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Tell Your Story

How I felt at the time…

Overwhelmed by floods of deep sadness, fear, anger, humility and gratitude.

How I feel now…

At  peace with that part of my past.  I know it was what I needed to do and I am glad that I did it.  I still dream sometimes about a baby, a baby who I love and who holds no resentment.

My story…

He was prompt, he was rarely prompt, the king of being late really. We walked together through a patch of woods and into a clearing, resting our voices for the conversation to come.  A rolling carpet of pasture lay down in front of us; quiet, open.  At one time I was aware of the boundless space around and above me as well as my own fragile limits.  “I am pregnant,” I said.  The words fell like a broken piano might fall; hitting the ground between us in a chattering chord.  Once the echo softened into the tree line he said, “I saw the stick.”  That would be the stick I peed on, the one that left a bright pink plus sign embedded in my eyelids for the last week.  John reached for my hand and I watched as his fingers wrapped me in warmth.


He stayed with me that Tuesday night, as he did most nights.  In the dark he said, “I don’t think we are ready, but I want you to know that I will support you no matter what.” I suspected he would, all the same, I did not know him well enough.  Our love was a beautiful and addictive passion, something like a shallow-rooted, sexy orchid of which 90% of their seeds do not survive due to the poor reserves coming from the parent plant.

During the passing days I slipped into a deep love for the life that was quickly growing inside of me. I imagined it to be the size of a sweet pea. In privacy, I would hold my stomach, sing softly and whisper, ‘I love you.’  Then I would say, ‘it’s not time for you darlin, please go on.’

On Saturday, I stood decisively and called one of the wisest women I knew.  I had a feeling she would know of herbs that have been used for abortions. Besides, it felt good to tell a trusted friend that I was pregnant, for years she was the only one who knew. “I don’t recommend this.  To do this requires high doses of toxic herbs.  You have to challenge your health so much that your body has to let go of the embryo.  I knew a woman who nearly died.” “Did it work?  Did she induce a miscarriage?”  “Yes.”  She said defeated.  With John’s help I took the herbs six times a day.  When my body rejected these toxic doses, he would hold my hair back as I vomited painfully.

It was November. As usual my family gathered at my grandmother’s house for a big thanksgiving supper.  I flinched with every hug.  My breasts were so sore that waves of pain took out my knees with every loving squeeze from my family.   My façade of ease and happiness was contained within the brittle lines of small talk.  “How have you been?”  “Oh great, almost finished with school.”  ‘What’s your major again?’  “Environmental Education.”  “Good for you, that seems so necessary.  Would you look at that turkey?!  Well done Jimmy!”  “Mm, it does look good.  Excuse me.”  And I would race to the bathroom to throw up.  Indeed the herbs were poisoning me. On my drive home I decided that if the stick came up with that plus sign again, I would make my way to the abortion clinic.

It was a Wednesday when I was able to get into the clinic.  John and I dodged the anti-abortion banners and megaphones held by people who were begging me to change my mind.  I wondered how often it worked, I wondered if there was a woman, who like me was heading in for an abortion, but who unlike me, was shaken.

In the examining room, I lay on a table with my feet in the stirrups, John sat beside me and we watched as the doctor put a condom on the ultrasound probe.  Moments later the baby appeared on the screen, the size of a sweet pea.  “Yep, your pregnant,’ she said with no emotion, ‘about two months.  You are right at the limit for getting a medical abortion.”  She removed the probe from my vagina and motioned for me to sit up.  “In the lobby you can schedule a day to come in to take the RU486 pill.  Try to get in on Friday.”  She took off her gloves and left the room.

On Friday we pulled into the parking lot at 9:15.  At 9:30 we were in a sterile room and the doctor carefully and with sterilized hands, emptied the pill from its sterile container into a sterile cup and handed it to me.  We were leaving at 9:50.  On Saturday, there was blood.  I thought about saving it, putting it in a jar and having a burial.  Then there was more blood and I decided not to.

A year later, John and I had separated, I was finished with school and I was working as a landscaper.  One morning before work I had a dream that I was holding the baby; it smiled at me.  To this day, that is the most beautiful and forgiving sight I have seen.

2 Responses to “Tell Your Story”

  1. flemingcarlson Says:

    Beautifully written story. Can’t imagine dreaming about soemthing that raw.

  2. Sloane Monroe Says:

    One again, your article is very good.thank you very much.

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