7
That the decision I was making
Involved choosing one life over another
I was choosing the life of a living breathing person whom I’d known and respected for 20 years.
He needs me – he really needs all of me
Not a pregnant version of me struggling to get through a high risk pregnancy.
My eight year old needs all of me too
Not a new mom version of me who is sleep-deprived and possibly going through a round of postpartum depression
And certainly not a version of me that is taking trips to a NICU to manage a premie baby that I had a high risk of having
At the end of Week 7, I had all the pills I needed with me
I lay down in my bed, painkillers on board
Watched my childhood favorite episodes of Bewitched
As I felt the medications go through my system
Feeling grateful to my OB for giving me all the meds I needed
To make it a pain free experience.
The next day I cried – the one and only time I cried about this so far
I cried loud, without any words to express
The sudden emptiness I felt inside
The life that was forming in my for 7 weeks
In the days after, I felt good
How could I miss the nausea and fatigue
It felt so good to be normal again
It felt good to take on all the things I was taking on at home
Before my pregnancy symptoms had kicked in.
There are triggers for sure.
Someone warned me about that.
Seeing a pregnant woman.
Watching siblings play with each other.
Being around newborn babies.
Hearing stories of women who gracefully got through pregnancy in more difficult situations.
Little reminders of what could have been.
It still hurts sometimes.
But time is a healing force.
I remind myself, when have I ever made a decision in life
And then not regretted letting go of the alternative?
I remind myself,
How much I love my daughter and my husband, and even my job which involves caring for people
And how much it means to me to get to be there for all these people
Just because of this choice that I made.
I made a choice of being strong and go through abortion.
How sad it is that many women don’t even get the option of making such a choice.
I want to continue to be strong
And remind myself of all the reasons why I did it
And perhaps even be strong and help
Other women who find themselves in their own difficult situations
Who need to make such difficult choices.
One month later, I’m even getting closer to admitting
That going through an abortion
Has made me a better person.
I no longer judge decisions that are different from what I may have decided.
I no longer see things in isolation
Or as black and white.
There are many many shades of grey.
Here’s to each woman, who is sorting through
All the shades of grey
And making the best decision for herself, her body, and her life.
Sending out lots of love, respect, and empathy to you! Be strong!