At the age of 30, I was faced with a decision that no one at any age should have to make. Though it was difficult, my decision helped me develop courage and strength.
I sat quietly in a small room so overwhelmed by fear that it felt like my heart was beating louder than the ticking clock on the wall. To ease my nervousness, I occupied myself with looking at pictures of the human anatomy that covered the walls.
There I was contemplating my unborn son’s life, questioning whether I should let him live or take his life.
“Don’t worry, Miss Jones. At 13 weeks, it’s just jelly,” the nurse said moments later.
Having a father who was a preacher, I was raised a Christian. I was taught that abortion was wrong and something I shouldn’t condone. How could I be sitting here confused and debating whether or not I should take my own child’s life?
Being in an abusive relationship, I was ready to leave and I felt that having the baby would complicate things. After telling the father I was pregnant, he decided I would have an abortion.
The nurse at the clinic told me they couldn’t cover the total cost of the procedure, but there were agencies that would help me pay a percentage. She stressed that it was very important for me to get the abortion right away since I was right at 13 weeks.
She told me it would be hard to find a clinic that would do the procedure after that point. I remember looking up through my tear-filled, blurry eyes at the calendar and noticing it was Friday. My body felt numb and there was a painful lump in my throat.
I finally swallowed and asked the nurse, “How soon do I need to schedule the procedure?”
“Monday morning,” she said.
I made the appointment, then exited the clinic through a different door to avoid the protestors and signs telling me I was going to hell.
When I got home, I lay in the bed, body still numb, telling myself that I was really going to have an abortion. But something just didn’t feel right. The nurse’s words — “It’s just jelly” — kept penetrating my thoughts.
I even called a church called the Potter’s House for counseling. I told them what I was about to do. The counselor I spoke to made me promise not to do anything until I came to see her. I made that promise.
I went to the refrigerator and opened a jar of strawberry jelly. I examined the consistency. If it was just jelly, then it’s not a baby yet, I thought. I should be all right with God and not go to hell like the protestors said. I wouldn’t be a murderer.
Then I went to the computer and typed in “13-week unborn fetus.”
I wasn’t prepared for what I saw next. There in front of me was a picture of this little person. It was a full body with a head, arms, legs, eyes, toes and fingers.
“This isn’t jelly!” I shouted.
I continued my search to find out more about my unborn child. Until that moment, I thought it was some jelly substance floating around. Seeing the pictures, the numbness began to wear off and things started getting real.
I got angry at the thought of what I was about to do. I trusted that nurse, and she lied to me. Through my research, I found out that my baby could feel and react to my touch when I simply poked my belly.
Jelly? Not unless jelly has bones at 13 weeks. My baby’s cartilage was turning into bones.
I sat down with the baby’s father and showed him the pictures of our baby. I saw nothing that resembled jelly.
I took a stand and made the decision for myself and my child not to have the abortion.
Seven years later, I sit here looking at one of the best decisions I have ever made: my son, Tyler. If I had only listened to the nurse, I would have made the most regrettable decision of my life. I would have never forgiven myself.
All of this started behind the words, “Don’t worry, Miss Jones. At 13 weeks, it’s just jelly.”
No matter what choice I was going to make, I felt that the right to develop my own perception was taken from me. When making such a major decision, don’t rely on the perception of others without first seeking your own understanding.