Brooklyn NY 1988. Newly Divorced, single, waiting tables, doing off-off Broadway. Restaurant Christmas party-a temp bartender who’d been flirting w me for 2 months walked me home…and left the next morning, never to return, and never to flirt w me again.
He moved in with another woman who also worked at the restaurant a couple weeks later.
Six weeks after the Christmas party, my parents were visiting, and I was sick in the mornings…and my breasts were growing so much I knew. I absolutely KNEW it. That was a long parental visit…
Planned Parenthood confirmed my knowing (no home pregnancy tests then). NO question in my mind I could not raise a child in my current situation and there was nowhere else for me to go. I was going to have an abortion. Most of the women I knew had had an abortion or knew someone who had.
I had to tell the bartender–I can’t remember the whole conversation now, but he asked me what I wanted to do, which I surely appreciated, and after I told him, offered to pay for the abortion. I accepted.
My room-mate rode w me in the cab to a clinic where protestors held enlarged pictures of fetus’ in different stages of development. It didn’t affect me at all: this tiny not even lima bean sized mass had no brain waves; it was in no way viable, and having a baby may be part of my future but not a part of my present. I had no qualms, no guilt, no fear. This had to be done and I had to get back to work as quickly as possible to earn the rent money.
When I woke up in the recovery room, it was filled with women on gurneys, also waking up. I made eye contact with the woman next to me. We couldn’t really move yet, but we locked eyes. In a few minutes I reached out my hand to her and she held it–and reached out her hand to the woman on the other side of her. ..That was quite a moment of solidarity, and acceptance, and responsibility and yes, courage. We spoke, lots of us spoke together, in the room where we had to sit and wait awhile, have juice after, regain .strength.
Not one woman spoke of feeling despair or guilt about her choice. Some were married, some not. We were all types of women, different colors and cultures and we hung there together,for that hour, unified. I am realizing now that perhaps it was that experience of mutual understanding and not judging that allowed me to never regret my decision.
My room-mate arrived back to pick me up; the protestors with pictures were gone now; it was afternoon. We got in a cab and went home and in two days I was back at work.
I’ve never been sorry; I’ve never felt guilt. And, I never had children. And I’ve not been unhappy with that either. Life unfolds and we unfold with it.