Today is the 4th day of Christmas and the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Today we honor the life of the babies killed by Herod in his attempt to kill the Baby Jesus. There are so many amazing reflections on this day by people way holier and smarter than me.
There are many innocent babies killed by abortion every day in this country. It is my opinion that many of the women who get abortions and the many who work in those clinics are not evil. That is not to say that some are, but for the most part they are victims of a society that says that abortion is a perfectly logical choice when you are faced with an unplanned pregnancy. A lot of post abortive women do not ever even let themselves ever think about the day their child was lost. I do not know what it is like to purposely go in and have someone take life out of my womb. But I do know what it is like to detach yourself from that kind of loss. I do know what it is like to walk around with a baby in your womb and make yourself forget that it is a child. A life. A soul.
Today on this Feast Day I’m am going to tell you about my second child. My nameless child, who up until a year ago I had refused to allow myself to even think of; this is that child’s story.
I was 18 when I moved to Houston. Some crazy drummer talked me into moving to the big city and getting out of Amarillo. I was so scared but I did it anyway. The day I left Amarillo was the first time I had ever taken a Taxi, or flown on a plane. It was the first time that I had EVER left my mom and done my own thing as an adult. She could not do anything but wish me well. That was a weird feeling. I had runaway plenty of times, but always knew that she would come after me. Not this time, this time I was an adult.
I loved Houston. It was the most beautiful city I had ever seen. I had never seen so many tall buildings in my life. There were so many people, so many things to do. I will always be so grateful for that drummer talking me into moving there. Life as a 18 year old in Houston Tx was so much fun.
I moved there in November of 1996 and I met Ben Jacobs in May of 1997. I had just turned 19 and I believed in true love and fairytales. When he told me he loved me I believed him. I still believe that he was telling me the truth. I told him if he loved me then he needed to marry me. I never really thought he would do it. Ben was not the “Ok I’ll marry you after only knowing you for 2 weeks” kind of guy. Both of us were broken and wanted to be loved. We found that in each other and so we got married. I didn’t even know what my last name was going to be until they issued us our marriage license.
There has been a lot of heartbreak and bad times since the day that we got married, but I will never regret marrying him. He was my friend and husband for 8 years. I loved him and still wish him the best in life.
As soon as we got married we wanted a baby. After having gotten pregnant at 16 without a husband I was ecstatic to be doing it right this time. We got pregnant right away. It was awesome. Ben was working, we had our own place, he loved Anthony and Anthony loved him. It seemed like everything was perfect for the first time in our life. Anthony loved having his own room and a swimming pool. I worked part-time and spent most of my time growing the baby and taking care of Anthony.
One day, when I was in my 5th or 6th month,(I honestly don’t remember exactly how far along I was) we were at the pool and Anthony fell in without his floaties and was not able to swim. So I panicked and jumped in to save him. He was fine and we went into the apartment and everything seemed to be ok. A few days later I noticed that the baby was not moving. That was weird because by this time the baby had been doing somersaults. I told Ben and we decided to call the Doctor. The doctor said for us to come in and he would check me out.
The day of my appointment I had a bad feeling. I did not want to go in to the doctor’s office and I kept thinking “this is bad”. The doctor gave me a sonogram and I could see a perfect little baby. Head, hands, feet and everything, and looked so much like the pictures of Anthony’s ultrasounds. Only difference is there was no movement and no heartbeat. I knew it before he ever even had a chance to tell me. That may have been why I didn’t hear anything he said except “I’m sorry, your baby is dead”.
I think that a huge part of me died along with that child that day. Even now I do not want to think about it, I do not want to write this blog and I’m so angry. I’m angry that a doctor who just told a 19 year old girl that her baby is dead did not have the God given sense to send me to grief counseling. That he made me wait a week to have a D&C. That he didn’t ask me if I wanted to know what the baby was, or if I wanted to bury him or her. Nothing. He did nothing, it was just another day at the office for him.
For me it was a nightmare. I had learned at a young age that if something breaks your heart you just shove it deep down and pretend it is not happening until it is over. It was my fault. Everything was always my fault. I had put myself here, I had gotten knocked up and I had had the nerve to think that *this* time I would be happy. I knew better. Happy was not for me. That was for people who God actually cared about. And that was not me.
On the way home Ben asked what he could do to help me, how could he help. I said I just wanted a cigarette and to go to sleep. For the next week I ate Tylenol PM’s like candy and slept until the day I went in for my D&C. I never said the word “baby”. And nobody ever talked to me about it other than the stupid people who had the guts to say “Well maybe God didn’t think it was the right time for ya’ll to have a baby” NO SHIT! That’s what I wanted to say. But instead I went to bed. I slept for weeks and weeks. When I wasn’t sleeping I was crying. My poor Anthony, he would sit in bed with me and read me his favorite book.
Finally one day he crawled into bed with me and said “Mommy, I am sorry that I killed the baby”. I just looked at him and said “You didn’t kill the baby Anthony. Why do you think that?” and he said “Because I didn’t listen to you. I jumped in the pool without my floaties and then the baby died” I love my son and I was not going to let him think that it was his fault that this had happened. I told him it was not his fault and that it would be ok. I got up from that bed and I never looked back. That child did not exist as far as I was concerned and I wouldn’t think about what had happened for the rest of my life.
That was the plan and I kept that plan until the day that I went to the abortion clinic to pray and met a woman who was pregnant. She was pretty far a long and didn’t even know that she was pregnant. I knew the minute that I saw her, but she was in denial. I talked to her and then gave her a ride to the John Paul II Life center. Dr. Kalamarides gave her a sonogram and that is when the lights turned on for her. That was when she realized that there was a baby in her womb. It was the complete opposite of what happened to me the day I was told that my baby was gone. It was enough to make all the memories of that loss come rushing back, and I had NO idea what to do with them.
I cried and cried because I realized what a D&C was now. I know what they have to do to get a child that big out of the womb. I knew that my child was either a boy or a girl and I had NO idea which. I realized that I had not ever even acknowledged this child as my child. I was a horrible mother. The only place I knew to turn was to my Church. I had to tell God I was so sorry and I knew that the place to tell him in words, with my voice that I was sorry was in Confession. (Not because the priest is God, that is a misconception people have about the Sacrament. That is not the case. I will explain that later, but for now you can go to this link to read more about it. ) That is where I went.
Father Alberto is the one who heard my confession. I was really a wreck. I almost expected him to go get Father Jonathan and tell him to handle it. LOL But he didn’t. He cried with me. He told me that God understands my pain, and that it is not too late to start healing from my loss. He told me a lot of other great things, anyone who knows Fr Alberto knows he is such a great confessor. One thing he told me is that I should name the baby, when I felt ready to do so.
Today I am finally ready . The name I choose is Mary Grace. I do not know if my baby was a girl, but I’m sure that my Blessed Mother has been holding my child in her arms for me all these years.
I now realize that happy is for me. God loves me, and all of those things that I thought about Him were so wrong.
In the memory of my child I would ask everyone to please pray for all the children who are lost to us before they are born. Both by abortion and by miscarriage, and for their mothers. I pray that we can become a culture where every mother who is in the same situation I was in is given the chance to grieve for her child, and no other mother is expected to make the choice between her life and her child’s life.
May no other child’s life be forgotten. Every child deserves a name.
PS That baby I told you about earlier was born healthy and given up for adoption. I hope that he grows up to be a wonderful person. :)