No Turning Back

August 17, 2011

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.

In confession,
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.

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  • Reply Racqs of Jems August 17, 2011 at 10:09 am

    I remember growing up in church having discussions in teen Sunday school about sex and abortion. Back then in my socially awkward state, the thought of being faced with those types of issues seemed far-fetched at best. It was easy for me to judge others as weak-minded and unspiritual when I never went through the same temptations. Then college came. I then found myself in those situations that I had been warned about, but curiosity bested my fight to resist temptation. Those occasional pregger scares made me reconsider a lot of issues that I once saw as black and white. Would I be ok with bringing a child into the world with barely enough resources to take care of myself? With a man that I doubted was truly father (let alone husband) material? Like you said Gem, I hope I never have to face a decision like that. But I know I could never judge someone else for it.

    • Reply gemmieboo August 17, 2011 at 10:57 am

      im right there with you, Racqs. you see things differently as you experience life more, face to face with things you thought youd be safe from. unwanted pregnancies are so real, and i just cant find it in me to condemn ppl who choose their life over a new one.

      thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply madscientist7 August 17, 2011 at 10:44 am

    despite my own relationship with Jesus Christ and my spirituality i can’t say that i’ve never gotten a woman pregnant before. the fact that i’m not a father today lets you know the route we decided to go. we made the decision based on the fact we were both young (20) and had a lot more we wanted to accomplish in our lives first. i still think from time to time what would have happened if we went the other route.

    • Reply gemmieboo August 17, 2011 at 10:59 am

      wow, thanks for sharing, T! i cant imagine what you both went through making that decision. and while you may be curious about what would have happened if…, you know you did what was right for you BOTH at that time. and theres no regret in that.

      • Reply madscientist7 August 17, 2011 at 11:10 am

        this is true. i took my route.

        she’s married and has 2 children.

        two entirely different paths.

  • Reply miss t-lee August 17, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Thing is, no one can say with absolute certainty what they would do until they are faced with the decision. Luckily, & by the grace can I say that I’ve never had to make that choice.
    I’ve always been supportive of friends & family who have.

    • Reply gemmieboo August 25, 2011 at 11:35 am

      agreed!! its definitely an individual choice. key word: CHOICE.

  • Reply phidelity15 August 17, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Well! Since there are no female representatives I guess I shall share my non-public story with the public.

    I’ve unfortunately went through what so many women have and what your dream was about. It was the end of my spring semester and back home in NY my on and off again boo was back home as well. I actually got pregnant the night I had to spazz on his ass and vowed to never speak to him again. And I really wouldn’t have, had I not found out about my pregnancy. The horrible thing is that the whole summer I didn’t even know I was pregnant. I was doing a summer internship with the city and I thought my symptoms (fatigue, hunger, swollen feet, extreme irritability and the funkiest of attitudes known to man) were because of the strenuous activities I was doing. I actually made it all the way to August without knowing. Went to the dr to get birth control pills (HA!) and he asked the most simplest question that I had no answer to: “when was the last time you had your period?”

    Before the test came back positive, I had already decided what I was going to do. I mean, I was still a freshman in college, I was borrowing money from my dad to get on a bus to go back to school and I WAS IN SCHOOL!! My real concern was telling my mom (my sister was with me when I found out and I told my bff). I actually made it all the way back to Atl and my mom had a dream and called me. I told her my plans and she went with me. I had to walk by those ladies with those signs and I was not ashamed of my decision. But right after the procedure, I woke up hysterically crying and I vowed to myself and my unborn child that I would live the absolute best life that I could because I was giving up so much for it.

    I recently spoke with my ex and I had to spazz again on him. I had to remind him he wasnt around for the worst time I’ve ever had in my life (he disappeared right after I told him, but somehow popped up after the deed was done) and how dare he feel he had a right to inquire about me and what I’m doing. He’s currently married with a child to the girl he cheated on with me or was cheating on me with (whichever way he wants it to be) and I’m single, with no kids.

    There are days I regret my decision, there are plenty days that I don’t even think about it and there are some days when I know without a doubt that I made the best decision for my life. I don’t know who I would have been, and some days I’m still not sure of who or what I can become, but I try to know and I live every day as best I can always trying to keep my promise.

    • Reply gemmieboo August 25, 2011 at 11:38 am

      all i can say is “WOW” to this whole comment. i think its so great and so brave of you to share this with me and my readers. i sincerely THANK YOU for your willingness to share such a personal experience.

      i can only imagine what it felt like. the fact that i felt myself going through a range of emotion in my own dream was just… crazy. to actually be in that situation and be forced to choose?? and though there may always be times you regret your decision or wonder what if, hopefully you wont have to make another decision like that again. and the next time a bun is in the oven, it’ll be the right time with the right person to go ahead and bake it 🙂

      love you sis!!! thanks *big hug*

  • Reply I Am Your People August 18, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    1) There is a great “Vagina Monologues”-type play called “The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion.” Summary: the same people protest clinics, so the people who work there recognize them…and occasionally come in for abortions. (These are true stories) One vignette is about a mother/daughter protest team, who then come in to sign the underaged girl’s abortion ‘permission slip,’ and both call the doctor baby killer during the whole procedure.

    2) Two states (one is MS, I for got the other) can now charge women with fetuscide/illegal abortion if she can’t prove her miscarriage was natural. These states, of course, have cut Medicaid, WIC, prenatal care, etc.

    3) Fortunately I’ve never been pregnant, but I’m pro-choice. I just hate that the same people who are against abortion are also opposed to birth control (and have no adopted children). And I’ve had it up to ‘here’ with ‘Black activists’ who are anti-abortion, strictly because they see it as a breeding war.

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