In an impulsive fit of desperation and confusion, I called my mother on the phone the other day. I’m not sure what triggered me to do this. Maybe because I was feeling so many things at the time–hurt, sadness, rejection, regret… so many things.
“Mom, I want to ask you something,” trying to keep my tears from overtaking my voice. “Remember how you told me that when you found out you were pregnant with me, your doctor suggested having an abortion?”
There was a few seconds of silence on the other end. “Yes,” she said hesitantly, “…do… do you think I should have aborted you?”
“No, no of course not mom,” I said. “I… I think I just want you to know, that even if you did… even if you wanted to abort me, but felt the need to keep me because you would be ashamed of how our family would perceive you, I wanted you to know that I would never be upset with you for wanting to abort me.”
“What…? What’s going on?”
So I told her. I told her about how I got pregnant when I was in college, how I wanted an abortion, but I miscarried instead. I cried and I struggled to get through my story. I wasn’t sure, at that point, what I was trying to achieve by telling her this 19 years later. I felt like a crazy woman with a home in the middle of a raging wild fire. And rather than allowing the fire to destroy her home, she torches it herself before the wild fire could get it.
“If I came to you and Daddy back then when I was pregnant,” I said. “What would you have done?”
I knew the moment it left my mouth, that it was a dumb question. To ask someone how they would’ve reacted to an event on the past was a stupid as trying to answer for the future. But somewhere in my crazed mind, it felt logical. It felt logical because I was looking for some kind of answer, some sort of justification, that I did the right thing.
“We would’ve supported you,” she said. “We would’ve taken care of you and the baby… like what we did with Aileen and Joshua. We wanted her to have the baby because we didn’t want an abortion in our family… you know how the church is.”
There it was, the confirmation I needed.
“And what if I wanted an abortion?” I asked. “What if I got an abortion?”
“Daddy and I would have been upset. We would’ve asked you why you would do that when we told you we would support you.”
After a moment, I asked, “But would you have still loved me if I got an abortion?”
“Of course I would still love you,” she said. “You are our baby.”
Moments pass. “I love you now,” she said.
“You know we love you. You are the most spoiled out of all of them,” she said. I laughed through my tears.
“I love you too, mom.”
I realize now what I really needed 19 years ago was absolution, not from other people like my mom, but from myself. Because now I know I did the right thing. By keeping my pregnancy to myself and away from outside parties, I was truly thinking for myself and not allowing anyone else to influence my decision.
Who knows? I probably would’ve kept the baby if my family had been involved. But my life would’ve been much different then, maybe not worse or better even, just different. I wouldn’t have the life I have now.
And I love the life I have now.