The year was 1992……….
I’m in my early 20’s, living in a crummy little apartment with my boyfriend and working part time. I have big dreams, a high power corporate job, with all the perks that go with it ….. expensive car, expensive clothes, penthouse apartment, travelling the world …… so when I wake up one morning feeling a little under the weather, I take a few Tylenol and go to work. However this feeling persists for a few days …. again I dismiss the symptoms and just figure that maybe I have eaten something that doesn’t agree with me or maybe I ‘m coming down with the flu. A few more days pass and I’m not getting any better, I’m actually feeling worse. Finally I clue in and I go to the drug store to pickup a pregnancy test. I come home, pee on the stick ….. positive. I’m in denial of course, so I head back to the drug store, pick up a few more tests and continue peeing on sticks the rest of the day … every test comes back the same … positive. I still don’t want to believe this to be true so I get back in the car and go to the clinic where they run a blood test. Finally the doctor appears and confirms that I am indeed pregnant. I choke back the tears long enough so I can escape out of the office, get in the car and drive home. Once I enter the confines of my crummy little apartment, I collapse into a puddle of mess on the floor wallowing in self pity. As soon as I am able to gain some form of composure I don’t waste any time, I grab the phone book (yes, 1992…. before Internet, before Google) and look up the phone number to the nearest abortion clinic and make an appointment. When my boyfriend comes home that afternoon, I tell him the news, inform him of my decision and that’s it, no discussion, my mind is made up. I am not about to be inconvenienced, I have big dreams and no where in that picture is there room for a child, all a child is going to do is hold me back, destroy my dreams and wreck my future.
From that moment on is a blur to me, I can’t recall where the clinic was, the nurse, the doctor or how much it cost. What I do remember ….. laying on a table and feeling some pressure followed by severe cramping and then a nurse telling me to turn my head because they had to run the “stuff” through a strainer to make sure they got “it” all and I probably didn’t want to see that, yep you guessed it, I was sedated but fully awake. I stayed in recovery for a few hours and then I went home and resumed my life as if nothing ever happened. The only reminder I had of the incident was the instructions from the doctor to take it easy for a couple of weeks and whatever I did, I was to avoid stairs and wearing high heels as this would cause unnecessary stress to my body ….. I found those instructions ironic considering what I had just subjected my body to.
A couple of days into my recovery I received a phone call from a headhunter for a job I had applied for ….. I was excited, my dreams of a corporate job was within my grasp, so I disregarded the doctors orders and scheduled the interview for the next day. My black pencil skirt and tailored blouse would not be complete without slick black high heels. When I arrived for my interview and walked through the front door I was confronted by an ominous oak staircase that climbed two stories with no elevator in site ….. but I persevered, I took the stairs, in my heels ….. I was a trooper, no amount of hemorrhaging was going to keep from that interview.
I’m not writing this to debate when life begins as legislated by government, determined by science nor how our legal system defines personhood. None of these “institutions” have to live with the moral consequences of my decision, I Do. As I reflect back on this moment 23 years later, I find myself wondering, when had I become so self absorbed that murder seemed like a good idea?
So as I write this I am reminded that the God I know created us in his image, we ruined it and yet by his love, grace and sacrifice we are the instruments he still chooses today to bring light into our dark world. But because I was inconvenienced, I chose to end a life that could have been the brightest light this world had ever seen. My child could have been the one to negotiate peace in the Middle East, my child could have been the one that ended poverty in the world, my child could have been the one ……. but I can’t finish this sentence because I will never know who they could have been…… because I only thought about myself and what was convenient for me, I put my wants, my needs above everything else.
God defined when life begins to protect me, knowing full well the consequences I would feel if I ignored it, thinking I knew better. Well I ignored it, I didn’t know better…….now I know the consequences.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous – how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Everyday of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalms 139 13:16