A while back now I posted a teaser from a story I’m working on, focused on a guy and girl – Chris and Emily – who finally get up the courage to give in to the sexual tension that has been building between them for two years. Both were in relationships so never did more than flirt (okay, there was ONE kiss), but then it comes out both are single and one thing leads to another.
The story has moved on and in a move that isn’t exactly uncommon for me, they are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. Emily and Chris agree that having an abortion is the best option for them, they have, after all, only been seeing each other on a (monogamous) casual (very regular) basis, are still (relatively) young and have a lot they want to experience before they think of settling down and having children.
This is a situation I have personally experienced and like the characters in this story, I made the decision to have an abortion because it was ‘what was best’, according to society, according to all the ‘rules’, according to what everyone else would say was best for me, and for my baby. Throughout the whole experience I convinced myself an abortion was right because… well, because it was what everyone else said was right. I blanked off and stopped myself thinking about what I truly wanted. I was only 18, how could I possibly know what was best for myself?
So I went through with the abortion. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was what was ‘right’, right?
It wasn’t the right thing for me and because of it I have suffered emotional trauma that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Even 13 1/2 years on, I am still dealing with it (albeit a lot better than in the past!), and from the start I’ve known I needed to incorporate an abortion storyline into a story of mine.
To start with it was going to be a general fiction story, then I began accepting that the type of fiction I enjoyed writing was erotica, and so it was to become the part of an erotic romance story. This was going to be the story. Emily and Chris were going to get pregnant and decide to have an abortion. I was going to write about the pressure the abortion placed on their relationship, it was going to be about their journey, trying to find their ‘new normal’ together.
I couldn’t write it though. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t let Emily go through with an abortion that I, as her creator, knew she didn’t really want to have… even though that was the whole point of the story and of the character. I wanted her to go through what I through, so I could use the story as a form of therapy, as a way to finally get my thoughts surrounding my abortion out on paper. Creative cleansing, if you will.
On its own, the story went down the path I wish I had gone down in ‘real life’, and I found/find myself living vicariously through Emily, and wishing I had had a Chris in my life at the time of my own unplanned pregnancy.
By the time I found out I was pregnant, my ex and I had broken up. I told him about the pregnancy and to start with we were going to keep the baby, but two days later he told me he thought I should have an abortion and rattled off a list of reasons why. I gave in. He didn’t go to the abortion with me, didn’t even ask me afterward how it had gone. We didn’t speak about it until close to a year later, when he admitted to me that he hadn’t actually wanted me to have the abortion, but didn’t say anything to me because he thought it was what I wanted. On he continued, telling me he thought about our baby a lot, wondered what he’d have looked like, etc etc etc… sad fact was, the way he had been feeling was the way I had been feeling. It broke my heart to know that if we had communicated properly the abortion probably wouldn’t have happened.
All of this fed into the character of Chris and his middle of the night confession that he didn’t want Emily to have an abortion. It is the conversation I so badly wish I had had with my ex.
Emily and Chris are the scenario I wish had played out for me, back in 2001.
Life isn’t going to be easy for them, perhaps because I know that if I had continued my pregnancy, life would likely have been damn hard, certainly not all baby smiles and laughter, but it would have been life with my baby… the life I wanted.
I don’t know that it is healthy per’se, to live vicariously through my characters… but I have found that when it comes to writing, you aren’t always in charge of where the story takes you!
(if you are interested in the scene in question, I have just added it, you can read it here)