Her soaked red eyes and aura of loss and despair where ailments that I could not cure.  No nice words, so talk of leaving things in the past and no hope of looking towards the future could repair the damage in her heart. We get so many second chances in life that we take them for granted. But there are some things that we can not change or erase.

In the year that I had come to love this dear friend and share all our joys and sorrows together, there was one thing that she could not party or laugh away.  An agonizing decision in the past that she seemed bent on punishing herself for again and again was relived three times a year.  You see my friend whose career passion lay in property management had a few years prior gotten involved with a married man. Her vivacious and flirtatious personality made her the center of attraction at all our functions and she sparkled with enthusiasm. I can not say how she became involved with someone who was not free to give her what she needed in a relationship, but it happened and resulted in an unplanned pregnancy.


There were additional complications, she at the time was bordering on anorexia and her parents being much older did not feel that they could take on the responsibility of helping her rear a child. At an early juncture in her career, with a romantic partner that was not able or willing to commit and with no outside support, she terminated the pregnancy. What other solution was there? No amount of pro-life arguments can erase the panic, the fear of facing an unplanned pregnancy. My friend mourned her loss on the anniversary that she found out she was pregnant, when she had the termination and again when the baby would have been born.

My second friend had completed her studies as an attorney.  She had just completed her article and took her first entry level legal job.  She was under extreme pressure at work and relationally she was also under stress.  The job was a poorly paid one and she felt that it would be impossible to manage having a child alone.

She had a few close friends but at the time of falling pregnant she chose not to trust me with the news.  The reason is because a long time ago  prior to both our pregnancies, when we were chatting about problems that life throws at us, I had told her that I would not be able to live with myself if I terminated.  This remark that was made from a personal and religious value system would cost me her trust.  However it was made in context of how I would personally judge myself and not others. Those who have come to me when in trouble have never met my judgment. 

Fear treats us all differently. We all have our own circumstances and I do not judge those who were so afraid that they would rather remove the source of their fear, than face a fearful unknown prospect.  I too have run away from fearful circumstances that others may have faced up to.

This friend chose to share her pain with a male friend, whose solution was to supply her with pills that caused her to miscarry.  They made her violently ill and far from being the clean clinical solution that ones find at clinics her torment was dragged out by the side effects of the medication. She later told me that she had longed to get my help, but was so afraid that I would judge her if she had made a different choice.  In the end I loved her any way and she could have spared herself the isolation in her decision making.

When I fell pregnant, yes,” fall”, because it is like a fall from grace.  Your parents still feel the stigma of having a child that had a baby out of wedlock.  This of course passes once they see their adorable grandchild, but their concerns for your reputation and there are ever present when you announce the news. Most parents long to have you get married and in the sanctity of married as God intended it have child and make them proud in every aspect. Now you have gotten yourself pregnant without a husband.  It does not spell out a joyous and proud moment.  My agonizing choice was also made when my business was just a few months old, I had no medical aid, an unwilling partner and parents who lived over 1000 kilometers away.

You may think that religious values are not relevant in these matters.  But much like vehicle comes with an operating manual that tells you went to make oil changes, people come with a biblical manual.  As a parent you do more justice to your children in a two parent loving environment.  I know that my pain as an early single parent was not an asset to my daughter, but I was determined to make a choice that I would be able to live with. A decision, which would not haunt me for the rest of my days, a decision that in later years I would come to value as my best decision. I was later blessed with a husband who took on all the parental responsibilities of a father to my daughter.

In some part I owe my courage to following through with my pregnancy to my first friend.  Without seeing her pain, I may have been able to glamorise abortions as a nice tidy solution to a really monumentous problem that could be discretely erased.  The problem with erasing things is that the leave a mark. Have you ever penciled something in and then used an eraser to take it away?  It is gone, but you can still see it. If you run your fingers across the page, the page fibers have been disrupted. It is there although it is not there. My second friend made me realiaze that there would always be someone who would pass judgment on termination.

My third and most precious friend also made her choice after a bad relational choice. I did not know her at the time but was painfully moved by her declaration that she felt she would never have any children because of her choice to terminate a pregnancy. Of my three friends this friend is the only one that I turn to when I need calm wisdom.  She is loving and a true asset of a friend. It pained me greatly to see that she was not able to forgive herself.

What do all these women have in common? We all fell pregnant early in our career. We all got involved in a relationship that was not conducive to our growth. We all faced the agonising decision. I was the only one spared of the damaging guilt and regret.

Each of my friends faced a choice.  Each of them had to face their own demons and each of them had to rebuild there lives. My prayer for each one of them is that they lean to forgive themselves and that they may have gloriously happy lives.

None of us have been able to erase our choices.  For each one of us the mark remains and we can only make the best of the consequences.

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