Just a few days ago Donald Trump, on the national debate stage, inaccurately and brutally described late-term abortion. His words made me physically sick; having lived through a late-term abortion myself. I could not let his idiocracy go unchallenged and watch it painfully affect so many people.
Knowing that the best way to affect change is to educate people, I knew what I had to do. So there I sat, pressing "post" on my Facebook page with my story. I assumed I would get consoling comments from my friends as I had when Matt and I first made our situation known, but this time I got a lot more than a few comments.
My post has been shared over 50,000 times. That is insane. To me this shows how hungry people are for knowledge and for compassion. So let's educate! If you have a story to share, please e-mail it to me at LindsParadiso@gmail.com.
My friend Sheree and I were talking recently (she is a blogger herself) about the response the story has gotten and I asked her to write a piece about what it has been like for her, as a friend, to watch someone go through a late-term abortion. I have included it below.
I think oftentimes we forget that the loss of these babies doesn't only affect the parents, but it affects their friends and family members. When politicians like Trump and Pence spread their intolerance for giving women a choice, we make these very difficult situations so much more difficult for not just the mother, but everyone involved.
When she first told me that she and her husband were planning to have a baby, I was wary. I mean…was I really at the age where people were intentionally trying to have kids? When did I get so old? I wasn’t 100 percent surprised though. She had been randomly sending me lists of trendy/unique baby names for months so I wasn’t blindsided. But still… a baby?
I remember the text about the positive test and how excited she was to tell her husband. I watched the video of him walking into their apartment and her telling him the news. He was ecstatic. It was obvious they wanted their baby.
She and I no longer lived in the same city so when I came into town, I made sure to see her. She wasn’t too far along but I could still see the little bump. She was adorable and enthusiastic that maybe now that she was pregnant, her food allergies wouldn’t bother her as much. Something about the hormones. She loved bread. Most of our exchanged texts were about food to be honest.
The lists of names came more frequently and I’ll admit that I often shook my head at her choices. She hated traditional names while I loved them but this wasn’t my baby, it was hers. It was going to be Grey Alexander for a boy and Omara Rose for a girl. She wanted to call her, “Omi,” for short.
During her husband’s birthday party, she surprised him with a gender reveal. A box filled with baby pink balloons. It wasn’t just a baby anymore, she was Omi. While I wasn’t able to make it to the party, I recall the infectious anticipation in the video. It was obvious that they wanted their baby.
It seemed as if every other text we exchanged was about how much she was eating and how little she was moving.
“My doctor said I am gaining weight too fast though haha. So I should probably start exercising.”
That text literally made me laugh out loud.
We continued talking everyday about all of the weird things that close friends chat about. I asked for her opinion on anti-anxiety medication and her thoughts on a book idea I had. She told me about the TV shows she was watching and how much she wanted to move away from our small town. Throughout all of these conversations, her pregnancy was always under the surface. She'd lament how her clothes no longer fit and how she felt too tired to keep up with her photography business. One night, she pondered if she would co sleep with Omi or not.
She didn't talk much about her pregnancy but it was obvious that she wanted their baby.
Social media had literally turned me off from hearing or even seeing babies but she was my friend. So, I listened whenever she did choose to speak about Omi. She had even planned the baby shower to be Easter weekend to make sure I would be in town for it.
I was sitting on the couch with my boyfriend the night she told me about the mass the doctors had found on the side of Omi's neck. Now, I've never been great at handling bad news and I probably said something incredibly cliche but what do you say to someone after hearing that? When, even over hundreds of miles, you can sense their fear and uncertainty?
She took that fear and uncertainty and channeled it into a positive, healing outlet. One she bravely shared with the world. I admired her for that. The news kept getting worse and worse but she remained positive and hopeful. It was obvious that she wanted their baby.
"I dreamed of Omara... She had blonde hair," she told me one day while I was at work.
She journaled, and she prayed, and she researched but in the end, she and her husband had to make a choice. An impossible choice.
She talked to me about her options. She explained the alternatives and I assured her that I supported her decision no matter what she chose. This wasn't my baby, my opinions didn't matter, but this was my best friend and either path was going to be a difficult one. It was obvious that she wanted their baby.
I knew what day she was going into the hospital and she was on my mind constantly that week. I sent her words of love and light, continuously feeling like nothing I said was enough. Dumbly, I assumed she'd only be in the hospital for a day. In and out. When she wasn't responding to my texts, I figured she was home, surrounded by heartbreak and loss.
When I finally heard from her, I learned that she had been in labor for days. Days of pain and exhaustion for a baby she didn't get to take home. I couldn't fathom it and once more felt ill-equipped at consoling my dear friend. It was obvious she wanted their baby.
Her milk came in a few days later. I remember her telling me how much it hurt and I was once more heartbroken for my friend and the physical and emotional pain she continued to endure. It didn't seem fair... all of these reminders.
I was in town for Easter so she and I made plans to go to the movies. I had run into her husband the night before and he just looked... sad. My friend had always likened him to an excited child and I no longer saw that hyper vigor in his eyes. She wasn't the only one affected. It was obvious they wanted their baby.
When she picked me up, she told me she had broken down earlier in the day. It had been exactly one month since they had lost Omi. She apologized for wearing workout clothes as nothing else fit her. I assured her that she had nothing to apologize for. We caught up and laughed the whole way to the theatre and I was glad that I could give her a small reprieve from her pain.
The whole way though Zootopia, she fidgeted in her seat. After a while, I turned to her and asked if she was alright.
“Yeah. Since being pregnant, my bones constantly pop.”
It’s been months since the loss of Omi but I know she still has her bad days. She’s shared her story with the world and continues being one of the bravest and strongest women that I know. It’s funny to me, how so many strangers feel entitled to give their opinions about her choice when I, her close friend, simply accepted her right to have one.
- Sheree (www.askhersister.com)