A Letter to My Unborn Daughter #MyAbortionStory
My friend and I got pregnant around the same time, her little one is 6 years old, mine has not been born yet. I stopped talking to mine a long time ago, even though I started since the test came back positive and for years after the abortion.
I do not remember if it was my friend who posted Alejandra Guzman’s “Yo te esperaba” video on her Facebok wall, or she shared it with me via inbox…Maybe I sent it to her. The issue with human memory is that the simplest thing (a smell, a song) can trigger emotional memories in a way that gives me the chills. Regardless of how much time has passed or how far both my pregnancy and abortion seem, listening to the son Guzman wrote for her daughter Frida during her own pregnancy has the unfailing power of bending me onto the floor in tears.
I with I never questioned my decision. I wish I was certain it was the right one from the start, not having gotten attached and not to have toyed with possible names. I wish it had been easier, before and after. I did not grow up in a Catholic home (can’t say the same for the society) so my guilt has nothing to do with the fear of burning in hell, or have disappointed God. At this point the opinion others might have of my own reality doesn’t hurt me. I clearly understand that those who really love me would support me (even if they don’t necessarily agree with you) and the rest don’t matter, not really, especially because nobody walks in someone else’s shoes.
I was in the middle of the street, holding hands with my boyfriend at the time, when a homeless woman approached me. I thought she would ask for money.
“It’s going to be really nice this girl,” was all she said. Drug addicts are really crazy, I thought.
Couple of days later my boyfriend’s mom knocked on his bedroom door one morning, breakfast was ready.
“Mija, Are you pregnant?” She asked looking straight into my eyes, as if trying to read between the lines of my words. Another one with the same story, I thought.
“No, how can you think that?” I replied.
“Hay mija, I can see it in your eyes,” she insisted.
That night I dreamed of my daughter. A girl with crazy hair waddled dancing to the rhythm of “Yo nací Orisha”. I woke up sure of my pregnancy, sweaty and with a smile on my face that passed me instantly. His side of the bed was empty and I knew what that meant: he had escaped to smoke crack.
In the morning I woke up vomiting and hating the smell of egg. It seemed incredible and very natural how my body was screaming my pregnancy from the rooftops. But it was still unconfirmed. I had no money to get the test so I called my other angel, my best friend, and told her.
“I’m going to be an aunt?” She asked in excitement. “I will deposit some money into your bank account in my lunch hour, so you can go get tested,” she added.
I went alone, even though since the previous night had the profound feeling of being accompanied. They took my blood and did the ultrasound.
“Congratulations, you are five weeks pregnant,” said the nurse who gave me the results and asked if I wanted to make an appointment to begin prenatal.
“I have no money,” I told her.
“Well for start taking folic acid for now, that is the most important.”
I went to the pharmacy and bought folic acid. I rubbed my belly and began to talk to my daughter like I always thought that adults should talk to little people, truthfully.
“Hay hija,” I said. “I’m afraid, my love, it’s not that I don’t want you, of course I want you, I just don’t know if now is the best time to meet each other.”
That afternoon I went to his house, like almost every day since we started dating five weeks ago. I said nothing. I gave him the pregnancy test and the ultrasound.
“I’m going to be a dad,” he said with a huge smile.
“I’m pregnant.” I corrected, thinking to myself that it was not the same.
Not sure why I insisted on talking to the girl, ultimately it was pure torture to me that since I had not yet decided what I was going to do. It was impossible not to talk to her, she was there, so present. She screamed through my nausea, telling me with a permanent craving for chips that she had such a strong personality like mine and showing up in my dreams at every chance she got. I felt her with every fiber of my being and he was in seven heavens thinking he was going to be a dad.
“Let’s buy the pills, just in case,” I said one Saturday morning.
He said he didn’t want to, but we went anyways. Up on the hill there was a drugstore where they would sell you anything, with no formula, as long as they knew you. He knew the gay very well, before the crack and him became inseparable lovers he had been there a hundred times, buying psychiatric pills.
“Look mami, you take these four and you insert the other four down there. Keep legs up and take rude and lulo juice to thoroughly clean your body,” the guy said while smiling. I felt like vomiting as I put the pills in my purse.
That evening I called my mom, like I always do when I’m not sure which path to take.
“I don’t know what to tell your sweetie,” she said to me with all the love in the world. “The problem I see is how you will support a baby, I don’t have that much money to send you.”
That night he had a show and the girl decided to start a revolution in my body that wouldn’t allow me to even move. I lay in bed that felt more like a boat and asked him to please come home right after he was done. Right in the middle of point A and point B was his favorite crack house.
“The Concert was over three hours,” his friend said when he finally answered. “His phone was off and I was hoping the two of them were together. “I had to come home and he told me he was going straight to your house.’
The scene was terribly familiar, only then it hurt for two. The windows in the living room overlooked the main street, my eyes scanned the night shadows trying to discover his slim figure, every two seconds I heard the sound of keys. It was always my desire, tricking my senses.
At 2 am I feel down the bathroom floor, screaming in pain.
“Chiquita Forgive me, forgive me,” I said to the girl, pulling out the pills from my purse.
He arrived at 5 in the morning, making a scene on the first floor because he had lost the keys. He shouted at the downstairs neighbor to let him in, he needed to see his wife and son, he said.
“My wife is pregnant,” his demonic voice shouted until my neighbor, thinking he was drunk, let him in.
He found me lying on the bathroom floor, on fetal position. He lifted me up and got me to the bed.
“Don’t cry,” he said. “Do not cry mami, I’m going to look after you and the baby. I’m sorry I’m late, I had a couple of beers.” His breath distilled of crack.
“There is no baby anymore,” I cried. “She’s dying little by little.”
I spent all night bleeding and hurting. He lay beside me sobbing but without shedding a tear, he had never been able to cry.
Ring, ring, ring.
At eight o’clock the phone rang, it was my mom, who had not been able to sleep.
“Sweetie, I was up all night thinking. Look hun, if you want to have the baby then keep it, I look for ways to help you, to send you money.” Her words just finished me.
I continued to talk to the girl for months, increasingly less from a place of guilt and increasingly from one of love. I explained that my decision was a loving one, and it had nothing to do with her, I loved her since the first time I dreamed about her, but the circumstances for her arrival were not the best ones. I was scared thinking she could be born an addict, as was his father and grandfather too. I feared having no means to feed her. I had failed to get a job so far and my nervous system was a ticking time bomb that quicken whenever he run away to smoke crack. I was alone, away from my mother, my brother and the people who could give us a hand. I did not want to bring her to the world to make her my only reason for living. That was too much of a heavy burden for such a small being. I promised that we would meet later, in a much better situation for her and for me. I promised to look after me, my body, my soul and build an environment where she and I and another father could be happy.
My soul still tears up into strips every time I hear Alejandra Guzman’s song, but it makes me smile to think that I will be able to keep my promise to my unborn child.