Submitted by: Alli
I keep reminding myself, like all the counselors do, that we did the best thing for you, that if we had to go back in time we’d still make the same choice. That our one-bedroom loft apartment in San Francisco, a dad who lost his job in the middle of a pandemic, and a mom supporting everyone on her very average income would be a terrible first home. That your mom’s Asian side of the family, and all their friends, would never stop gossiping about you coming from an unmarried couple if they knew you existed — oh, how the whispers and raised eyebrows would follow you into your teens! That if we just waited a few years, like we had planned anyway, we’d be able to give you far more than we could give now, your own room in a house, and lots of time with your married mom and dad. The decision to say goodbye was never hard or in question for us, but it is easily the worst thing I have ever had to do.
See, you made things so easy for your mom that a little part of me wonders what if we could’ve made it work? I didn’t even find out about you till 12 weeks. You never once made me nauseous, despite me drinking for three months with you inside. You never made me dizzy, or achy, or tired. When I went to the OB, you were doing all the right things, perfectly healthy, heart beating zoom-zoom-zoom. You were the pregnancy that moms everywhere dream of, and there is no way I deserved an angel like you.
Maybe you wouldn’t have asked for all the things we thought you’d want. Maybe you would be strong from building a life alongside your parents, instead of basking blissfully in the result years later. Maybe you’re such a fighter, beating all the odds of birth control and my crazy cycles and drinking, that you’d be an Olympic athlete or the next president. I know I would’ve found a way to fight for you, but then I remember you deserve a whole family who’s ready to fight too.
Your dad always says you’ll come back to us in a few years. He held me as I cried and rubbed you every night for a week, thinking about what was to come, how I wished we’d found out sooner. My whole life, the only thing I’ve known for sure is that I want to be a mom, and this wasn’t how I’d imagined it starting off.
When I asked the clinic nurse if you’d be able to feel anything, she didn’t respond at first. She hesitated, she faltered, and she had the saddest look in her eyes. And she scraped together a “well, it’s not considered a person at 12 weeks, scientifically speaking–” before I couldn’t hold back the tears. She teared up with me. I whispered “sorry” to you all afternoon.
When it finally was over, when you’d moved on and I woke up from the sedation, I knew we had done the right thing. But I will never forget the two hours before they gave us the fentanyl, sitting with you in the clinic, feeling the misoprostol kick in without any painkillers or your dad around. I imagined you crying out “What did I do wrong? I don’t understand, this hurts. Are you hurting too?” It was the worst pain of my life, I was begging for drugs by the end, barely able to stand or talk, at the same time feeling like I deserved even more pain, the whole while tortured by the thought of your disappointment.
I’ve been all for reproductive rights my entire life, and still am. But making a choice, even the right choice, can still hurt like nothing else. I’m sorry, little one, and I hope when we meet again you’ll find it in your golden heart to understand that we did the best with the knowledge we had.