You are not alone.

by L.M.J.

October 12, 2017

It was a golden fall day when I discovered that I was having twins. The leaves outside the window of the doctor’s office were red, our doctor’s hair was red, as was the hair on the photo of his twin daughters that sat proudly on the shelf above his desk. I stared out the window during the ultrasound, taking in the vibrancy of that color with awe as I strained to understand what I was seeing on the little screen next to me. I stared at the photo of his children when he excitedly informed my husband and me about the joys of raising two babies at once, trying desperately to understand what he was saying and wishing his words meant anything to my life. We already had a child, we had already experienced that particular joy, what we did not have or did not know was the happiness and love between two people raising children together.  When we discovered the truth about my pregnancy our eyes met, and it wasn’t love that shot between us, it was pure fear and disbelief.

Financially speaking, we could not afford three children. If you want to talk about our relationship, it was on the rocks and this pregnancy was an attempt at putting something in the way of our impending separation. Personally, I was so intensely depressed and sick about the entire situation before I learned about the two children waiting in the wings that I could not even fathom one more day of the suffering;  learning about the reality of my pregnancy was such an outrageously dangerous shock that I feared for my sanity. We walked away from that appointment feeling terrified, nervous, and immediately sorry for ourselves. Our doctor had been optimistic to the point of mania, assuring us that love was going to invade our lives and never let go, that three children under the age of five would a blessing that we would not be able to comprehend. After a week of debating and coming to terms with our choice, I called the doctor at his office to let him know that we would not be proceeding with the pregnancy. His demeanor shifted immediately to ice cold business as he briefly explained that he didn’t handle those procedures and that his nurse would inform me of the next steps involved, he abruptly got off the phone, and the rosy glow of his previous words was gone from memory. We would never go back to that office.

My abortion took place in a small clinic set in an idyllic mountain town, minutes from my own home but in another affluent dimension that seemed arcane for what was about to happen to my family. The staff was fantastically kind and patient. I was beyond emotion as I sat in the waiting room but they guided me through each step and made me feel understood and matter-of-fact, which were two things I thought I would never find in the face of my actions. When it was over, I went home and mourned my decisions – starting with my marriage – and feeling as though I had acted as though I was God by deciding fates and choosing lives. We told friends and family that we had lost the babies, but their skepticism and sadness was mixed into our own pain and indecision about our choice and I felt guilty about lying. My marriage ended a few months after my abortion and any guilt that I might have felt was swallowed into a pit of consuming pain that would cover my family for years afterward. Like many wrong things that I have been raised to believe, I thought I would and should keep this event in my trove of secrets for the rest of my life.

In the years that followed my divorce I began to realize that all of my seemingly awful choices had been correct despite the aftershocks of pain and disbelief within myself and from others. I had no business raising the child that I did have with my husband and there was absolutely no sense in bringing two other souls into our terrible life. I had no business being married to someone that I did not love, and I had no business not loving myself enough for forgiveness and surrender. I tentatively told a few people about my abortion, including the man who would become my second husband, and found a supportive understanding group of people who listened without judgment.

I still quietly judged myself, however, until I saw the work being done by Shout Your Abortion. I saw the truth, I saw the voices, and I saw the positivity that comes from admitting that life goes sideways and things aren’t planned and choices get made and lives continue and happiness follows and the world spins. The world spins back around with you on it, with a story to tell, with a truth that defines you while simultaneously setting you free. You are free to tell your story after you make a choice that sets people free, all of the people free, not just you…all of us. To be wanted, to be loved, to be accepted at first sight and only thought of as a blessing, to exercise your right to choose for yourself and for your own world, that is freedom. That is what all of us deserve. You are not alone.


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