I wasn’t always. I was heavily influenced by 70’ and 80’s pop culture. In fact I don’t really ever recall hearing any voices apposed to the ME culture as it was sometimes called. Perhaps an occasional group demonstrating somewhere with pro life placards, and God's Grace in my soul, but nothing in the media and no one I knew was pro life. My conversion to a pro life stance began with my first miscarriage.
Hubby and I were living in LA at the time and weren’t yet married. I was hesitant about getting married, after all very few folks bothered with it and my parents had finally gotten a divorce that year after a couple of decades of a really poor marriage, so from my perspective marriage was dicey at best. I wanted the baby of course, but we would consider marriage at some point in the future, and in the back of my mind I was thinking if at all.
Hubby had a different take on the situation. His proposal of marriage was not the most romantic I suppose. It went something like this. “If I’m good enough to have a child with I’m good enough to marry and if I’m not then I’m out of here.” I could see some merit in the boy’s argument. That was seventeen years ago last August and he claims that’s the last argument he’s ever won. I’m pretty sure that’s an exaggeration.
We were broke and I didn’t have insurance so I went to Planned Parenthood to confirm the pregnancy. To their credit I only recall them asking if the pregnancy was a good thing. When I said yes, they simply directed me to get prenatal vitamins and left it at that. I had no idea that Planned Parenthood was an abortion mill. I bought into the image they cultivate as an organization supporting families.
I remember taking the big blue Santa Monica bus back to our apartment in stunned amazement. The world had shifted. I was going to be a Mommy. There was a new person growing inside me!!! We were quite sure it was a girl and we named her Katherine Ann.
I had a wedding to plan in a few short weeks and of course I had a new person growing in me so I was quite busy. We set a date in December and I found all the stuff needed like a dress that would expand as necessary, although I was determined to get down the aisle before I was really showing, so I was under the gun.
In November I started spotting and then cramping pretty badly. Without insurance my only option for health care was through LA County, so downtown we went. The place was packed and we spent all day there. They confirmed I had lost the pregnancy and told me to bring in the fetus once it was expelled. That happened in a Wienerschnitzel bathroom in Pasadena. The whole experience of losing the pregnancy was surreal. Fishing my little girl, my baby out of a Wienerschinitzel toilet, well I just don’t have words for the experience. There was no way I was simply going to flush her down, and they did tell me to bring her in, maybe they could tell me why I had lost her. So I fished her out and wrapped her in a paper towel. The mind plays odd tricks with things that are simply to horrible to comprehend and losing a child is one of those things. I remember thinking that I needed to keep her warm and that she needed to be covered and paper towel was the only thing on hand. Yes, the mind plays tricks when it’s on overload.
I took her into the hospital and handed her over as they requested. How I wish we had been in a place in our lives where we could have given her a funeral like Abigail’s family gave their son, but we were not. No, I handed her over to the hospital hoping for information.
What I got was people who at every appointment looked at my chart and said. “Oh, you’ve had an abortion”, no, I would correct them, I had a miscarriage. “Oh”, they said, “It’s notated on the chart the same way.” Well it’s not the same I was thinking each time, I wanted my baby, I wanted her very much. When I asked about the results of examining the fetus they seamed perplexed as to why I asked. I never did get any information and I got the impression that no testing was done at all and that she got flushed after all. That was very, very hard. I remember walking down a sidewalk toward the parking lot feeling like the earth had stopped rotating. It was like time had stood still, and again the whole world had shifted.
Driving home down Santa Monica Blvd. I remember passing by crowds at the bus stops and wondering why all of those folks got to live, but my baby did not. Hubby told me I needed to get off that line of thinking quick or I would drive myself nuts. So I did, and life has continued on as it always does, but it’s not the same. It will never be the same. Seventeen years later as I write about Katie tears stream down my face like it was yesterday. The pain never ends, it’s just something you live with, a sorrow that pierces the heart, and may continue to do so until the day I get to meet her face to face.
I wonder about her and her two siblings. What will they look like, will they have blond hair like their aunts and cousins, our dark like ours, will it be thick and curly like Hubby’s side or just wavy like mine. Will they be athletic like their Dad, and my Dad, will they have a goofy side like their Dad or be more bookish like Mom.
I realize that most women who lose pregnancies either through miscarriage or abortion go on to successfully carry to term. I have not. It has made me acutely aware of the pain of the loss of a child. Knowing this pain, knowing how it lingers, year after year as milestones are passed and yet not celebrated, I can’t imagine compounding the pain by having made the choice to end your child’s life. And that’s how I became pro life.
Lord have mercy.