There are moments in life that unequivocally change everything, whether by fate, or God, or a conscious decision made, after that minute passes, your life has changed so completely you will never be the same because of it. My most significant moment happened so long ago, it seems like it was a past life. But as these moments go, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the summer of my 21st year, I was terrifically reckless and hopelessly in love with life. I lived in my parents’ vacation home at the beach, I barely worked and college had become a distant memory. I had an awesome group of friends to spend the lazy days and wild nights with, and we partied like we were the last rock stars on Earth. My place was a revolving door of roommates, party crashers and couch-surfers. It was an amazing, magical and crazy fun time.
And then I got pregnant.
I had been dating the guy on and off for a few months, though I had invited
him to move in the night I met him. It wasn’t serious, he was a drummer in a band, I loved musicians, and we had a lot of fun together, but he would never be “the one”. And through some stupid twist of fate (and maybe one tequila shot too many) I was pregnant with his kid. Clearly that was just not going to be something that would work for us.
I had the intention to go back to school someday, I had hopes and dreams for my future that could never come to be if I had a baby then. And in case I haven’t already painted clear enough of a picture, I was far from responsible. There was no way in hell I was equipped to raise a child at that age, it just couldn’t happen. Even on the nights when I lay in bed with my doubts and what-ifs, wondering about the possibilities, I still couldn’t see how it could work. I was angry at myself for being so heartbreakingly irresponsible, and already feeling guilt like I had never known before, but ultimately I saw no other way out.
I made the appointment when I was just shy of 12 weeks. The closest abortion clinic was a 45 minute tear filled drive away, the longest journey and shortest 45 minutes of my life. We walked past the picketers, the guy was with me, he held my hand, he tried to be supportive, but I know all that he felt was a greater sense of relief with each step we took. I left him in the full waiting room, I was quickly taken away, through doors and down halls.
They spoke to me, they asked me questions, they gave me a gown and I put it on. I felt like I was in a very bad dream and I was trying to keep track of the labyrinth of doors they took me through so I would know how to get back out. They brought me to a waiting room full of girls, laughing and chatting, comparing notes on how many times they had met Mr. Hoover. For real. I would imagine they were trying to comfort themselves, making it less important, less of a big deal, less bad, but I found no comfort in their indiscreet chatter. As I sat there in my gown, trying not to cry but failing miserably, I looked down at the desk next to me and saw the ultrasound of someone who had gone before, through the last door. In that moment, looking at this picture of a baby that would never be, I realized that the noise I was hearing was no longer the girls and their mindless quips. It was crying, but it wasn’t my own, it was coming from somewhere very deep inside of me.
And that was my moment, the one where I made the most important choice of my life. I got up and walked out. Through the doors and down the halls. I was going to have this baby. Holy. Crap. I found my clothes and dressed. I was going to be a Mom. They tried to stop me, to talk to me, they wanted to help me think things through, but it was too late. I was keeping the baby. I made my way out, back into the waiting room. I found the dad, he looked confused, I grabbed his hand and I didn’t speak until we were out of there. The crying from inside me had gone, and seemed to have been replaced with a seed of hope, the hum of strength, a sort of peace that could only come from the absolute certainty I was doing the right thing. I was going to have this baby. I didn’t care if I had to do it on my own. I didn’t care about the fact that I was choosing the much harder path. I didn’t care that this was not a part of the plan. This is what was meant to be.
My son is 17 now, and I have been thankful every single day of his life for that moment, the one that held the best decision that ever almost didn’t happen.