Short Story Tuesday: 22 weeks

feet

The ground was slippery as I rushed into the building. The rains from the night before had finally abated, so at least my head was dry. The Catholics were praying at the corner of the street, holding their rosaries. At least there weren’t any of those crazy protestors this morning. I had called the clinic to ask if they would be. The women had assured me they only came two days a week, so I chose a day that they wouldn’t be there.

The baby kicked my ribs. I had just started feeling those little movements a few weeks ago. It always made me nauseous. It didn’t help, because my stomach was already in knots. I’d argued with my boyfriend for weeks about this. He wanted the baby. I didn’t. Yet there was something about the decision that seemed…off. If it was true that this procedure was no different than any other minor surgery, like a gallbladder removal, why did I feel the baby inside of me? I didn’t want to know the gender. Yet…why was there a gender? Boy or girl? No one ever asked if your appendix was a boy or a girl. Those had been my boyfriends arguments. And now, they resurfaced as I adjusted my coat in the waiting room.

The room was full already. The baby bumps were obvious, and the mothers kept their eyes down. I took it all in. Their scared faces. Their bored faces. Their faces that scrunched up as they patted their bellies, as if in pain or discomfort. Maybe their babies kicked them, too.

Baby. Babies. Why did I think of it like that? I edged toward the door. Maybe this had been a bad idea. It wasn’t like I was completely incapable of caring for another being. I’d been taking care of my drunk of a mom for years. Yet finally I was doing something for myself…going to school. And then I got impregnated by Cole. Jerk. Didn’t want to use protection. “Just once!” he had said.

I was almost out the door before I even realized it. The baby kicked again.

“Hello.” I jumped and turned to look out the door. A woman stood in the cold, breath visible in the air as she exhaled. “I’m a sidewalk counselor. I’m here to help. Please, don’t kill your baby. Have you thought about adoption instead?”

I hesitated. Yes, I had thought about it. But the process seemed so…daunting.

The baby kicked again. I stepped out towards the woman as she smiled gently at me. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ll help you along the way.”

 

***

Within the last two weeks, Democrats have blocked legislation that would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks. Whatever your thoughts on human life, the United States remains only one of seven countries that have not passed such laws. The other countries are Vietnam, China, North Korea, the Netherlands, Canada (most provinces don’t allow it after 12 weeks), and Singapore. 191 other nations have abortion restrictions for under 20 weeks. This story was inspired by Baby Rowan. Read his story here, if you dare.

Want to make a difference? Volunteer at your local pregnancy center, or stand on the front lines to help scared mothers. Can’t do either? Perhaps donate to a center, or support a full time abolitionist.