I’m aware of two fronts I portray to people, at least in-person.
One is a guarded detached statue. I think that’s how I viewed my dad for most of my childhood. The other is a bombastically naive waif, which is how I saw my mother. I generally am guarded and polite around strangers — my father. When I get comfortable, I find I am my mother. Not as crazed as she was, but still emulating her chaos even if in short bursts. And it’s when I’m channeling my mother my missteps always sting worst.
Today a customer or a friend of mine came in. (I would consider her my friend, and I think she would consider me one as well.) She frequents my store almost weekly. She had a baby late last year. She also has a son that’s about five years old or so. She came in tonight with her husband, her baby, and her son.
I remember the first time she came in. I was the one to greet her and her husband and bring them into the fold of our store culture. She was one of those people I immediately got along with and understood. And she’s been coming back ever since.
Both her children have the near-same racial mix that my siblings and I do. Growing up, I never saw a lot of kids that looked like me beyond my siblings. I saw kids that looked like fragments of me. She knows this. I think that also contributes to our mutual camaraderie.
I got off work serendipitously as her small clan arrived.
As soon as I saw her, I hugged her. I asked her how she was.
Last time we spoke, she was emotional, waiting for her period. She told me she wasn’t doing well. I asked why.
“I’m pregnant,” she said.
“Oh, wow... Well, at least you’ll have three beautiful children.”
Her face darkened, “... Tell that to him. There won’t be a third one.”
My gut interpretation was that her partner would not believe their third child would be beautiful. Not that she was going to get an abortion.
So, I trodded off to inform him he was wrong, playfully.
“What do you mean this next one won’t be adorable?”
He simply raised his eyebrows.
My co-worker, who was listening, stepped in to comfort her. It didn’t dawn on me until after they left that she was deciding to have an abortion.
That’s not something I’ve ever been told implicitly or explicitly by a friend.
I think about abortions concerning myself a lot. I never really think about abortions concerning others much. I have thought about it. But at the end of the day, I am not going to tell someone else what to do with their body. I’ve thought a lot about my body. I’ve done a lot to my body, good and bad. And I still think about everything, if this entry tells you anything.
I want kids. I do think about that quite a bit. I want something to take care of that I can let go out into the world and be their own person. Quite selfishly, too, I want to do a better job raising my kids than my parents did of my siblings and me.
I know if I were to get pregnant now, I would need to get an abortion.
And I’d hate myself for it. But my partner told me from the beginning he’d resent me if I ever got pregnant and decided to keep it. And he’s told me that he knows an abortion would be hard on me. This is true. So there are two things I’m never telling him regardless if they happen or not.
Right now, I am without a car and a bachelor’s degree. Both of those together make my life unideal if I were to be homeless suddenly. I’d hate myself more if I were pregnant without a place to call my own and jobless.
I do have people that would help me were this the case. But I never want to be reliant on another person again. I’d much rather die poor on my own circumstances than be rich under someone else’s. And I never like to assume people will do anything for me, even if it’s socially expected for me to assume this in certain situations with certain people. My parents have at least taught me that much.
I might not want kids in the future. So all of this thinking may be for nothing. But hearing my friend quietly admit that she was going to the doctor in the coming weeks, that pulled me into this.
I don’t really have anyone to run to to talk about this with candidly.
So here we are.