Tenderness

by Beth

April 12, 2017

I was 22 when I had my abortion.

The images that fill my head of that day remain

White sheets

Tools laid out on a metal tray

My friend’s hair draped over the back of a chair

And I remember hoping that the physical pain of what was to come

Would serve as an extension of the raw heaviness that infiltrated my chest.

I wanted to feel it all;

To feel the gravity of the choice that I was fortunate to have.

Four women filled the room.

My Friend and her soothing voice.

The Nurse and her firm stance.

The Doctor and her careful hands.

And me.

I want to tell you that I still have tears for that day.

They hold the acknowledgment of this:

There was only a brief moment in which my body was emptied of one possibility.

But as I was drained of that,

I was just as quickly filled with the tenderness of three incredible women.

And oh god, I absorbed their care with everything I had,

And I realized that there is

Compassion in what others call cruel.

There is courage in what others call cowardice.

There is life in what others call murder.

Those three women saved my life.

Their tenderness continues to fill me.

And this is worth protecting.

Women are worth protecting.

There will always be more of us.

And with that, we will have more care.

More reassurance.

More tenderness.