Just a Bad Clump of Cells
By Elea Hofman, Halton Alive Executive Director
I never knew I had an abortion story. Like most people, I grew up thinking I was just another average person fortunate enough to be born into a loving family that wanted me. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that my mother shared the story of how doctors recommended she abort me. In a culture where abortion is sold as the norm, you just never know who has been saved from the clutches of “choice”.
My birth was difficult.
I was born posterior, face up, and got trapped in the birth canal long enough that they worried I’d have mental impairment. When I finally entered the world, I was black and blue from the ordeal and was rushed away in an incubator until the next morning when I could finally snuggle with my parents. The delivery was tough on my mother too. As a fairly quiet, well-behaved baby in the years that followed, I like to think that was my way of paying back my mother for what I put her through during labour.
I don’t actually remember talking about abortion as a child or even as a teen but somewhere along the way my parents instilled in me the value of life. It was clear that an unplanned pregnancy was a difficult situation yet I knew the “option” of abortion took a life. That was something I would never allow myself to choose. It’s easy to say “I would never have an abortion” when you aren’t facing the complete upheaval of your life or the fear of your child having health complications. I think we all occasionally wonder, “how would I really handle that?” That’s why now, when I talk to teens I strongly encourage them, “decide today that you will never choose abortion”, because in the moment there are a lot of outside pressures.
Thank God my mother had already made that decision. In the very early stages of my life, my mother had an incredible pain in her abdomen. They had been trying to conceive so an ultrasound was scheduled and the doctor’s cold diagnosis was, “It looks like a bad clump of cells”. He recommended a Dilatation and Curettage procedure (D&C abortion) to remove the “clump”. “What do you mean, a bad clump of cells?” my mother asked, “What if I’m pregnant?” The doctor insisted it would be best if they just removed the “bad clump of cells” but offered no further scientific explanation of what the “cells” were. My parents requested a second ultrasound to be sure but the doctor scheduled the D&C anyway. Deeply concerned and unsure my parents prayed that if there was a baby, God would have the hospital cancel the appointment...and they did! A few days before the D&C was scheduled, a nurse called, apologizing for the cancelation and asked if they could rebook. “Don’t bother” my mother said with a beaming smile. At the next ultrasound it was clear the “bad clump of cells” was a baby….it was me.
Fast forward five years, another severe pain in the abdomen while pregnant. Initially the doctors suggested it was an ectopic pregnancy but after the ultrasound said, “it looks like bad tissue grouping in the uterus. You should have a D&C just in case” The science wasn’t adding up for my parents. How could the “clump” in her uterus just be “bad tissue” when there were other indicators of pregnancy? What is the tissue? Where did it come from? The white coats only offered, “We don’t know, sometimes these things happen.” That wasn’t good enough. They had been wrong before so my mother firmly stated, “Unless I’m about to die I’m not having a D&C.”
A second ultrasound was no more definitive. The doctors still claimed to be unsure what the bad tissue was and again recommended a D&C. She said, “absolutely not...especially if you don’t even know!” That bad tissue turned out to be my younger sister; my best friend to this day. We were almost a statistic. We almost join the 300 other babies that are aborted in Canada every day.
One of God’s gifts to women, and particularly my mother, is intuition and discernment. When we complement that with education and resources we empower mothers and fathers to make life saving choices. My entrance into the world may have been less than elegant but I arrived healthy and strong and very much a living human being. Now I direct Halton Alive, helping women choose life in the face of fear and the unknown. Equipping pro-lifers to be ambassadors in the community so we can create a healthier, stronger, more loving Halton. Pretty good for “just a bad clump of cells.”