Story has been adapted to honor privacy.
One really beautiful summer morning as I drove to work, resplendent sun rays were generously showering warmth and love over everything they embraced. I felt very blessed to be in that moment. Reluctantly, I walked towards my office, for yet another day in the cemented jungle!
My first appointment was a young Mama to be for the first time. As I put my Doppler on her belly to listen to the baby inside. The room was filled with loud gallops coming from a little heart learning to beat. This brought a big smile to her face and tears to her eyes… I said to her “Does it feel real now that you have another heart beating inside of you besides your own.” She smiled “yes!” My friend said to me yesterday “Finally you’ll experience unconditional love.”
“I am not sure if it is completely unconditional though!” I said.
“Really! Why do you say so?” She asked.
“My dear! Our brain has a limited capacity to think and so we develop biases to male our life easy and inadvertently we subject our relationships including our children to these biases. Hence, our love is conditional to these expectations that we have of our children.
After she left, the word “unconditional” kept haunting me for a while. If the key to an effective relationship is satisfying mutual needs then it can’t be unconditional. Why is there such a craving for unconditional love? Is it a way to escape responsibility for our contribution to the relationship?
My memory floated back to my little mama, Stacey. I met Stacey sometime two summers ago, for prenatal care. She came in to see me with her mother.
Stacy was in her late teens and due to contraceptive failure, she was now pregnant. Obviously, not prepared for this pregnancy. To add to her misery the pregnancy test failed her too! By the time she went to the ultrasound, the baby had a heartbeat. Stacy was planning an abortion but upon seeing the baby’s little heart beating, she could not bring herself to kill her baby.
Stacy, walked into my office followed by her mother. There was a palpable tension between the two. Copious big tears rolled down her cheeks smudging her eyeliner. I offered her some tissue. She continued to sniff and sob into the tissue.
“Are you ok my dear?” I asked.
“I’m ok.” she sobbed through the response.
“How can I help you, Stacy?” I asked.
“She wants an abortion,” her mother said sternly.
“Ok!” I said and produced a sheet of all clinics that offer abortion services.
As I gave it to her, “I went to this third clinic on the list.” she said breaking in between big sobs. What happened there” I said.
“They turned me away.” “Why?” I inquired, trying to make sense of the situation.
“I started to cry as I saw a baby with a little heartbeat on the ultrasound, the doctor said I was not ready for the procedure.”
“Oh! I am so sorry to hear that this has been so difficult for you. Abortion can be hard for some women.”
“Oh, Senorita! That thing in there is just the size of a grain and doesn’t feel anything, you need to abort,” her mother pushed in again.
“But that is not a grain, it is a human being with a heart that is beating,” Stacy said.
“Senorita you are very young, you have a big long life where you can have as many babies as you want.”
“I won’t abort she said, I won’t kill my baby.”
“Oh Senorita, if you don’t want to abort, then give this baby up for adoption.”
“I am not giving my baby to no one, it is my responsibility and I will take care of the baby,” she said.
“Good Lord! I am not sure if the young woman understands what she is getting into?” I said to myself.
“Stacy’s father and I want Stacy to finish university first and get a job before she has a baby.” Her mother continued.
“If she wants to have this baby then she will be on her own, we can’t have her at home.” So saying she got up to leave ” Stace, I will be waiting for you in the car.”
“Stacy is this baby’s father supportive of this,” I asked.
“No, he wants me to abort.”
“Do you care for him?”
“Does he care for you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Where is this relationship going?”
“Nowhere, we knew we were not going to be together.”
Clearly, at this point you do not have resources to parent a child, so we need a plan. I could connect you to community resources that may support you to have food and shelter. But in order to support a good lifestyle, eventually, when the baby is little older you may have to go back to school and get a job.”
“I know,” she said.
“I want to support you to understand your parent’s anger and frustration. Your parents are worried about you and most parents would react similarly.”
“Hmm “I get it” she responded.
“Most parents assume, completing education and having a job before starting a family will make your life easy. Whether this assumption will hold true for you or not only time can tell.”
“I have thought a lot about it, I want this baby,” She said.
Alright! If you are making this choice, then don’t assume that you are lost. There are a lot of successful women who educate themselves after starting a family. Although, having a baby is a lot of work but it also has rewards. Motherhood renders a certain strength on a woman that is unmatched by any other experience in life.
Life is a set of challenges. Whenever we navigate the challenge well, reward is a happy fulfilling life. It leaves us feeling stronger, wiser, and well equipped to deal with all subsequent challenges. Maybe, this is the challenge you have picked to live through and learn.
So let us start with prenatal care for you. “You’ll be seeing me every four weeks and here is your next appointment.” If you change your mind about this let me know.
As I was driving home, Stacy’s big eyes with big drops of tears kept returning to my memory. She was different, most young women would resort to an abortion and live with an unresolved conflict. She had not developed the immunity to override her inner experience to embrace conditioned culturally prompted choices.
I could understand her parent’s concerns about having a baby in this situation. But I don’t understand, how does the decision to abandon their child in this situation address this issue? Their decision appeared to be driven by the anger in response to a conflict. And this conflict arose from an unmet need for expected outcome in the given situation.
As a community, if we advocate for greater sexual freedom today. Then supporting the fallout of the right to sexual freedom should also be a part of the community responsibility. Translating to empowerment for parents supporting their children with these needs. Abortion may not be acceptable to everyone, it is definitely not an alternative to good sexual hygiene.
In my experience, body is a temple that houses our soul and our soul is the seat of divine in us. The divinity in us compels us to reflect on all our actions. When our inner experience is not compatible with our external actions. We feel compelled to run away from ourselves all the time, resulting in a relentless race against our own self.
This made me respect Stacey’s decision, she was a little mama that lived through her conviction and accepted a very big challenge.
She inspired me to say “Dear mother divine give me the wisdom to listen to my inner voice and strength to be truthful to myself. So I may never go away from you.”
I will continue this story……..