To the baby I didn’t have:
I know this letter isn’t necessary. I know you’re already zooming along on your karmic path, far ahead of me. At least, I believe you are. Anyone else I say that to might think I’m crazy, but I think it would make sense to you.
Even though you may never read these words, in this life or the next, I need to write this, mainly for myself. I’m a rather selfish creature, and I require a lot of comfort. Usually more comfort than the world can give, and so I turn to my words for relief, like I am doing now.
First, I would like to explain to you why I had the abortion. It wasn’t because I didn’t know you would be beautiful or smart or talented, because you would have been all of those things. I would have loved you with all of the passion that my 22-year-old heart could muster. Your father and I wanted you. I loved you the moment I looked at that little plus sign on the screen of the pregnancy test. True, I did burst into tears and fall to my knees, but only because I was immediately torn apart by wanting you and yet knowing I couldn’t have you.
I had you aborted because I didn’t believe that I had enough love to give to you. For this reason I do not regret having the abortion. I am still selfish and young and wrapped up in school and work and keeping my relationship with your dad fun and functional. I didn’t have enough of anything to give to you: time, money, patience, love… I am not ready to be a mother, especially to as wonderful a little girl as you would have been.
How do I know you would have been a girl? That’s still a bit of a mystery to me as well, but it’s just something that I knew from the moment I was sure that I was pregnant. It’s something that I actually know beyond a doubt, beyond any scientific or medical explanation. I think that has been the hardest part of all this… Knowing that you would have been my little girl; probably with curly blonde hair and chubby cheeks and your father’s big, beautiful eyes.
As I sat in the freezing cold waiting room at the abortion clinic with your father next to me, as terrified as I was but doing his best not to show it, I didn’t let myself think about you. I jumped through all of the hoops they asked me to and I stayed mostly silent, staring into space or leaning against your dad with my face in his shoulder. I was so, so scared. I was shaking each time they called me back.
Finally, hours later, I had taken the first round of medication that would stop your growth and I had the little plastic baggie with pain relievers and the pills that would expel you from me completely. I felt so relieved I was almost giddy as we drove home. I did my best to ignore the ache of agony in my chest, because I knew there was no turning back.
I will skip over the next day of pain beyond my imagination, and vomiting, and diarrhea, and blood. I won’t spend any more words on the days that followed that were nothing but sickness and trying to hide it from my boss and everyone around me. Because it has been several months now, and I think in the next year the memory of the intense physical trauma will have faded even more.
I want to talk about my birthday, which was the day after I took the pills. I was in Saint Augustine, Florida, which is one of my favorite cities in the world. (It’s also where I’m moving in eight months to finish up my Bachelor’s Degree at my dream school.) I had planned this trip for a long while before I knew about you, so your father and I decided to try and go anyway. I was sick a lot of the time, but he was so patient with me, and gracefully handled my moods and tears.
I was walking slowly through the streets among all the old buildings with the smell of salt in the air, and I felt you beside me so clearly and poignantly I looked to my right to see if I could hold your little hand. I saw you as a little girl, smiling at me with big hazel eyes and giggling, and I saw you at twelve with blonde braids and a book. Then you came to me as a young woman, the age I am now. We sat and talked together, and I loved you so, so, so much. I felt a love beyond anything I could describe in words.
This all happened in an instant. When it was over, I stopped and hugged your father with all of my strength in the middle of the street. He didn’t fully understand, but a part of him did, and he held me for a long time. In my memory, it is my favorite birthday, because I spent it with you.
Wherever you are now, I hope you forgive me. As a matter of fact, I know you do. I read and see things in the news all the time with people bashing Planned Parenthood and abortion and the “whores” who get them, but I don’t let it bother me. I know that I did what was best for me, and for you.
Each morning as I sit in meditation, when I practice Yoga, when I walk alone by the lake, or eat dinner with your father, I think of you. I send you blessings and love and immense gratitude for showing me what it is to truly love, and what it is to truly let go.
Author: Katherine Mellan
Editor: Caroline Beaton