Not an Option
Talked to my husband about this being the time to share my story. He agreed it is time.
In 1985 I wasn't feeling well and the doctor did a battery of tests/bloodwork. It turned out I was pregnant. I had always wanted a large family (8 kids). I had a two-year-old at home and had suffered miscarriages before she was born. I was sent to a specialist because it was felt there was something wrong. Off I went to the specialist; he was even a fertility doctor and surgeon. Basically, he said yes you're pregnant, yes something is very wrong and We don't believe you and the baby will survive the pregnancy.
The recommendation was an abortion.
I was traumatized. One part of me thought if I had enough faith I should just risk it all and stay pregnant. Then there was the mental discussion of okay- so my choices are staying pregnant and possibly die and leave my daughter without a mother or stay pregnant and both the baby and I die or what if by some miracle the baby survived I could end up leaving two children motherless.
Thinking through scenarios was and is its own form of torture.
Then one evening I looked into my 2 yr old daughter's eyes and she giggled at me and I knew the answer. How could I possibly consider not watching her grow up? How could I intentionally leave her without a mother? She had not asked to be brought into this world so abandoning her was not an option. I equate death with abandonment in this situation.
I am from a religion that believes the soul enters the body with the first breath. It did not make my decision any easier. A part of me still felt like I was turning my back on
G-d by not trying to stay pregnant.
I had the abortion. The week before protesters had broken into the clinic rooms while the doctor and nurses were with patients, The protesters wreaked medical havoc. I honestly don't remember if they interrupted fertilization procedures or something else.
It was terrifying going to the clinic. The abortions that were scheduled that day were insanely early in the morning and each patient had a special code word. I had to knock at a specified time. The other women there (all three of us) looked equally terrified.
During the abortion, the doctor told me I had made the right decision because the baby had stopped developing. Once all the rest of the tests came back we found out why the baby was not developing. I had uterine cancer. Two weeks later I had a hysterectomy to save my life. A few years ago, after sharing my story with a close friend and lay minister, she pointed something out to me I had never thought of. She told me that maybe G-d had sent the pregnancy(baby) to me to save my life. Without the pregnancy, we never would have found the cancer.
Here is what I know. I have told this story maybe 1/2 a dozen times. The telling does not make it easier. Knowing that both the baby and I would have been dead doesn't make it any easier.
How much worse would the process have been if abortion was illegal?
Anytime someone tells me no abortion under any circumstances I want to yell in their face they are advocating that my daughter grow up motherless.
My name is Celeste Wohl. This is my story. If it helps anyone please share it. As women, we have inalienable rights and the right to be a person.