yesterday i spoke to a woman, age 28, who began her story by telling me all the reasons that she could not continue her pregnancy. she had no doubt that abortion was a better choice for the baby since she felt that it would be neglected and possibly even at risk. her older children had learned to avoid dad, an abusive alcoholic, when he was drunk. and the patient, whom i'll call rachel, supported the family as sole wage earner. there would be no income when she had to take maternity leave and her job would not permit her to work once she was showing because of the physical hardships of the job. she felt that she could not risk leaving the baby alone with her husband at any time because he was not responsible and had lately been getting worse.
then she began to sob and told me that if her mom were still alive, it might be different. both times that she was pregnant in the past it was her mom who encouraged her to continue the pregnancy, telling rachel that she could do it, that she, mom, would help her. the day before had been mom's birthday and rachel told me she went to the cemetery to talk to mom, as she often does. she had been telling mom about her situation, how much she missed her, how she wished she did not have to have an abortion. rachel told me, it was all ok because her baby would be with mom. mom knew that the baby was coming to join her in heaven, which made rachel feel at peace. then rachel said, "the hardest thing for me every day is to be without my mom. that's what i'll never get over."