I was almost 30 when my mother told me about her abortion. We were in rural Korea, at her brother's farm, standing on the side of a dirt road waiting for something. I guess it was being back in her home country that opened the floodgates of memory, and all of her pain came out and landed square on me.
I heard about how she and my father met on the Army base. He was 14 years her junior and only six years older than her oldest daughter. How she didn't want to marry him and told him so, and how he pestered her until she did. How she got pregnant and she an abortion.
Then she got pregnant with me, and for whatever reason she didn't realize that fact until it was too late, and her only option was to have me. Mind you, she was 37 at the time and it was 1975. In her mind she was way too old to have children and was terrified I would be born with a cleft palate or other deformity. She built emotional walls to prepare herself for what she saw as a foregone conclusion, to the point where the "Hawaiian doctor" who delivered me offered to adopt me, according to her.
Looking back, there's no way she could have formed a secure attachment to me as an infant. Her whole life to that point was marked by foreign occupation and genocide, war, poverty, death, and separation from her mother and her older children. She has a deeply loving and sensitive heart irreparably scarred by life. She had no business being a mother.
And little did she know that she was bringing me to the US and to a life of poverty, abuse and neglect that is the legacy of my father's side of the family. And due to systemic trauma, she would eventually be separated from me, as well.
My adverse childhood experiences are the direct result of my mother not having choices. I say with absolute certainty that she should have had that second abortion. Because you know what? The ROI on my life so far is in the negative digits. There is no joy or happiness in my life because they are eclipsed by the residual grief, anxiety and depression of not only my experience, both those of generations before me that I carry in my epigenetics. Even my hellfire rage has left me in recent years. I am tired, and the repair work is hard and long, and I don't even know if I will see the end before it is my end.
Some of you may recoil in horror at the thought of a woman removing a clump of cells (and that is all they are at that point) from her body, but my horror is thinking about the thousands of children who are about to be handed a life sentence of cruelty, trauma and pain.
To me that is far, far worse. I know from experience.