“My partner and I regret that we had to make the decision that we made, but we will never regret that decision. It's a subtle difference, but it's as important and undeniable as life itself.”
Strange statement, I think. The difference is too subtle for my poor addled brain to understand. Awakening returned to her abortion blogspot briefly about a month ago. What prompted her return? She had her abortion, and as she describes, she’s perfectly comfortable with her decision. She visited with friends who have a new baby, though, and for some reason that drove her back to her abortion blogspot. It brought to mind her own abortion and her own child. Why would seeing a newborn baby bring Awakening back to re-affirm her choice? If we are to believe what we are told, there should be no connection between the living, newborn child and the aborted “tissue.”
But bring her back it did. She saw the perfect little family: Mom, Dad, and Baby. And so she thought about motherhood and her abortion. I thought about Awakening on Mother’s Day, even in the middle of my own little pity party, which I throw for myself every year at about this time. Having been rendered childless by choice for having made the ultimate Choice, I don’t have any pleasant distractions. There are no flowers, no cards, no letters, no children who feel obligated to call me even though I am a pain in the ass, so I don’t really enjoy Mother’s Day. This year, I thought of young Awakening, and wondered how she felt when she awoke on Sunday morning. Did she imagine how things might have been? She would still be pregnant if she had made a different choice. Does she understand what I have been grappling with for two and half decades? Dear Awakening, did you get a card for Mother’s Day? Because you are a mother, poor soul. I am a mother, too, as much as it truly sickens me to think of it. I am a lousy mother. But when the Celebrant asked all of the mothers to stand for their blessing at Sunday’s Mass, did I? No. I could not. For the life of me, I could not stand with the other mothers. I am a mother, but I don’t deserve the title and the blessings that come with it on the second Sunday each May. I didn't let my children live.
I recently read Jennifer O’Neill’s post-abortion healing book, You’re Not Alone – Healing Through God’s Grace After Abortion. She includes an I.D. Checklist, asking the reader to determine how he or she experienced abortion. Select one of the following: mother, father, grandparent, sibling, family member, etc. I read the list twice without finding anything to check for me. “Where am I? There must be a typo,” I wondered. Seriously – I was confused. I read the list a third time. It took me another complete reading, and then the light went on: “Hey, idiot. You were the mother. Mother. M-O-T-H-E-R.” Well, duh.
I have been thinking a lot about Awakening since I discovered her return a few weeks ago. I thought she had long since abandoned her abortion blog and the need for it, but I was wrong. Awakening is facing triggers now that make her think of her pregnancy and the conditions under which she and her partner decided to end their child’s life. Now she is facing other mothers with no child of her own in her arms. She would talk to them about her pregnancy if she could, I bet. Perhaps she would like to discuss morning sickness. Cravings. Quickening (btw, Miss O’Neill, in a book aimed at post-abortive women, you might want to reconsider using words like “quickening” that are pregnant with alternative meanings, if you get my drift). Or prenatal care. But none of those things apply to her anymore.
Answer me this: If we make a choice with which we are satisfied, and about which we have no doubts, how many times do we need to revisit the decision and reaffirm it?
Another subtle difference that I noticed, but Awakening doesn’t, is that her recent post doesn’t include any reference to the Great Love she shares with her partner. Her pre-abortion blogs were filled with doey-eyed descriptions of her soul-mate and their undying Love. Her latest? Well, he’s not a soul-mate in this one. He’s just her partner now. A partner in crime, perhaps? We will see, and unfortunately, so shall Awakening. On average, according to Miss O’Neill’s book, it takes sixty-two months for a woman to experience post-abortion regret. Awakening is still in the dream-state, I think. Go on, girl. Keep telling yourself that it was the right thing to do under the circumstances. Don’t forget, if you hadn’t had your abortion, you wouldn’t be where you are today – that’s a good rationalization, too. It will help to think that for a little while, at any rate – or at least you will believe it helps you.
Eventually, though, morning comes, and brings the truth to light. Maybe it's Mother’s Day morning that dawns, and we will awaken alone, in the knowledge that the opportunity to be beloved to another person in that role, on that day, has been terminated, and we are unloved because of our own choices. Eventually, it may seem as if the entire world revolves around motherhood, which becomes an exclusive club to which we don’t belong. Many women get pregnant again very soon after an abortion. Is it possible we are desperately trying to regain the identity that was sucked out of us? Well, duh.
I could write reams about aborted motherhood. Some day I probably will. In the meantime, Happy Mother’s Day to those who have earned that honor and title.