I read Scott Pike’s emotionally charged letter to the editor (Saturday, March 24, 2001) and couldn’t help myself…the overwhelming feeling to respond overcame reason. (As usual.) His pregnant wife Heather had been told at her sonogram appointment that her baby had been dead for about two weeks. I wouldn’t presume to help them cope with the immeasurable amount of pain and stress they went through at their visit to the only facility (a downtown Los Angeles abortion clinic) that they were forced to visit. They endured a “room full of hookers, gang members’ girlfriends and others that didn’t care about the fact that they were going to end a life.” The Pikes deserve our prayers, for the very least, to combat the taunts and insults they were forced to listen to. And we deserve to learn from them.
Women miscarry. Women have abortions. But they are in no way the same thing. Women that loose their children have the choice removed from them. Women that choose to abort have a choice. But this is not a pro-choice or pro-life column. It’s about the way we feel, the way our husbands feel, when we can’t conceive, for whatever reason, what others are willing to give away, abuse or kill.
After I had Samantha I knew at age thirty-six that I might have trouble conceiving again. Now, at forty-two with still no sibling for Sam in sight, I finally decided to let nature run her course. I constantly have to remind myself that at least I have one. The ignorant still ask, “What’s the problem? Ed not doing his job?” (Ed tested fine, thank you.) And, “You don’t have much time left, maybe you should have thought of that when you waited so long to get started.”
Before I assume myself whether someone is pregnant or not, wants a child or not, adopted or not, I try to wait for them to offer the information first. The last thing I want to do is slap another woman in the face for something that is beyond her control and not beyond my understanding. I’ve never miscarried but I certainly know enough women that have. One friend just wanted to see her tiny child before the hospital whisked he or she away to some colder place. Hoping that the sight of those closed lids would help her to envision them blinking open. Hoping for closure so that she can have the strength again, and sometimes again and again.
Adoption. Foster care. Surrogate mothers. Harvesting eggs. Ovulation predictors. Clomid therapy. Invetro-fertilization. Injections. Hospitalization. Multiple births and/or still births. High risk factors. Age. Health. Stress. There is nothing a wanna-be mother or father is not willing to accept because their need surpasses their physical or financial discomfort. Even though we educate ourselves about the pitfalls of each and every option it doesn’t thwart our actions to exhaust every avenue, street, drive, road or lane.
But watching others labor over whether or not to abort a child they can’t afford, when birth control can be attained for free from Planned Parenthood, is a nightmare for the barren. Reading daily accounts of abuse and murdering of children puts me right over the dismal threshold. Why are so many people so willing to loose something that others so readily covet? “Can I please have what you don’t want?” before you lock your child into a room, dresser drawer or a hot airless car?
One former co-worker lamented that; “I already have one kid we can’t afford and my husband just bought me a new car with only two seats!” When she further explained her dilemma I could hardly silence the tiny child-like voice inside of me that was crying, “Can I please have what you don’t want?” That way they could spend their money on the things that they really coveted.
Great Grandma Ellen, the ninety-plus year-old, former grammar school teacher, tortured me with her repetitiousness when she chose the subject of child abuse. She told me stories from her day and mine that made me shiver and sweat. We both shook our heads in disbelief and shame at the parents that are supposed to love their children, unconditionally, as they love us. “Can please I have what you don’t want?”
Eddie has delivered more than his share of what is unfortunately called the “drug baby” when he did several duties in Watts. The stories were heart wrenching because the addict mothers were anything but. One didn’t want to go to “Killer King” hospital with her newborn, another wanted to finish coloring her hair and still another left her newborn on open oven door only to find out later that the heat helped the premature baby survive. The horrible waste sickens Ed, not unlike Scott Pike in his job as a police officer. Oh yea, that would be the one time I’m not asking for what she doesn’t want. And I’m ashamed of myself for it too.
Heather Pike sat there in that cold LA abortion clinic, with only the strength of her husband and herself to draw on when her child was coldly taken away from her. How Heather and Scott got through that day, and the next, we can only guess. But I’m sure a small, childlike scream was caught in her throat through their ordeal, “Can I please have what you don’t want?”