My boys were four and six, my husband and I had been separated three months, and I had just started college. I saw no way to continue this new pregnancy.
The clinic was a nondescript, squat, red brick building in east Denver. This was 1977, before the anti-abortion protesters had mobilized, so I didn’t have to run a gauntlet of picketers.
Likely there was counseling and an explanation of the procedure, but all I remember was lying on the table with my legs in stirrups. After some painful cramping, it was over.
The doctor said, “Lie here for a few minutes until you feel able to get dressed.”
Before leaving the room, I whispered, “Good-bye, I’m sorry” to the little sac of tissue I knew was in the suction bottle.
A year later, I started a series of independent study projects for college. One of the locations was Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, where I trained to be an abortion counselor. Because I didn’t remember receiving much in the way of support during my own abortion, I was determined to provide that for other women. However, I soon lost patience with the ones coming in for their second, third, or fourth abortions, using this as their method of birth control.
Fast forward eighteen years to a late evening phone call from my son.
“Uh, I called to tell you that my girlfriend’s pregnant.”
They had been together for only a few months, she was in graduate school, and he was just getting himself straightened out after problems with alcohol abuse and several failed attempts at college.
“Is she going to have an abortion?”
“No, she wants to keep the baby. I’m going to help her.”
“That’s going to be tough for both of you, but if that’s what you feel is right, we’re behind you all the way.”
We met the baby when she was three months old, and I fell in love immediately. Fancifully, I thought of her as the fetus I had aborted all those years before, now finding a different way to come into my life.
In the years since the baby’s birth, I’ve given frequent silent thanks that our now daughter-in-law had been wise enough not to have an abortion. Otherwise, we never would have had the wonderful experience of knowing and loving and watching this child grow to adulthood.