Jabir: Do you want to talk about it?
Nala: No, I don’t.
Jabir: Well I do. And you’re going to have to explain why you hightailed it out of the clinic like you did. I thought we had an understanding. I thought we were clear about bringing an end to all baby business.
Jabir: Nala! Are you listening to me?! What’s going on with you?! Speak to me goddamnit!
Nala: I don’t know Jabir. I don’t have the answers. I don’t know why I did what I did. I know we had an understanding. I know I agreed to have the abortion. I know the baby’s not what we need. I know we have financial constraints. I know we have other responsibilities. I know how difficult it is to make and keep a home. And despite it all, I also know that I’ll never be able to live with myself if I kill this life inside me.
Jabir: We’ve been through this! How can you possibly be so irrational?! For God’s sake Nala, you’ve been the most pragmatic person I have ever known! Don’t let your emotions ride roughshod over your right mind!
Nala: But this is emotional Jabir. For me it is. I’m the one carrying a child in my womb; a living, breathing, budding version of the both of us; a blessing of a creation. Why is it so difficult for you to identify with me; with this shared responsibility? We’re supposed to be feeling for this collectively, like one unit. But we’re not! Let me ask you then, how could you possibly be so UNemotional about this?
Jabir: The word is rational.
Nala: No, the word is stone….unfeeling…cold, hard, cruel.
Nala: I’m sorry, I just don’t see how you can be so businesslike about this and I can’t.
Jabir: Because I’m seeing the bigger picture. You’re not. You want this child because you just want it, even though it’s unplanned, just because it’s inside you and just like that, you’re magically tied to it by your self-righteous moral knot before it has even grown into anything.
Nala: Jabir! This is my child. Our child you’re speaking of, for crying out loud! Show some heart!
Jabir: I would! If it helped the situation. It is not that I don’t want the child Nala. We simply cannot have it! For crying out loud, why can’t you show some mind and understand what I’m saying?!
Nala: Because I want to keep it. At all costs.
Jabir: Costs. That’s the critical complication.
Nala: I know.
Nala: Is there no other way, Jabir? Is there no other way save for not saving this life? Not keeping this child? You heard what they said at the clinic…
Jabir: What do you mean?
Nala: We have the option of having the baby and giving him up for adoption. The adoptive family pays all medical and legal costs, and often financially supports you through the process, providing for needs like…like may be our truck loan! We’ll find the right family and make sure our needs are met.
Jabir: You can’t be serious. Look at how devoted you are to this child already. Do you really think you’re going to be able to give it away?
Nala: Jabir, I’ll prepare myself for that.
Jabir: You know you’ll never be able to. And we’ll be back where we started, having the same conversation then, as we are now!
Nala: I can be devoted to my child without owning her. I can be devoted to my child by giving him the best; by giving her away to a family that can give her the best.
Jabir: But can you? Nala, can you imagine giving Kadir or Kaia away?
Jabir: Then, how can you be so sure you’ll be able to give this one up for adoption?
Nala: Because I’ll work on myself to. Every minute of every day. That I’m doing this to bring joy to someone else’s life. That this is an act of nobility; of sacrifice. Because the times compel such a decision. If we can’t keep the child, may be someone else can. And then again, it’s not entirely selfless, because there’s a commercial angle involved. A lot in it for us, as a family.
Jabir: This is a big decision Nala.
Nala: So is an abortion.
Jabir: Yes, but not as big as having your baby and giving it away. There’s a massive risk involved.
Nala: There’s a massive risk involved with abortion too Jabir. There are potential medical hazards.
Jabir: Much the same with childbirth Nala. If you decide to carry your child to term, you’ve just made a choice to take on one process’ risks over the other.
Nala: True. But speaking of choice, adoption is an alternative to abortion.
Nala: I think it’s fairly cut and dry – one ends in life, the other in death, and the only other difference is roughly nine months.
Jabir: Wow. You really have thought this through.
Nala: I am as we speak. Pregnancy is a life-altering experience Jabir. It forces a woman to re-think, re-evaluate, recalibrate everything. And it’s just as momentous every time. If I can turn someone’s life around by bringing a life into this world for them, I know I will have brought some good into this world. If anything, the opportunity will let me sleep peacefully at night.
Jabir: Nala. I would love for you to bring a child into this world. The fundamental reason why I was trying to deter you from doing so, to have the abortion, was simply that if we decide to bring a life into this world, our world, I would want her to have the chance to grow up with a loving, supportive family and have all of the opportunities that she deserves. Unfortunately for us, we can’t provide those right now or in the near future.
Nala: I get you. I see that. I just want to feel like I’ve done the right thing. Making the sacrifice of carrying our baby to term and place him with another family will give me purpose. And us, some financial security.
Jabir: Purpose?! You have purpose. Your life is full of purpose! Do you want me to list out the amount you’re doing?! Whaa…Are you hearing yourself speak?!
Nala: That’s not what I mean, Jabir. Hear me out, patiently. Please!
Nala: When I say purpose, I’m speaking in this context. In light of this unplanned pregnancy. You and I…well, more me than you, have a decision to make. While terminating this life might take a load off our chests, it’ll be the most pointless decision we make when we could gently, humanely, virtuously pass on a bundle of joy into the arms of an infertile couple. That’s the purpose I’m aiming to fulfill. It’s the right thing to do.
Jabir: Nala, I hope you realize, there is no “right” decision when it comes to an unplanned pregnancy. You’re just trying to make yourself feel positive about it. The only “right” decision that exists is the one that’s right for you!
Nala: And I am. I am feeling positive about doing something as noble as having a baby for and handing it over to someone who cannot. And you should too! This is “right” for me! It’s right for us! That’s all!
Jabir: Okay…that’s a mammoth decision then. Right there.
Nala: It is. And I don’t want to wake up one day, with any regrets. That I chose to end, when I could have made a beginning.
Jabir: Okay. Okay I’ll respect that. It is your decision to make, more than it is mine. And I will support you.
Nala: Like you always have.
Jabir: Like I always have…
Nala: You want to say something. Something more, don’t you?
Jabir: I just want you to know…I mean you do already…but I just want to reiterate that while childbirth is natural, adoption and certainly abortion are not. You say an abortion would harrow you with guilt, well, the choice to have and then give up your baby might and will devour you as well. You’re dealing with loss either way. And even in the face of the magnitude going on in our lives after you part with this child, there will be a void. As I understand, there will always be a void.
Nala: You’re right. You’re absolutely right. I can’t imagine going through it all. Seeing the ultrasounds, feeling my baby kick for the first time (and then keep kicking, never letting me forget for an instant that she’s real), feeding myself for her and me, going into labour, and seeing her teeny, little body for the first time – only to give her to another set of parents. The baby would be theirs; the stretch marks, stitches, and postpartum depression would be mine. It is as awful as it sounds.
And yet. Even then, abortion is worse. Because it’s not the most compassionate way forward. In a perfect world, all babies, planned or not, would be wanted, and all mothers would have the circumstances and resources to care for them. But the world is not perfect; it’s broken, and we, for one, don’t have what it takes to provide for this child. So, we should try and redeem this broken world by putting the light in someone’s lives. And that thought in itself is empowering. It makes this whole labour worth it. The financial burden of an abortion being greater and being able to give up your baby for adoption for free, notwithstanding, as the birth mother, I get to choose the family my baby will go to. I can choose how much contact I will have with that family. I can choose how much contact, if any, I desire to maintain with my child.
Jabir: So you have time to think things over…
Nala: Yes! And consider how I want my life after birth to look. So many of our financial troubles could be resolved through…I hate to say it…this contract between us and the adoptive parents. This could be a turning point for us.
Jabir: And it wouldn’t hurt your conscience? To trade your baby away for lesser troubles?
Nala: I’ll try not to let it. Because I’ll see the receivers of this godsend smile their brightest ever. The hurt in the heart from giving her away is a pain, a paucity I will have to learn to live with.
Nala: An abortion only takes away your options Jabir. Not your troubles. It can end a pregnancy but never the feelings. There’s something inside you. A power. And you don’t just throw it away. You use it to make the world a little less broken; a little better.
Jabir: I just thought an abortion would be easier for us. Our family of four, already in this world. Already bending over backwards to hang in there. The maternal, instinctive, ethical, good, righteous approach is something I have to awaken to…
Nala: Sleep over it then, and when you’re up, you’ll see daylight.