When I think about abortion I think about the people I know who have had missing family members because someone chose to abort a child.

Hard obsidian stories with no happy conclusions. Just a space where a child should have been.

The etymology and meaning of abortion is worth examining, not just for it’s history or boundaries but the duality of it’s meaning.

In medical terms a miscarriage is referred to as a “missed a-b” or an “a-b” that necessitates surgical extraction.

I have had one of each.

The first was a molar pregnancy.

I went to my first ultrasound expecting see filigree images of a little person. There were none. There were only signs of a child who had been there (however briefly), and the molar tissue left behind.

I knew something was wrong but no one–neither doctors nor techs, told me anything. I left the hospital dazed and a little apprehensive but did not “know for sure” that the baby was gone until I came home to my husband–a doctor himself. They had called him. His face told me everything.

I had to have a d-and-c. It was made less disorienting and painful because he broke protocol and talked to me and held my hand as they evacuated my uterus looking for baby tissue, scraping my insides to make sure no molar tissue remained.

My ob doc yelled at him for being there.

I wanted that kid badly and mourned pretty hard. One of my aunts, a nurse said,

at least there wasn’t a baby.

I was pretty sure that by my definition and God’s there was–brief tiny light.

To make matters worse I was parenting two small, furious balls of discontent. They were grieving as well, and they took their 3 and 4 year old anger out on me.

That was a dark, hard year.

The second miscarriage was a missed abortion–an early pregnancy that failed. I began to cramp and bleed and this time the radiology tech was a kind face, a grieving friend. We saw what was happening but there was nothing but the business of grief to be done.

My daughter says she was struck by a conversation I had with J. I told him I thought,

this baby is packing up and leaving

when he suggested perhaps I was just spotting a bit.

She said she had a picture in her head of a little baby packing tiny suitcases, leaving on a whim.

I grieved again. I was grateful this time was more merciful–no surgery, no year of blood tests. I had children who were kind to me by then…but the pain of losing my baby was, well, painful.

I cried out to God–why?

I got this for an answer–

I understand your grief. Remember that I once had a perfect world and a perfect plan for it, and it was miscarried as well–turned into this story, this mixture of light and dark you struggle with today.

I had an image in my mind of that brief thing that was His perfect world. We also knew together that the redemption of it was far more painful than my missed “a-b.”

To watch a beloved child suffer for the malignant and ungrateful is an eternal wound indeed.

I admit I feel exposed telling these stories. I cry a little. But I insist on being heard–not because they were lonely, grief-filled stories.


Because they are the common stories of women. The ones we have no room to tell.

We must make room for them. For all of our children’s stories.