Vie Medical Clinic
In July of 2007, 6 months after turning 20 years old and right before my junior year of college, I found out I was pregnant. Needless to say, it was not planned.
The relationship I was in had just ended and things were shaky on that front. My ex was free spirited, irresponsible and heavily into substance use, which was fine for a boyfriend in my opinion — fun even — but what kind of father would he be? What kind of husband? This wasn't the way I imagined a happy, successful family life…come to think of it, I HADN'T imagined myself being a parent, or even having a "family" in the common sense of the word. What kind of mother would I be? Would I be able to put another person first?
My reaction to the immediate situation was childish. I didn't tell my parents. I didn't want to deal with the confrontation; I knew how upset and dramatic they would be. In my head, I could already hear their response: they didn't "raise" me to get pregnant before I was married. This kind of situation didn't happen to nice, upper-middle class girls like me. What an embarrassment. Blah, blah, blah. I didn't want to hear their opinions or solutions as to what I considered "my" business. I even considered not telling them at all…just letting my belly grow and letting them draw their own conclusions.
I thought about having an abortion, but I couldn't bring myself to dial the number of an abortion clinic and make an appointment. I guess the thought of just "taking care of it" in that way was too permanent. The problem was that ANY choice I made was going to be permanent. I had never before been faced with such an immediately life-changing decision…I had to make a choice, and I didn't have much time in which to do it.
My parents eventually learned of my pregnancy through the grapevine. When they confronted me about the rumor, I simply replied, "Don't worry about it. I'm just going to have an abortion. It'll be as if you never knew." They were definitely as disappointed as I had imagined they would be, but I was surprised when they actually encouraged me to explore all of my options before having an abortion. They requested that I visit a women's resource center and talk to someone about adoption and parenting before making a final decision. I agreed since I was already failing to come to my own conclusion.
In early August, my mom accompanied me to the Vie Medical Clinic. I expected to get a referral to an abortion clinic; instead, I spoke with a volunteer who informed me of abortion risks and procedures, and I was given another pregnancy test to confirm the result. (Yep, still knocked up.) It was a lot to swallow. To my surprise, I was offered an ultrasound. I accepted out of curiosity; thinking that if I went ahead and had an abortion, I would never make it to the doctor to see what this pregnancy was made of.
I was unprepared for the sudden change of heart that came along with having the ultrasound. When I saw the tiny movements of my baby on the monitor, it was suddenly concrete for me…this wasn't some alien parasitic fetus who had taken up residence in my uterus — no, this was MY fetus! This was MY child! Even though the baby was only a moving dot, it was somehow endearing to me. I learned that if I continued this pregnancy, that is let it thrive, I would be having a baby in March — the 11th to be exact.
At that point, I knew abortion was out of the question. My baby had been made real to me, no longer an abstract concept…I don't think I could have dealt with actually going to an abortion clinic and paying some schmuck hundreds of dollars to suck the "pregnancy" out of my body, only to pay some other schmuck hundreds of dollars more in therapy for the rest of my life to deal with the trauma of it all. I was still in a pickle, but I felt better having eliminated at least one option.
I returned to Vie later in the month to discuss adoption. I met several times with a woman named Jennifer who had placed her baby with an adoptive family years ago. We discussed numerous topics on the subject, and it was so therapeutic for me to have a non-biased ear to bounce thoughts and concerns off of. I ultimately decided against adoption. I started to embrace the idea of being a mother and gradually became more comfortable with the concept that I had everything I needed to be a good one.
On March 4th, 2008, my daughter Eden entered the world. She was 20 inches long and she weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces. I couldn't believe it. I had never seen anyone more beautiful. I was still thrown for a loop when the nurses handed her to me. Knowing you're pregnant and going to have a baby is one thing, but physically holding her in your arms is another matter entirely. I didn't know I had the capacity to love someone as much as I love my daughter. She is my world.