for emma

 

In 2012 I wrote about the miscarriage I had when I was twenty, but I re-wrote it tonight after engaging in a lengthy abortion debate earlier.  During the course of debating about reproductive rights, I will inevitably bring it up and add that, had nature not taken its course, I would have terminated the pregnancy.  I felt no guilt, only relief.  The end of an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy is not always tragic and life-altering; it is, in fact, the least traumatic thing I experienced while growing up.  We need to be the authors of our own destiny whenever possible, and there is no room for shame in that.  

If you are pregnant and need assistance, please visit www.plannedparenthood.org.


I had nothing to give her.

My entire life still ached, a deep, searing pain that caused my heart to beat with a limp.  I still awoke in the dead of night sheathed in sweat, choking on panic.  I ate toddler-sized portions of food while sitting naked in front of a mirror, berating myself and frantically counting calories, rubbing my thumbs along my jutting hipbones as though I were making a desperate wish.  I would often spend days not leaving my bed, chain-smoking and scrawling poem after poem into sketchbooks, impossibly long hair tangled and wild, un-brushed, a restless spirit hungry, so hungry, wanting to swallow the world whole.

I was no one’s mother.

She was like being underwater, the roar of letting her go rushing through my ears, an upturned seashell. She was a Rorschach pattern of red imprinting itself on white panties, a pain seizing my insides and wringing them out like a towel. All I could offer up was a deluge of tears streaming as quickly as my blood, her blood.  

When the waves subsided, I was left empty.  The tide receded with a sigh and left behind a peaceful relief, an invisible and empathetic hand stroking my sweaty forehead.  I had no way to guide her, still so lost myself; two babes in the woods, scavenging for our next meal.  I wasn’t in love. I couldn’t be whole for her when so many pieces of myself were still broken and jagged.  

The prayer of thanks was effortless.  I was so grateful to have been spared this choice, knowing full well what my path would have been.  Behind my eyes I watched her go and fade into the line of our horizon, a memory tucked in sweetly to sleep.