There is no mistaking that little bright blue line. I slump down, disbelieving, to the cold, tiled bathroom floor. I stare at the little wand in my hand and I feel a tightness come over me. I want to cry, but my whole body has gone numb. Cold.
But I took every pill faithfully! my mind screams. I followed every direction. I took extra care. I did far more than most – and yet I am the one to carry. I was that .001% chance. I was the one for whom the precautions failed.
Days pass but I cannot bring myself to do what I know I must do. I am ill in the mornings, but I can never seem to purge myself of everything I wish I could. There is still something so deep it cannot come out.
I do not return any phone calls. I don’t answer when my boyfriend comes to the door. I ignore the concerned voices of my roommates. I slip into a cocoon to hide. To talk to anyone would be to make this real. Telling them of this would make it a reality I must face. Talking to them without telling them of this would make it a lie I must carry. But here in my cocoon, I can still pretend it has not happened.
But even that pretense cannot last.
The inexorable march of time means the day comes all too soon. There comes a moment when it is no longer possible to hide. I walk, with heavy feet, up the steps to my parents’ front door. My heart weighs more than my entire being.
They greet me with warm embraces. But then they pull away, concerned, when they see the truth in my eyes.
“There is something I have to tell you.” The words tumble from my mouth, but the buzzing in my ears is too loud. Tears stream from my eyes, blinding me, but still I see the looks on the face of my mother and father. These two strong, incredible people who have sacrificed everything to give me a better life, who have scrimped and saved to give me an education and opportunities, and who had grand hopes for the woman they would see me become.
All of that is squandered.
In the silence that follows, I know they are building up the courage to say it will all be fine; that we will find a way through this, that they will stand by me and still love me. It would take time and tears, but they would never forsake me.
But that is not the heart of the pain I carry. My pain remains, for the moment that I feared most has come to pass: the look on my parents’ face. The look that tells of their disappointment; that I have hurt them in the worst way possible – and yet they still love me. In that moment lies the worst of all: my shame.
This tale is a work of fiction. It tells of what would happen if my worst fears were realized. Getting pregnant is not a fear I have anymore, of course, now that I am married and am ready to start a family. But what it says about me is still true today. It used to be that my worst fear was getting pregnant. But when I follow the consequences through, I discover that underneath that fear was something deeper: a fear of shame and of disappointing my parents.
But that also tells me something else: what matters to me most is to never be the cause of hurt to those I love. Sometimes knowing your deepest fears helps you find the core of your heart and that is where you also find hope. Hope and fear, after all, are but two sides of the same coin.
What would happen if your worst fear would come to pass? How does that story play out in your mind’s eye? When you play that story out, do you discover something new about yourself?
Next week’s challenge: Write 10 reasons why you love the person you love
For Bonus Points: tell a story about a moment that made you remember your love for this person (+2 if you’ve been mad at them lately)