The day my eighteen-year-old sister showed up on my doorstep out of the blue, I was slightly confused yet deeply excited to see her after being away from her for an extended period of time. My family had some “hard times” but deep down in our souls we knew there was mental anguish that lasted until our parents passed away – one from a heart attack, another in a house fire.
Our parents took to the ever-loving act of beating Christianity into us and instilling the fear of God inside our minds. As I aged, I was the only one afraid of Him and His mighty power, while my sister was more afraid of our parents and took to living with a variety of boyfriends in the meantime. From my parent’s teachings, I learned to value life and do good and so that I would be eternally welcome to the joys of the afterlife. One of the teachings that really stuck out to me was about how God loves all his forms of life – and so I was clearly pro-life.
So you can imagine my surprise when my eighteen-year-old sister shows up knocking on my door, clearly distressed and wearing an oversized sweater. Before she even said anything I had guessed it, but I still welcomed her inside to sit and chat, something she only did in desperate times of need.
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Angela was strung-out for most of her teenage years, fitting neatly inside all the wrong crowds like some alien that can’t find their place in this sorrowful world. She sat down on the couch and joked a bit: “How have you been doing for the past… I dunno, two years? That was Dad’s funeral, right?” to which I nodded and sighed.
“Angela, what’s up?” I asked, regretting that I even let her inside my home.
“I’m pregnant. Clearly, I mean.” And like some proud child who just won a prize at a fair, she lifted her shirt up and I saw her belly protruding from her like something out of a sci-fi movie. As I stumbled across her facial expression, there was clear unease and unhappiness.
“So what are you going to do about it?” I asked her, urging for more.
“I’m seeking an abortion. I was wondering if I could borrow some money…”
All the teachings that our parents had with us about how sacred life is, about how you have to respect your elders, about how children are people too and deserve all the human rights of the world… they all went down that big, black, hollow drain in a sloppy mess. She didn’t appreciate a damn thing and I felt sick for her.
There I sat, wondering to myself what was going through my sister’s head and silently cursing the fact that my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for almost two years after my father’s death and came up with nothing. I was practically infertile.
“Who is the father?”
She made a pleading face to me, and I knew to ask no more.
My husband and I picked out the name Jacob for the little boy, a story in Genesis about a boy who was born holding onto the heel of his older twin brother. We agreed it was a beautiful name and we allowed Angela a stay in our guest room throughout the remainder of her pregnancy, as long as she promised not to be sneaking any drugs or alcohol into herself. We cut off her intake of cigarettes and monitored her closely, even making it to each appointment and ultrasound so she wouldn’t take the mercy of doing it alone. It was more of a safety precaution to make sure our new little boy was going to be alright, rather than looking out for her, and nobody minded the situation. We were finally getting a baby and after she could disappear for all I cared.
As Angela’s belly swelled, our pride did as well. The realization was sinking in that we were finally going to be parents and as my husband stated, giving somebody a chance at giving birth to a beautiful child and doing the right thing. I shrugged off his modesty toward the situation, for there was nothing beautiful about Angela carrying a child, the difference this time is that the said child would be ours in the end. She was an ugly, sinful human being and I thought nothing but filthy thoughts about her for considering going to an abortion clinic and using my money as a means to kill the wonderful life we now saved.
One night I awoke from a quiet slumber abruptly to the sound of footsteps creeping inside Angela’s room. Her door slowly shut behind her… so suddenly my gut said something’s wrong.
I told her that if she was going to live in our home and use our resources and eat our food, there is a warning she should know – there is no such thing as privacy. I slammed her door back shut when I came down the hall and barreled into her room, turning the light on and blinding both of us. She shrieked and drew the scissors in her hand straight above her stomach, ready to puncture it right through the stomach. Just as she was about to slam it down into herself, ultimately murdering our child and probably herself, I flung myself across the room and wrestled it out of her shaking hands.
The catastrophe woke up my husband, who came running into the room and pretty soon we were all screaming at one another. All I could make out from Angela was, “How could you do this?! Do you know what he is doing to me?! You’re both going to fucking die!”
After some worried exchanges and the decision to not commit my sister, we made sure to lock up anything that she could now use to commit suicide/homicide to herself and our wonderful baby-to-be. We monitored her even more closely and I ended up switching to a stay-at-home job which allowed me to see to her carrying full-term. She was becoming gradually more introverted and we were forcing her to eat by this point. She claimed that the baby is stealing everything I eat to which I patted her on the shoulders and said, “Now Angela, of course babies steal nutrients from their mothers. We just need to up your calcium intake a bit. That’ll help.” But she would shake her head and shake in place like some meth-addicted shell of a human being. By her 32nd week of pregnancy, her skin was graying and her hair was falling out in clumps from what I presumed as stress.
At 39 weeks, Angela was silent in her room for a few hours when all of a sudden the entire room bursted to life. I could hear her from the first floor, screaming for my husband or I, not really caring from the underlying tone of her own demise taking place. I was mortified and wondered if I should phone somebody but ran to her rescue to see if she was just having intense cramps.
“It’s coming,” she replied, horrified.
“Lance isn’t home!” I cried out, wondering what I was going to have to do by myself. “Should I call the hospital? What should I do?! What’s the game plan? Would we get there in time?”
Ignoring every question, Angela shook her head in a fury and said, “I have to push!”
From all the videos and preparations I had made for a just-in-case home birth in the few years we had to prepare for such a thing, I got into position at the end of the bed, Angela’s legs held up in the air by my hands, ready for anything to happen. She made her first push and I didn’t even see so much as a widening, quite alarmed with whatever was happening. I wondered silently if I hadn’t researched enough and if there were such cases of babies getting stuck up there… as my mind wandered, Angela was screaming in desperate agony and clutching her stomach.
“Angela,” I said in a moment of panic, “Are you sure that the contractions are close enough that it’s time to push? Are you sure you know when it’s time?”
She said nothing and continued to lurch in pain until suddenly, she ripped her shirt off up over her head and I gasped.
Her skin was taut and warped, like a tumor that lie under the skin, a giant bubble of a stomach that looked like an infection more than that of a pregnant woman carrying the wonderful gift of life inside her. She screamed in agony as the skin bubbled and boiled and came to life, as the feet kicked away inside, clearly stressed and wanting to come out. Just as she pushed again, I heard the most agonizingly terrifying ripping sound, and her skin began to split like the dense, cracked ground of the earth in a desert.
She pushed until it ripped open in entirety and blood pooled all over the bed.
And then she stopped screaming, and her screams were replaced with cries. But the cries weren’t coming from Angela, because the instant the baby kicked straight through her skin, she died. The baby laid in a pool of blood in my hands, screaming bloody murder with its shocked little face.
I wrapped Jacob up inside the blanket we had chosen in the mall the day we first decided to go shopping. The day we finally got her to come out of the house, that exhausted look of pity on her face – she knew that she was a host, just being used for a baby. My sister, now a home to the thing that would mean the most to us even if she had meant nothing all these years. As she lie there now, bloody and broken on the bed, her stomach skin stretched and completely severed, I held a crying Jacob in my arms and whispered to him that everything was going to be okay, that it was going to end soon.
I took the blanket and folded it over his face so he didn’t have to watch as I wrapped my hands around his little throat and strangled the life out of him.
Nothing natural rips its way through skin instead of coming out of the place God had destined it to when he designed Woman.
I am now, safely, pro-choice and proud.