We may not always understand why a woman chooses to abort a pregnancy, but we must recognize and sympathize with her sense of loss.

* * * * *

For whatever reason you decide to have an abortion, you always end up saying sorry to someone or “something” but rarely to yourself. A long time ago, I had an abortion – I had three children, and problems with my husband. I told no one. A few years later, I went to have my cards read with a group of friends. The woman dealt the cards and said “You have four children.” I thought – Ha! She’s wrong, and told her, “No, I have only three.” She took my hand and very gently said, “Yes, but you lost one.” I went home that night and cried for this lost child, and realized no matter how much you deny, an abortion leaves a scar.

* * * * *

With so many tests that can now be done, it is considered the parent’s fault if a handicapped child is born. This is the subtle message we received from some people. If we had been told during our first pregnancy that we would have a child with Down’s Syndrome, we too might have considered abortion. Now that we have Maria we realize what a terrible wrong that would have been. At six years old, she is a happy, healthy, loving child.

Doug and Sandra, Nova Scotia

* * * * *

Who would you have been,

shadow baby?

Where are you now?

Veiled in secrecy and shame

Shrouded in me.

I carry you everywhere

I feel your bittersweet weight in my arms,

on my hip.

I hold you close as I hold your younger sister.

You would have been

will always be

my firstborn.

My god I miss you tonight and every night

even as I cry

My body, my choice.

Merryl, Baie d’Urfé, Québec

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