Please. Look at me.
Stop staring at the screen, or your finger nails, or that spot on the wall beyond my right shoulder and LOOK AT ME.
I know you’re usually here to support women who are happy when they see a plus sign on a pregnancy test.
I know you smile with them when you discover the twinkling heartbeat on the ultrasound monitor, or hear horses galloping with a doppler.
I know you squeeze their hand with genuine sorrow when there’s only an empty yolk sack. Or only silence.
You don’t get a lot of women like me in your office. So I want to help you understand how to deal with me, because I get it: This isn’t “usual.” This isn’t “standard.” This isn’t what you signed up for.
You probably signed up for the job because you wanted to help bring life into the world, and… well, I’m asking you to do the opposite.
(This isn’t usual or standard for me, either.)
God I’m sorry and I’ve been screaming these words in my head ever since I wept on the cold bathroom floor looking at the sign of life on that stick I had just peed on.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry I’m sorry. Oh God I’m so sorry,”
But. You’re the doctor.
And I need you right now because for my own reasons — which I might share with you, or I might not, I don’t want this baby.
Please. Look at me.
Maybe my eyes are shining with tears. Or maybe they’re sunken and weary. Maybe I’m biting the top of my lip — I do that when I’m scared. Maybe I”m smiling like a lopsided emoticon :-/ I do that when I”m ashamed.
I want you to see that I’m a woman whose really feeling now. I may have done a stupid thing, but I am not stupid. And even if I’m numb right now, I can feel it there beneath the shock… And if I can’t, then I know it’ll hurt later And if that doesn’t happen, maybe I’m terrified that I’m fucked up and broken.
I wish you wouldn’t ask me about birth control, because obviously, here I am. It didn’t work. But if you need to for medical reasons, Please:
If I tell you I was on the pill, please don’t ask if I missed one. Say instead: “These things happen.”
If I tell you I have an IUD, please don’t assume it fell out and I didn’t notice. Say instead: “These things happen.”
If I tell you I use condoms, don’t raise one eye brow and say “oh really?” Say instead: “These things happen.”
These things happen.
Look at me.
I hate that I’m sitting here in front of you while you stare at your screen, or your hands, or beyond me like I’m not there.
Look at me.
Nobody is “pro-abortion.” Just like nobody is “anti-life.”
Nobody celebrates a decision like this — even if there’s a feeling of sweet relief, nobody is happy when they walk out of your office.
Please. Remember, I’m hormonal – just like all the happy pregnant women in your office who cry for no reason, who want pickles and ice cream in the middle of the night because PREGNANT! Only I can’t FEEL these feelings like they can. I have to pretend they’re not there, because if I let myself feel them and revel in them, in the changes my body is going through, it’ll be too hard to say to you
“I don’t want to be pregnant. Is that ok?”
Look at me. I need your help.
You aren’t bringing the new life I’m carrying into the world, you’re going to end it. But…. you are bringing me back from a dark and scary place… No, I won’t be the same. Even if I say I am, that it’s no big deal, that nothing’s changed, it is a big deal and I will think of this again and I will remember the doctor who sat in front of me, and saw a woman — a real woman — and told her gently “it’s going to be OK. And until it is, I’m here to help you.”