Warning…many will take offense. Some will hate me. Or pretend they do not know me anymore. Some will even pity me…
That is THEIR choice.
It was about ninety degrees on June 1, 1991. It felt like 110 in the shade as I lay on the steaming hot pavement in my own vomit…retching. Sobbing.
I will never forget this day…ever.
It was a few weeks before I was barely about to graduate high school. I had just fooled them all at my senior prom. I could have kept up the facade for a little longer…but I didn’t have a choice, I was told this was the only way out…
As an adult now, I realize I did have a choice.
But when you run away from home, or get kicked out and are reliant on others…you feel like you have no choice.
I woke up on the table after being sedated, in the midst of it all…the loud noise, the lights, the people hovering over me.
I believe that is the moment that haunts me the most…waking, even groggy still from sedation, knowing what was happening. More so than the cowardly way I slumped in my chair in the waiting room before it began…wondering if the others were feeling the same way as me.
I cried myself to sleep in the back of the car, begging for fresh air to cool my face, covered in dried vomit and tears.
Somehow I managed to make it to my bed, and awakened hours later…pain so bad I could tear my own heart out…not physical pain so much, but because it was my heart that was aching…
And the empty feeling in my belly. I clawed at my stomach screaming to make this madness stop. To undo what had happened.
Next thing, I am given a Valium…out cold again.
I was in a dark place mentally back then…before this all happened.
It was literally my first time…and then I was pregnant. A senior in high school. An aspiring fashion designer. A child who just wanted her divorced parents’ love and for them to stop fighting.
Well, this got their attention alright. They found out a while later…they shed no tears for me…just more anger and pain. I was ashamed. I kept my story to myself… I was absolved of my sin by a priest after my family found out. Time to forget it forever…put it behind me.
I live with this every second of every day.
I couldn’t put it behind me. Even as life moved on.
But in no way shape or form, did life fill the void in my belly...in my heart.
Did I want a child at eighteen? No…I had no clue what I would have done. But there is not one day since June 1, 1991 that I do not think of him…I know in my heart it was a boy.
I swore God would never allow me to be happy again…my Catholic guilt growing larger everyday.
God was good enough to let me heal enough to graduate and temporarily mend things with my family…but I knew that he would punish me. The little girl in me said I would never be a mommy because of what I did that day.
Almost five years later, I was granted a gift. After almost losing my baby and my life during my pregnancy, God gave us a beautiful baby girl…I lost an ovary through it all, but I felt like I had truly been absolved…that there was a God and that I had to suffer a little to finally appreciate what I had.
And I did. Life was challenging then, but I had this beautiful baby and thought I would never have any more after losing an ovary and all that my body went through to deliver her safely. And yet I was given a second chance…
I had to embrace it.
Three more amazingly beautiful children later and almost nineteen years of a happy marriage with a husband who has heard this all and held me as I cried over and over, and I feel like God forgave me…but why am I still not forgiving myself? Is it that Catholic guilt or shame? Or simply because it truly wasn’t my choice?
I cringe everytime I read an article on this topic. I cry. I mourn. I had a choice. Maybe I made the wrong one, but my life would be very different today if I had fought back and said to them that I had a choice in the matter.
He didn’t love me…and I didn’t love him.
Yes I was a fool…but I was just looking for love after years of being lost and made a terrible mistake.
I will never tell anyone to rid the world of abortion… There. I said it.
It is an ugly word. Our world has made it ugly.
But what about that girl who is raped or molested?
What about the girl like me?
What would I have done?
I would have been sent packing to live on the streets pregnant and alone…fearful of what my very catholic family would say…or maybe worse…maybe I would have killed myself or attempted to from the deep depression and shame that was setting in.
Or maybe turn to adoption…but that was never an option for some reason and I was too naive to think these things through as an eighteen year old fighting the world and everyone in it.
Do I believe that maybe I could have beaten the odds?
Found the strength to fight back and keep my child?
Found a way to finish school and pursue my dreams as an artist?
Make it work?
Hell yeah…I thought that an hour ago, and last week, or last summer when I almost had a nervous breakdown about the lie I have lived with for so long.
I know girls that did beat the odds and persevered alone with their child…yes, they have struggled to make ends meet and finish school and find love again while raising a child alone…
Some will say I gave up too easily.
Shame on me.
But even more shame for hiding it…it is part of who I am…he was part of me and will forever be my fifth child…my first. I ache for him, as any mother would over a child lost…even more so when I see how cruel life can be and take our loved ones away in an instant.
So why voluntarily do it?
My eighteen year old self said she did it because it was the only way out and because they told her to.
My Forty-something year old self says it was the shame and guilt that the scared girl couldn’t bare to face.
She did though. Faced all of it…
Took countless blows to the chin, and then when the dust settled, tucked her dirty little secret away…until now.
We all have choices in this life…and we have to live with the consquences each and everyday.
I feel that hot pavement from that day on my face twenty-four years ago like I am living that moment now…it was a choice…one that will follow me like a dark cloud till the day I die.
Judge me, hate me, pray for me.
Do whatever you like. But I will not lie or hide this part of me anymore. My older girls know my story now. As a lesson to make better choices…but no one should make those choices for you…no one.
Today I honor the love that I lost, and all that I have gained…most importantly…
I smile today…I am owning this. My first ever tattoo…proudly wearing a badge forever of all my babies…four born, one lost, and one gained.