I haven’t written for a while. I guess I haven’t felt very “on purpose” lately. Or maybe you could say I’ve been in a funk.
When I was in high school, I struggled with general anxiety. Part of it, I think, is because I am ultra-Type A. I love to be in control, and my last years of high school were yeas where I had no control over anything and just couldn’t handle everything, and in some cases I honestly couldn’t handle anytime. Everything overwhelmed me and I didn’t know how to handle my emotions. I was seriously a hot mess. Sometimes I think, with the way I’ve been feeling lately, I’m pretty sure than exact same hot mess, just with more meat on my bones and better hair.
Everything falls back on what I wrote about in this post. I struggle to find the words for this without those feelings of shame overwhelming me, but it is what it is: I had an abortion when I was 15. I want those words to get easier to say, but I never want them to feel easy or light-hearted. Because, without a doubt, this single decision has had the most far-reaching implications for the rest of my life.
Right now I am in a place where, 14 years later, I am allowing myself to grieve this loss for the first time and it’s an are you serious is this really happening why is this so hard kind of pain.
Tomorrow will be three weeks since I asked my friend Megan, as I sat in the dark on my bed, “Want to hear something I’ve never told anyone?” She said yes, and I said those words that had been gathered at the back of my throat for days:
“Friday, on July 27th — that’s the day my baby would turn 13.”
And then I cried. I’m a pretty sensitive person, but I try to avoid crying in front of other people because I don’t like not being in control of myself. This time, though, I could not help it. The tears came faster than I had the power to stop them. My nose was running and I couldn’t calm down.
The feelings I experienced that weekend were pretty intense. Who knew that grief could be so ugly? I posted of series of tweets that just make me sad to read a few weeks later. I was so angry: at myself, at people who didn’t know but would have stopped me if I’d told them, at the friends who didn’t offer me any support or love once they found out. But mostly, my anger was at myself, and I spent most of the weekend in bed, alternating between crying and sleeping. I wanted to sleep away the weekend, but I also wanted to talk about it. I still want to talk about it. I want to scream to the world that the little person who lived inside of me for twelve weeks matters. My daughter (I’ll always envision that baby as a girl) mattered in this world.
What I’m struggling with now is this: if I had had a miscarriage or a stillborn, it would be difficult to talk about the loss I experienced — but people would accept is as a real loss. But when you lose a baby through abortion, it feels like you don’t get to share in that loss. I understand it’s different. I made a choice. But even still: doesn’t the fact that my baby was here matter? Is her worth and weight less because I never got to be excited or make plans or share with others the life inside of me?
I want to scream, still. But more than anything, I want to be celebrating 13 years of beautiful life and laughter with that baby of mine. I want these moments of tears to go away, these moments where I feel like I have to leave the room because I am so taken aback by grief I can barely stand it. It would be better if the pain came in predictable moments, like when I’m holding babies or when I find out my friends are pregnant. Or even when I see that lovely 13 year old girl shopping with her mom for back to school clothes. Instead, the grief comes at the worst and strangest times: watching an adventure movie or looking at the ocean on a beautiful drive home from Santa Barbara. I don’t ever want to share it in those moments because it seems like I am beating a dead horse or taking away attention from other people.
I know this season of life is good for me, and as someone last week prayed for me (after I gave, through, tears, the vaguest prayer request ever): the fact that I am going through the grief is a good thing. I don’t really wish it away. I just wish there was never any excuse to feel it in the first place.