Friday, November 18, 2011

Those Shoes

I've written about this before... but I'm writing about it again...

Sometimes people make you think differently.
Sometimes circumstances make you see differently.
I wonder if these words may make you act differently.

Before I say what is on my heart at the moment, I need to say that clearly I believe that life begins at the moment of conception. My 10 week E (being a child I still think about and wonder about and love), I think makes that obvious.

I have learned to sit. Sit and listen.
And I hope you will too... to this.

Last night we had a monthly support group meeting at the hospital. I was over an hour late because of work, but having been in contact with a few new families, I wanted to be there for them. I came in during the middle of a new member's story (that I hadn't heard from) and while I didn't get all the details, I was able to put together pieces. The baby would die- there was no misdiagnosis- no hope. Health care in this country is horrible and expensive and it would become more expensive still. Her baby would die. She ended the pregnancy. From what I could gather this did not happen in a hospital but in a clinic and clearly things had gone wrong... very wrong... and her experience made an already horrible situation, worse. A woman who had wanted nothing more than that child she had prayed for, had lost that child. I know that feeling. And I pray that you don't.

As I drove home later that night, I began to think about that... Abortion. That dreaded "A" word that I see on bumper stickers and fliers. That word that is thrown around by politicians and written on signs held by Christians (and yes I am a Christian). A word that is black and white. But to me... it's not.

I had an abortion.

If you look at my medical records, that is what they say. I chose to have "an abortion" after we lost E. Yes. E was gone and there was absolutely no heartbeat- but I needed it done. I needed to close that piece and move forward (albeit not forgetting). Because I have insurance, I was able to have this done at my hospital, surrounded by a caring doctor and nurses I know and love. This horrible thing, losing a child (and for me 'finishing' it with my D & C aka abortion) was something that in that moment I needed. I was fragile, I was breaking, I had that choice before me, and I made it. And now 3 years later, I still know it was the right one for me.

No one said anything to me about it, but I've seen my records and that is what they say: four live births. 1 still birth. 1 abortion.

Now you may say that my 'abortion' was different. My baby was dead. That is black and white.
And perhaps you are right...

But then I think of her. And while I have met others who have made this decision based on the information they are given, I still think of her and I have written about her here before. A woman I met a few years back now. She had wanted nothing more than to have a baby at home. After years of fertility treatments, she carried a baby she knew would have a syndrome, but a baby she wanted more than the world. She had read up, prepared and was thrilled to soon be bringing home a baby that she so wanted. She carried him past his due date, had a horrible delivery and he was born still. Horrible. Sad. Devastating.

After more years of trying she finally became pregnant again- finally to have a child at home. But as she went to that 20 week ultrasound, she learned the worst. Her baby had more than a syndrome. There was no brain. Her baby would die shortly after birth. Like the absence of that heartbeat this is something on an ultrasound that you cannot mistake. Having done this once, buried one child, she didn't feel she could do it again- go that long- labor- knowing your baby would be dead. And so she made that choice and ended her pregnancy.

What would I have done?
I don't know.
And I'm thankful that I never had to walk in those shoes or face that decision.

But what I do know is that she lost friends. She lost her church. She lost her baby. ~A baby that (despite having a heartbeat) she lost that day when she saw that ultrasound and learned that diagnosis. She lost her baby in that room. She lost that baby in that clinic. And she loses that baby every time she sees a baby- Every time that date comes around on the calendar- And every time she hears you say that she shouldn't have had that choice to make because it was wrong...

I sometimes think that we are so quick to judge. That one word becomes all or nothing, yes or no, black or white. We don't pause to think that there is a story there. A mother there. Someone who was faced with a decision that they didn't make lightly... or easily... but that they made.

And so for this reason, though I believe that life begins at conception, you will never see me hold up a sign, or place a bumper sticker on my car saying that because those words (though true) hurt people without meaning to. They certainly don't help them. The same way you would never know by looking at my family that I have two angels in heaven that I think of every- single- day... You don't know who walks around with the weight of a choice that was hard to make. A choice that didn't feel like a choice at all but something that they needed to do~ to survive. And while sometimes seeing twins may rip that scab right off my broken heart~ I imagine your words can have that same affect on someone and you may have no idea.

I remember that moment in the room hours after delivery. Holding Andrew. He was no longer that pink little sleeping babe I had delivered and I knew I needed him gone. He had to leave. Now. In order for me to survive. I called the nurse. Said it was time. Peeled back the hat on his sweet little head and kissed him for the last time. I turned my head as she took him from the room. I couldn't watch him leave- Though it was I who had made the call to have him taken from me.

I wasn't strong enough to keep my son a moment more.
Don't blame me for that.
Don't blame them for that.

You haven't walked those shoes.
And neither have I.


  1. My heart breaks for those mothers that had to make such a difficult choice. And to have people tell you you've made a "bad" decision, well I can't imagine the added pain. Speaking as a women who lost her child herself, I already know they feelings of guilt that come with losing a baby. These women don't need others to add to their guilt. If it were me in that position, my only thought would be my baby. I don't want my baby to suffer when I can't hold him or her and make it better. They lost their children and I hope they get the support they need and deserve.

  2. One thing I try to do is put myself in other peoples shoes and I think it would be wonderful if more people in this world would learn how to do that. We would have so much less judgement and unkind words spoken. Another excellent post. Thank you.

  3. Wow, what a beautiful post. We technically had an abortion, too, as our labor was induced - a medical termination - before our babies could possibly be viable. Our daughter's amniotic sac had ruptured catastrophically, her heart rate was in decline and our son's was nearing 200 beats per minute...he was in distress. They were dying, a probable infection. My cervix was already starting to change. One option we were given was to wait until the babies passed and have a D&C (it's a Catholic hospital so they wouldn't do it before then). We chose to stay present and deliver. It was horrible and beautiful. We wish nothing more than to have our babies still growing away in my belly (I'd be over 29 weeks now) but that was not to be. No amount of our love and desperation could have saved them. It was a horrible choice, but there was no way out.

    It has forever changed my opinion of's not a black and white thing.

  4. This is a great post and I agree that abortion isn't so black and white to me anymore since having had one. I know how it feels to be scared, alone, and feel you have no other choice and my heart aches for other women in that same position. My own decision has made me a less judgmental person. You can't know a person's cicrumstances or feelings-what brought them there. We are not called to judge but to love.


Your thoughts?