Priests for Life recently received a letter from Amanda, and a beautiful poem
she composed about the effects of her abortion. Here are Amanda's words
explaining why she wrote the poem, and then the poem itself.
Fr. Frank Pavone
I tried to do a couple of things with this poem. I tried to show the
complexity and confusion of the grief of a woman in this situation. She
cannot honestly say, "Oh, if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't do it."
That's not true. Part of what makes her feel this way now is that she did
do it before. She can say, "I would not now be able to do that again,"
but prior to her abortion, she did not have the grief or regret that led her to
this point. So augmenting the straightforward grief of a woman who has lost a
child, is the bite: put back before the act, before she really knows what she
has done, the woman-she-was might readily do it again. And that is hard to bear.
I wanted to show, also, that neither the grieving nor the ghost ever
go away. A little what-if will be with you always. Not dominating your life, not
every day in your thoughts, but not ever leaving, not ever gone. And I wanted to
emphasize that it was a child that was lost, a baby, who would have been
Our society does not offer much solace, or even recognition, for women
feeling this. It's politically correct to have a choice, but not politically
correct to admit having chosen this. I've never met any woman who stood up to
state that she'd exercised her right to choose by choosing to abort, or
even one that would say it very loud. The politics of the Right to Choose are
loud and public, but the realities are painful and private. A woman who has laid
a child into a grave is extended every sympathy and support. A woman who mourns
an abortion is alone, with a uniquely mufti-faceted and complex grief. A woman
contemplating abortion should be warned of this.
Ghost in the House
Come, child. It's evening. Come to me
And sit with me once more.
Let's rock here while the others sleep.
Let's see -- your sister's four;
The baby is three months today;
Your little brother's two,
And I have not decided if I'll tell them about you.
And you, you would be eight this year.
I do not know your name.
The color of your eyes, or hair,
Or where, or how, to blame.
The fear was all, the fear of change,
For I saw change as loss.
Against my dreams, my plans, my life
You seemed so small a cost,
Not knowing how your presence
Altered how I felt and thought,
Not knowing how you changed me
In the mix the hormones brought.
And you were not a child to me
But sickness, pain, and fear --
But oh, I know, I know you now,
Now that these three are here!
Your scent, your weight within my arms,
Your head upon my breast -
I did not know these things when I decided what was best.
And I am lost and so confused
And don't know how to feel,
For you, who were an illness,
Every year become more real;
Your sister and your brothers,
They proclaim you as they grow.
They make it harder still to face
The coldest truth I know:
That knowing - feeling - only
What I knew and felt back then,
I cannot say I would not make
This saddest choice again.
Oh! My little lost unknown,
My first and neverborn,
Forgive the ignorance that sent you
To the dark, unmourned!
And no, it isn't every day
I find your shadow here;
Most times I'm far too busy
For reflection or for tears,
But sometimes, when the children sleep
And I have time alone,
I sit down in the dark, and rock,
And bring my baby home.
Copyright 2000 Amanda