Wanda’s story, or Another Reality Check

So yeah, new stories are up-not the usual twenty because a couple didn’t meet criteria (um, have the abortion first and then send the site your story). What follows here was one of them, but I felt it was so powerful it needed to get attention. I contacted Wanda to get her permission to post it here, and she wrote back to tell me that she wrote her story in response to an article in the student paper at the university where she works where the author claimed that his best friend would have been aborted had it been legal (insert eyeroll here). I have made no changes to what she wrote.

I was 19. I was married. We didn’t plan to get pregnant and I was on the pill. Unfortunately, the pill wasn’t 100% effective. It was 1974, the year after Roe v. Wade.

Regrettably I didn’t watch the news because the news had always been Vietnam or Watergate so it ranged from the horrible to the tedious. I didn’t realize that there was anything relevant to my life to be gleaned from being informed. For example: abortion is now a legal option for young women and couples.

My story isn’t about having an abortion and not regretting it. My story is that I didn’t have an abortion and how much I regret it. If I could have a time machine to go back and change just ONE thing in my life, it would be to get an abortion. That one thing would change everything. I didn’t know it was an option. My doctor never mentioned it. Everybody was all congratulatory and happy about my pregnancy. They wouldn’t go through all the life altering consequences of never-ending responsibility for which I was not ready.

So when I’d been 20-years-old for 5 days I gave birth to a 7 lb. 13 oz. bundle of life changing problems. When he was 2-years-old we were told he was severely retarded. He wasn’t, but he did have learning disabilities. He has mild Cerebral Palsy that we didn’t know about until he was grown up. He also has ADHD. He was in trouble all the time. He is legally blind without glasses. He drooled and was shaky. He didn’t walk until he was almost two. My husband and I were not ready for any of this, either emotionally or financially.

When I got pregnant we were barely making it in a big city away from home. Almost a year after I had the baby, we had to move back to my hometown where both of our parents were living. This was another big mistake, but it was the only way we could survive at the time.

After that one time I never got pregnant again. I got an IUD and later my husband had a vasectomy. “Fool me once, I can’t get fooled again” to paraphrase GW Bush.

My life would have been so different if I’d aborted the fetus. I suffered from postpartum depression that I don’t think ever completely went away. I would not wish on my worst enemy the depression and stress that came with having this special needs child who I never wanted and could never love.

He would not have suffered the consequences of having a mother who was unable to love him because every time she looked at him all she wished was that he’d never been born. He’s now a 33-year-old self-medicating alcoholic living off of his grandmother. He has a job, but the money goes to feed his drinking and smoking habits. When grandma dies, he’ll probably be one of those people under a bridge. The world wouldn’t have missed out on Einstein or Mozart if I’d had an abortion, that’s for sure.

Even if he hadn’t had all the physical and mental problems, I would have resented him. I used to wish he’d be kidnapped or get hit by a car even while I was admonishing him not to speak to strangers and to look both ways. I wish I’d never gotten pregnant, I wish I would have had an abortion, I wish I could go back in time and change my life!

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.