Page 4 of 13When Claudia called her mother to tell her she was pregnant, she did not say she was pregnant. She said: "I'm getting an abortion."
Her mother was quiet for a long time. Then she said: "I can't wait for the day when you tell me you're pregnant and there is joy in your voice."
Claudia said: "I'm looking forward to that too."
The phone line was still again. "I had an abortion when I was twenty," her mother finally said. "For many years I regretted it."
Claudia said: "Your life would have been totally different."
"Yes," Her mother said. "I know."
Her mother explained she believed every fetus had a soul from conception, and that these souls were simply re-circulated by miscarriages, abortions, and stillbirths. It didn't sound like she was judging the procedure. She made it sound like something natural but sad.
"So maybe I'll have the same baby ten years from now?" Claudia asked.
"It doesn't work like that," Her mother said, sounding irritated.
Now Claudia could hear a tone of punishment. She wasn't being punished for the abortion, she was being punished for not taking it seriously enough. She was being punished for treating the idea like a little preschooler's drawing—here are all the little souls, and here is the slide where they come out of heaven—rather than hearing what she'd been given: a way to talk about what would be lost.