The man kissed the woman, and she kissed back. She was promised to someone else and so was he, but she wasn’t thinking about the other people right then, not really. She wasn’t thinking about long-term consequences, not really. She knew that with that kiss everything changed, but the full weight of that didn’t matter right then. They were two people who had found their way to one another. Friendship had birthed intimacy, intimacy had given way to love, and that love carried with it a hint of lust. The friendship, intimacy, and love were still present, but that night, the lust won out. The need to connect with the man who had held her hand through countless difficulties and joys was so great that it consumed her. She was lonely, she longed to be desired. She knew that what she was doing was reckless, but she was desperate, and desperate people do desperate things.
She hadn’t taken a pregnancy test yet, but after four babies, she knew. She was tired in the way that she only felt when someone else was leeching off of her body. Her breasts ached, her hair was fuller, her period was late. But the father was still married. She was barely divorced. Between them, they already had six kids who were struggling to understand this new family dynamic. She was approaching forty.
But more than that, she felt alone. The man she planned to marry was an amazing support, but when a baby comes, a woman wants her tribe of females to surround her, and right then, she had no tribe. Her mother was desperately ill, and if she was still alive when this new baby came, she would certainly be in no position to help. Her sisters were far away, pushed away by her – by her shame and embarrassment. She had no church women to cook her casseroles or to laugh about birth stories or talk about sore nipples. Loneliness consumed her thoughts.
Her whole life she had been staunchly pro-life, but her search history contained information about RU-486 and directions to nearest clinic where she could terminate this pregnancy. She knew that this went against everything that she believed, but she was desperate, and desperate people do desperate things.
She was married to the man who had kissed her. The baby she had considered aborting became a cherished dream that was lost to pre-eclampsia. Relationships with her family were healing. Relationships with her children were improving. Relationships with her friends were starting to mend.
But her relationship with God still felt distant. Sometimes she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was still an adulteress. Sometimes she wondered if her hesitancy in accepting her pregnancy and the circumstances surrounding his conception angered God and made him take her baby from her. The shame that she was slowly dismantling in her earthly relationships seemed much harder to tear down with her God.
She knew that it started with the Church. Past rejections made it hard to make herself vulnerable again. Could she risk another escort to the back pew where she should sit quietly? Would acceptance really be full or would it come with terms and conditions that she could never meet?
She steeled herself, put on her favorite dress, and held her husband’s hand as she walked through the door. She was afraid, but she was desperate to connect to God, and desperate people do desperate things.