This was something I’ve never shared. I guess all these years of it inside me it deserves to be honored and let go. At 18 years old on Valentine’s Day I was given a gift that at the time didn’t seem like a gift.
When I was 18 I woke up Valentine’s Day pregnant and by the end of the day I was not. As I write this tears flood from my eyes. I remember the day in pieces. I remember the doctors being so kind to me and when they were working on me to break the tension we joked about what I had eaten for lunch (my boyfriend had made chili dogs).
“What a sweet boyfriend.” they were saying.
It was a hot dog and chili from a can thrown on top.
I also remember needing Apple juice that day because my blood sugar had dropped rapidly; I can still see the box, the straw. The feeling of loss. I don’t remember any pain at all, I blocked it from my memory, I can’t find it. I remember things like sharing a recovery room with a girl who was also pregnant but wasn’t anymore. My heart hurting for her and I wonder if today does she remember that day long ago? I remember. I remember you my stranger friend. I remember your curly black hair and those beautiful gold rings on your fingers. The child in me was thinking, ‘are we allowed to talk?’
I stared into space for a bit, then I said hello, and we started to talk. I remember seeing her holding her tummy knowing she had also suffered a loss of some kind. As we talked I learned she had 2 kids at home and this was her 3rd loss and she was married and 23 years old. I was thinking this has to be hard for her.
Going home that day my boyfriend had got me this huge Winnie the Pooh bear and that night I recall sleeping on his pullout couch, heartbroken crying myself to sleep. I never told a soul, I was pregnant, I was young, scared, and in denial. I just wanted the nightmare over. I was relieved no one ever had to know. The shame I would have caused my family: pregnant and unmarried, still a teen; it would have been more painful than this loss. Only I had to suffer this. No one else was going to suffer now. The stress was gone, replaced with emptiness and shame.
Through the years I’ve brushed it off like “that happened, end of story.” When it happens to other women I think “whatever, it is what it is, get over it, I did” every time denying the pain I had experienced, denying other people’s pain.
The next day I called up the business school that I would eventually attend and talked to a counselor. I was holding back my tears, still raw from the loss. At the time I needed that. What I didn’t know then was my boyfriend, he would later go on to abuse me mentally and physically. The relationship ended with me leaving him and nobody understanding why. It is because those things you don’t tell people, you hide them and you move on. I always thought “what a relief I’m so glad the baby was never born. What a mess my life would have been.”
Never looking back at the pain.
If he would have been born, I would have been stuck in that relationship. I would have a child in an abusive relationship repeating the cycle. The way I protected my boyfriend (by not telling people about him and his behavior) no one would ever know. I would be way worse off than I am right now. I would have never gone to business school. I would have never had the opportunities I’ve had in life and I wouldn’t be here today to tell this story.
Today, I am so happy! My soul is filled with so much love now. I have a beautiful godson and nephews, I adore. Even though at 18 I suffered a huge loss, it is because of that loss I gained so much more.
I sit here crying comforting myself telling myself that this was OK, and that I’m safe now.
Sometimes self-love is releasing ourselves from stories that bind us, letting those tears flow and saying thank you.