I have often said — and firmly believe — that the Munchkin changed my life in many ways. Some are hard and lonely and not so happy. Others? They make me who I am; strong and determined and compassionate. The time when I got pregnant, of course, was not exactly the best time of my life. It was turbulent. But I came out changed and on a path that was different than the one I was meandering when I got pregnant.
Claire Bidwell Smith’s memoir, The Rules of Inheritance, hit me in various ways. Books about grief always do. However, the one that hit me the most was actually the story about her abortion at the age of 19. I didn’t have an abortion; it was never an option in my head or heart even though I’m pro-life. I knew, when I saw the two pink lines, that I would have a baby. I didn’t know I would relinquish her, but I knew she would come to be.
But there was a part in Claire’s recollection of her abortion that let me know we are all not so very different.
Mother dies at eighteen.
Abortion at nineteen.
It’s as though I don’t have a choice.
But we always have choices.
It won’t be until over a decade later, when I am well into the actual world of parenthood, frazzled and overwhelmed with love and impatience for the tiny creature I have created, that I will realize that if I had actually had a baby at age nineteen it might have been the very thing that would have kept me from the years and years of misery and destruction ahead of me.
I firmly believe that the Munchkin pushed me down another fork in the road, away from the misery and self-loathing that I was knee deep in at the time. I experienced a whole different world of misery and self-loathing and grief, but I was absolutely determined to stay on the straight and narrow path because I wanted my daughter to be proud of me someday. She changed me. She changed my path in life. And I am forever grateful.
You can read more about The Rules of Inheritance at The BlogHer Book Club.
This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.