This stunning, personable, ambivalent woman asks to involve her brooding, chill man-involved (MI).
First, she mentions the wait—the two hours she has spent checking-in, completing five pages of pre-counseling paperwork, lab tests, her ultrasound and exam. I explain the provider shortage complex and it suffices because this is what she really wants to talk about:
She is a mother of three—two biological, all his. He is seemingly firm but silent. She glows. She has become soft. She loves children. She bunches up like an adoring mother ogling one hundred babies. She’s going to school. She’ll start her career. She’ll probably want more fascinating children.
Religion isn’t her burden. She doesn’t say she never thought it would happen to her, doesn’t say she’s not like all the rest. They collectively gasp when I affirm the immensity of family planning throughout the life cycle. Menstruation to menopause. I have counseled an eleven year old. I have counseled a fifty-two year old.
She isn’t sure how she’ll go on after this. He says nothing. As she unravels close to me, she rolls her eyes to the right. To him. He is seated twelve inches behind. He cannot see her indications. I am certain he knows why he is there and why she is struggling.
I have asked her 25 questions, answered 56 and affirmed her ideals and future aspirations over three dozen times. I both enjoy her and lament for her. She is warm and passionate. Terse. Nervous. Wanting to love everything. I have addressed her misperceptions. Challenged her viewpoints. Circled her reasons.
I am not the dangling modifier in the room.
He is withholding. Stewing . There. She is choosing alone because he doesn’t want to either.
I want to wave my wand.
I ask him his reasons for NOT wanting an abortion. He is quiet, thoughtful, stern. Short on selfless support, he says, I don’t believe in them.
Oh, well, I say, I assure you they do exist.