Around the latest protests in Poland on the near-total ban on abortion, I thought about writing the story of a mother that experienced a failed abortion and of a child that came to be a burden for her family.
In Romania, a country still echoing from the communist regime, when people were still grasping for a breath of liberty, in 1998, a middle-aged depressed woman was forced to give birth. At the age of almost 40 years old, she had hoped that the heart beating in her womb was just premature menopause. Finding out the truth way too late to do a self-induced abortion, she had to carry out the pregnancy. The woman hoped for an unexpected pregnancy loss as she moved the furniture around the apartment, as she smoked contraband cigarettes and drunk cheap alcoholic beverages.
A Christmas full of surprises
Three days before Christmas, while the entire family was preparing for the holiday, the woman had to sneak out of her mother’s house as she started feeling contractions. She traveled by bus, and on that bus, her water broke. She reached home; she laid down on the kitchen floor, gave birth, and then she took the baby in her arms. The baby was disgusting, covered in blood, crying from the top of his underdeveloped lungs. She took a kitchen knife, and she cut the umbilical cord. She then went to the bathroom, the baby’s cry was still as loud as an unwanted memory. She couldn’t believe what she was about to do, but she couldn’t bear that cry any longer. The woman’s head was full of regrets over killing the baby. If only she had found out sooner about the pregnancy…
When she found the courage to accept the thought of ending the misery of this pure creature, her alcoholic husband appeared. His sight and mind were covered with the alcohol’s veil and he didn’t realize what was going on. He just saw his wife, after a long time, holding a baby above the toilet. He was happy, `Another baby! ` he screamed joyfully, thinking of a new beginning.
She was frozen. She couldn’t accept what she had intended to do. And as the baby stopped crying, her silent scream grew unbearable inside her chest. She didn’t want this baby, she never felt like being a mother. Her maternal instincts were never there, even if this was her third time giving birth.
Growing up in a dysfunctional family
Later on, she went to the hospital and stayed there, as the child was born prematurely. They forced her to take care of a baby she never wanted to feed, hug, or kiss. She felt so guilty… The thought of leaving the baby there flourished. But she didn’t. She went home with a baby she could barely look at. She left her 18 years old daughter to take care of the baby. The mother ran away to her mother’s house. The oldest daughter had to take care of her family comprising a full time working dad, her 13 years old brother, and this newborn. The woman passed the burden and sank herself in alcohol. The father died shortly after.
Everything would have been different if she had benefited from a medical check-up when she first noticed the changes in her body and she could do the abortion. If only she had talked to someone about her situation, someone that would have truly listened to her. If only she had not gone through so many self-induced abortions. Maybe then, nobody would have had to suffer and her family would have been less dysfunctional.
Confessions of the unwanted baby
I am the baby born on the kitchen floor. I barely knew my mother. My sister adopted me when I was almost 13, and I was raised in a dysfunctional family. But from the little time I got to spend with my mother, I felt love and understanding for her. She was depressed; she was an alcoholic; she wasn’t happy with her family or her status. But nobody ever listened to her, so she buried her secrets. She passed away depressed, lonely, and full of regrets, years after the events. But from the moments I got to spend with her, I could tell she was a good person, that didn’t get the help that she so desperately needed.
So, as an unwanted child, I am happy I have the chance to share my story, but what if my scream hadn’t disgusted my mother so badly? What if I had been born in a family that was thrilled to have me? What if my own mother didn’t torture herself so much. What if I didn’t have to feel all this unhappiness? During my childhood, I was a burden: my mother didn’t know how to raise me, and neither did my sister.
The victims of society
I am sure that my mother would have been happier if the communist regime hadn’t forced her to give birth. Abortion should be a human right. I am sure that she would have had sweet dreams and not nightmares about newborn babies crying.
Abortions don’t end lives, but unwanted births destroy over one life.