Congratulations, she said.

It didn’t dawn on me until recently. I was sitting in traffic, singing the wrong words to the wrong tune of Maggie Roger’s “Light On” and suddenly I knew. I knew exactly what she was talking about.

Would you believe me now
If I told you I got caught up in a wave?
Almost gave it away
Would you hear me out
If I told you I was terrified for days?
Thought I was gonna break

Oh, I couldn’t stop it
Tried to slow it all down
Crying in the bathroom
Had to figure it out
With everyone around me saying
“You must be so happy now”

Light On, Maggie Rogers

November 13th, 2019 at 4:26 PM CST was the moment my life changed forever.

24 minutes before I was supposed to be clocked in and ready to rumble at my restaurant job, my take on the world and what I believed to be my impossible fate in it was confirmed actually, quite possible, and happening far too f*cking fast at the utmost inconvenient of f*cking times.

It’s funny…how timing really is everything, isn’t it?

I’d been canned at my full-time job a few weeks earlier. And on top of the mental and emotional turmoil wrapped up in that epic fail, my relationship was either busting at the seams or blowing up in front of my face at any given moment, too.

There was no in-between or “even-keeled” about me during those days. It was chaos or darkness and my sympathetic nervous system was operating in overdrive more often than not. I was experiencing high turbulence and headwinds under both wings.

It was only a matter of time until all of these personal emergencies would finally catch up with me.

Since the day I found out I was 9 weeks pregnant and a handful of days after that, when I ultimately made the decision to terminate the pregnancy with a surgical abortion, I’ve had a countless number of even tougher conversations with myself.

Do I regret it?

No.

Does it still bring me to tears from time to time, with no warning whatsoever?

Absolutely.

Congratulations, she said.

Her.

The poor, so well-intentioned but ill-equipped nurse who was tasked with greeting me at my second of several exams. I describe it this way because I’m pretty sure she arrived to the worst resting b*tch face I’ve ever worn, even to this day.

The scowl on my face that morning was no joke. I’m sure of it.

I showed up to the appointment alone, shocked, confused, and terrified of what might lay ahead. It would be a long journey, so long, in fact, it left more than 5 doctors scratching their heads before it was all said and done.

No matter how many blog threads I read, written carefully by the many women who came before me, nothing prepares you for it. No amount of heartwrenching literature or cumulative suffering. The collection of stories. Every message board and online forum I came across. They were heartbreaking and each one in its own way.

Because it’s not a universal experience. And thank goodness for that, I wouldn’t wish what I went through upon my worst enemy.

Not even Candace O.

But anyway, yes, back to that poor woman who cheerfully entered the room of gloom to congratulate me on what she must’ve thought was fantastic news given my age and marital status, this was what every 25-year-old woman in a long-term relationship could want.

That’s why they call it a bundle of joy, not a bundle of b*tch face, isn’t it!?

Wrong.

Not in this case. I was not blissfully pregnant. I was pissed off and petrified.

Looking back, I think what scared me most, more so than the potential physical taxation, was the emotional weight of the decision. It was heavier.

And there was a brief moment in time when I wanted to go through with the pregnancy. Somewhere between her congratulations and my boyfriend’s excitement, I found myself contemplating; maybe I could rise to the occasion of motherhood and everything would be okay. Maybe I had it in me to say screw it to what everyone else might think, this is my problem, and how I choose to handle it is my business.

Could they be right? Is this something to be excited about? Is this the moment I’ve actually been waiting for all along, too? The one where I forfeit all of the hopes and dreams I’ve collected and cling to, for the sake of something greater than myself?

Ultimately, of course, I chose to pursue my hopes and dreams. Motherhood just wasn’t in the cards for me at that point in time.

There have been days since when I’ve been disappointed with myself for not rising to the occasion. Times I’ve felt guilty for not believing in us, for being selfish and for letting the one person I loved more than anything in the world, down. It’s on those days when I feel like although I’ve earned the successes I’ve had despite everything, I still don’t deserve them yet.

So what does it all mean at the end of the day? Well, like my grandpa always said, life is just a series of problem solving.

Humans live life to learn lessons. I think the biggest takeaway from my whole experience is:

Find something you’d die for in this world, and live for it. Because the great love we all seek to find is built, not found.

That pretty much sums up my new perspective on the purpose of our time here.

And there have been so many moments of joy and triumph that have come along with the waves of grief and guilt. Moments where I’ve stumbled into people, places, challenges, and opportunities that have changed my trajectory and launched me forward. Many experiences I probably wouldn’t have had the option to collect, otherwise. I am constantly being reminded of how lucky I am to have had access to the healthcare I did, and how important it is to appreciate those glimmers of light in the day-to-day.

Light because of things like hard choices. The tough decisions.

I would not have the life I do right now if it wasn’t for my right and liberty to make that life-changing decision. I am inexplicably grateful for where my life is at today because of it, and that I’ve spent the last two years learning the joys of fur motherhood – as I care for my fur baby and not a human one.

I’ve spent a lot of time and energy seeking answers. Looking for clarity. Questioning why. Wondering how. Asking what next and then cursing the universe when I came out empty-handed. Life will happen to you. It will weather you. And sometimes you won’t understand why. But to be human is to be breakable. And some of the hardest seasons of our life are meant to lead us towards a new truth. You have the tools. You have the power. So keep on elbowing your way through the noise. Maybe an answer you weren’t even looking for is sitting on the other side of confusion.

Santa Ana, CA – December 2019.

And for the record, I’ve been cursing the universe a heck of a lot less these days.

That in and of itself, is worth something.

I’ll close by dedicating this one to my unborn — thank you for everything, you were a blessing and a gift. I will carry the memory of you in the corners of my heart, forever.

If love is a labor, I’ll slave to the end.

Swing Life Away, Rise Against.

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