Despite panic creeping up my throat to choke each subsequent breath, I walked arduously up the hill. I was determined to get to Magee. I could get what I needed at Magee, only they could help. Why did it seem so far? Normally, it’s only a few blocks from my lab, just a short walk. But right then? Then there stood a mountain between me and Magee. I was breathing heavily and struggling to climb the hill. But I had to keep going. I needed to make an appointment. I had no other choice, what else was I supposed to do? I couldn’t just accept what the doctor had told me only minutes before. My life was just beginning, how could one test so easily threaten to ruin all that I had worked for? Why was my past intruding on the success of my future? How could I have been so careless? My mind was clouded with inquiries that had no good answers—no answers that made me feel better about what I was facing. But I knew what had to be done and once it was done, there was no turning back. Anxious and scared, I called the one friend who I trusted to be by my side through my dilemma. I didn’t call to ask her advice or seek her counsel. I didn’t call her to validate or overrule my decision. I just needed her support in what I had already made up in my mind I would do. When she answered, I simply stated, “I’m pregnant. I have to get an abortion. You have to come with me.” With no questions asked, she met me on my walk to the hospital. And together we climbed. We climbed to the top of the hill where the hospital stood. Even as the ground crumbled beneath our feet, to keep us from completing our journey, we made it to the hospital’s entrance. There was no turning back, I could only go forward. With my dear friend at my side, holding my hand, I made an appointment to terminate my pregnancy. As we gathered with other friends for dinner later that day, I sat dumbfounded in my seat, flooded with emotions. Do they know what I had just done? Do they know the awful that dwells in me? I felt guilty and embarrassed, ashamed and unworthy. I didn’t want anyone else to know about the predicament that I had gotten myself into and the way I had gotten myself out. And just as someone sitting next to me began to bombard me with questions about why I kept whispering to my dear friend and why I was being so secretive about my day, addressing me with an accusatory tone that threatened to expose me of my indiscretions and cause me more grief than I had already suffered on my journey to the top of the hill… I opened my eyes.
On Sunday afternoon, as I was driving into the university area for an event, I drove past Magee-Women’s Hospital and saw a bunch of elderly people standing along the street holding up posters with pictures of aborted fetuses and signs that said “Magee Kills Babies.” As with any other time I see these types of protests, I shake my head, roll my eyes, and keep it moving. I briefly considered Jamilah Lemieux’s Clutch Magazine article, “I’d Abort.”1 And no sooner had the protesters disappeared from my rearview mirror, so did thoughts of abortions from my consciousness. Until late that night while I was sleeping.
The above story was the dream that apparently manifested from the day’s events—a dream that I remember quite vividly actually2. And despite the dream being fiction, I can’t help but wonder if that’s what would happen if I were faced with the same decision tomorrow. In my dream, I was restless in my pursuit to carry out my decision. I knew what had to be done, and I did what I thought was best, no second guessing. But in reality, I would likely have to think long and hard about what I would do. Not a decision I would make lightly. Despite my Christianity/spirituality, I can’t say that I would rule out abortion, not at this point in my life anyway. While I’d love to be righteous with an absolute certainty of the right thing to do, “right” isn’t so cut and dry for me. I’d consider all options, make an informed decision, and wish for the best when it’s all said and done. And that’s just me being real. I just hope that I never have to face a situation where such a decision needed to be made.
1 I could completely relate to that article. And though I had never publicly admitted it before, I felt unashamed in thinking “I probably would too.” I’ve even had the “what if I got pregnant” convo with my ex, just as Jamilah discussed in the article. In all honesty, termination would be on the table for me.
2 I almost never remember my dreams well enough to retell them. I’m still amazed at how much this dream stands out to me, how real it felt. So needless to say, I just HAD to blog about it.