Pregnant and alone at Harvard

By Dave Andrusko

sadwoman64The last NRL News Today post for Wednesday is by far the most important. It is my reflections on a confessional that appeared in Harvard University’s student newspaper under the headline “Pregnant at Harvard?”

There is no online commentary following the story, written by “Anonymous.” Why? We’re told the op-ed is “anonymously due to the private and intensely personal nature of its content.” Online commentary “has been disabled for this piece in an effort to help protect the author’s identity.”

Everything about this story screams pain–an “all-encompassing pain.” We were all young once and most of us attended a college or university. Once we left home, we can remember how ‘free’ we suddenly found ourselves. And the author of this op-ed is honest–brutally honest–about how head-over-heels she fell in love with her “soulmate,” the “one person who had promised to always be there for me.” And, as is almost always the case, they broke up. Only later did she find out she was nearly four months pregnant.

“Looking back, it seems obvious that my symptoms were classic pregnancy indicators, clues we all learn in ninth-grade health class,” she writes. “I wasn’t stupid. But perhaps I was in denial.” Perhaps?

She adds, “I woke up every day praying that I was having some extended nightmare. I wasn’t.” A week later she headed to the clinic

with just a book, a water bottle, my Harvard ID, and a locket containing a picture of my ex-boyfriend and me. The procedure didn’t take long. It wasn’t even that physically painful. But when it was over, I screamed. I couldn’t stop screaming. As I write these words, it has been over a month since the abortion—and on the inside that screaming hasn’t stopped.

I truly want you to read “Pregnant at Harvard?”  so let me add just these thoughts.

It’s been a month since the abortion, she writes

There are nights where I stay up holding the locket [which has her ex-boyfriend’s picture in it], the one piece I have of both my ex-boyfriend and my child, and just cry hysterically. There are nights where I try so hard to convince myself that life is worthwhile by talking myself to sleep with thoughts of stargazing and dancing and laughter, but no matter what I think about I can’t get rid of an all-encompassing sense of pain.

“Anonymous” talks about how hard it can be at Harvard to get help, how easy it is to feel utterly alone, and how amazing it is that her roommates missed all the obvious signs. She wanted someone to take the initiative–to come to her.

She ends her powerful op-ed with thoughts about it might be “easier” to shove the ‘issue’ under the rug. But…

I’ve tried to cope with my situation by distracting myself with other boys; my ex uses his current girlfriend to pretend that everything is normal. Sometimes reality is too hard to deal with, and finding any escape seems like the only plausible option. This—telling my story—is a way to say that no matter what you’re going through, even if you can’t reach out for help at this point, you’re not the only one. You are not alone.

If you saw me today, you’d never guess what I’m hiding. You’d see me heading to class with an oversized backpack, or studying in Lamont, or dancing at a final club, or laughing in the dining hall while surrounded by friends. I look happy. But on the inside, I’m still screaming. …

I wonder if that “Pregnant At Harvard?” brochure is still sitting untouched in the Women’s Center. Maybe I should’ve picked it up freshman year.