Click bait. I’m shamelessly admitting that the title, I Do Not Regret My Abortion, is click bait. I’d have much rather entitled this piece, “The Story of Amber Danielle” but nobody would read that. And I want people to read this. I want people to know about Amber and what her short life meant, and what she sacrificed for a wretch like me.
Saying I do not regret my abortion doesn’t mean I’m glad I aborted my baby, although I am glad I had access to a safe and legal procedure. And it certainly doesn’t mean that I do not regret every single, solitary, terrible, selfish, shitty decision I made that brought me to the doors of an abortion clinic. Not regretting my abortion doesn’t mean I’m happy about it, or that I’ve let myself off the hook. Oh, trust me, I’m still dangling on that hook. Which is why I’m telling Amber’s story now. I owe her. I owe her everything. Because whether you or I like it or not, she’s made me who I am today.
The Story of Amber Danielle
I started this story on the post about whether I’m still a Christian. I said then that I could only tell this story in pieces. This post is a 974-word piece of my convoluted walk with Christ. It’ll take you less than ten minutes to read what’s taken me 28 years to write.
The day I found out I was pregnant was bright and sunny. That much I remember.
I’d been feeling awful for weeks, nauseous and tired, and I was sure my lifestyle was finally catching up with me. Only on the periphery of conscious thought did it occur to me that maybe I was pregnant. My darkening nipples and sudden aversion to cigarettes would niggle at my brain as though I was trying to remember something extremely important that I’d carelessly forgotten. But the thought that I might be pregnant would be crushed out as soon as it would try to get a foothold in my brain.
I did have a bladder infection. That much I knew. So off to the free (or extremely cheap, anyway) clinic I went, driven there by my lover. He waited in the car while I went in for the appointment.
What I’ll never, ever forget is that moment I found out I was pregnant.
Looking back now as an RN, I realize that the nurse who told me probably wasn’t happy for me. I’m dead certain that I looked like exactly what I was: a meth addict. My bad skin, covered in sores that I attempted to hide under thick foundation, and the telltale skeletal thinness, were a flashing neon sign for anyone with eyes to see.
But my face hadn’t yet taken on that hollowness in the cheeks that happens when you do speed for too long. I’d only been doing it for 18 months and some baby fat still remained in my face, if gone from everywhere else. I was in too much denial to see myself as I was, but I’m sure that nurse could see me very clearly.
I’d peed in the cup and sat waiting on the exam table wearing nothing but a paper drape. I can’t remember what I was thinking, but I certainly wasn’t thinking that I was pregnant when that nurse came in.
“Oh my God! Really?!”
“Yes. You are pregnant.”
“Oh my God!”
I wish I could bottle the joy I’ve felt every single one of the three times someone has told me that I’m pregnant and drink from the heady elixir when I doubt God’s love for me.
“Okay. Well, what do I do now?”
“Here’s some pamphlets. You need to start taking prenatal vitamins, and you need to find a doctor if you are planning on keeping the pregnancy.”
Hmmm? Why wouldn’t I keep my baby?
Again, knowing what I know now, I’m sure that nurse knew. She worked in a free (or cheap) clinic. She saw girls like me every single day. She knew what I was, and she knew that I was in no position to raise a baby. But that was information I didn’t have yet.
Those five or ten minutes when I first knew I was pregnant were some of the most beautiful, most spiritual, and certainly most deluded of my entire life.
I walked out of that clinic on Cloud 9.
I was going to have a baby!
I walked up to the car where my lover was standing waiting for me. I’ll never forget him leaning against that car and smoking his cigarette when I told him, “I’m pregnant.”
“Oh, fuck! You’re not keeping it, you know.”
“You have to have an abortion.”
“What? No. I don’t want an abortion.”
We drove the short ride home in silence. How could he not be happy? We’d made a baby. We were going to have a baby. Everything was going to change. We were going to get our shit together, and we were going to have a family. I told myself that everything was okay; he just needed time to adjust.
We got back to his mother’s house where we both lived. I probably went to pee, but I don’t remember. What I do remember is that he walked up to me without any warning and punched me full on in the stomach, and as I crumpled to the floor gasping for breath, he said, “You are not keeping this baby. You have to have an abortion.”
Welcome to Reality
I met reality that day while lying on the floor with the wind knocked out of me, and I didn’t like that bitch one bit. I still don’t.