This is a guest post by my dear friend Michelle Pallisco who works with me regularly contributing feedback, idea, and support for my work.
I’m usually a very closed book. I don’t feel comfortable sharing much about my experiences or myself, but after scrolling through Facebook on International Women’s Day I felt the need to speak up. I noticed a Facebook comment on a post about Planned Parenthood. The young woman commenting was defending abortion with the idea that before a certain number of weeks, ending a pregnancy was simply removing an unwanted clump of cells from a woman’s body.
After seeing this comment and all the support it was receiving, I wondered how many other young girls – and boys think this way? We are told over and over by pro-choice groups that in the early weeks of pregnancy that the child is simply a mass of cells and that there is absolutely no harm in removing those unwanted cells – somewhat like having a tooth pulled or removing a wart. Many young people who haven’t experienced a pregnancy, miscarriage, or abortion hear this idea and accept it.
I had a miscarriage at 7 weeks, which is considered extremely early. Many women don't know they are pregnant yet at this stage. The doctor even told me to consider it just a “big period” or a “chemical pregnancy”. During the miscarriage I was extremely vigilant whenever I went to the bathroom or changed my pad because I hated the idea that my baby would be flushed down the toilet or thrown away. After an excruciating set of cramps I found my baby after he or she has passed from my body.<!--more-->
I held my baby in the palm of my hand and had a moment of peace as I looked at the most beautiful little details. Although he or she was not yet formed into the typical "baby form", they had a head and spinal cord, and little sprouts where the arms and legs would be.
It really is true when people say a mother loves her child no matter what they look like because I was so in love with this little person who had barely begun to form.
Emotionally, it was very difficult. I spent most nights in tears, sobbing, telling myself over and over "it's going to be okay". As my hormone levels dropped I had night sweats, I lost weight, I didn’t have any kind of appetite, and felt extremely shaky and weak.
Someone might say I only experienced those kinds of emotions because I had been so excited about my pregnancy. Perhaps if I hadn’t wanted it, I may have felt freedom or relief. I don’t think that is true. Losing my baby wasn’t like my birthday party getting canceled and I don’t think having an abortion leaves women feeling very free.
I wasn't simply letting go of an idea I had become invested in, My son or daughter died inside my body, and I felt that - deeply.
I have come to peace with it now but for a while I wondered if there was anything I could have done differently - eaten healthier, gained more weight, taken progesterone- anything to save their life.
I think people who have never experienced a miscarriage or abortion don't understand the gravity of losing a child. They say abortion is okay, as long as it is before so many weeks, but gestation has nothing to do with it. It's a death no matter what stage.
My husband and I had our baby blessed by the priest that married us. He told us that our baby had been baptized in my waters by their guardian angel and he ensured us that the loss of our child did not take away our motherhood and fatherhood. He instructed us to go up on the hill behind the church and we’d find a large tree. He told us to bury our child there so that their body would become part of the earth that God had so carefully created. I placed the little box that held my baby’s body and a letter I had written to my baby in the ground, and covered it with the soil.
“It’s just a clump of unwanted cells” “abortion is only wrong after fourteen weeks” “it’s like a parasite in her body” “it’s not a big deal when it's so early on”
Early abortion should not be taken lightly. It’s a loss at every stage.
International women's day is about celebrating women and acknowledging women’s dignity. This includes all women: professional women, stay at home moms, your daughter, your grandmother, and even the baby girl who is only 7 weeks old.
~ Rest in peace my little one – mama loves you.
Michelle Pallisco is a new mom to a beautiful baby girl. She previously worked for a non profit women's pregnancy center in Poway, CA. She graduated from John Paul the Great Catholic University in 2015 with a degree in media and plans to pursue writing while raising a family .