The Uterus Store

Meredith Cummings
4 min readMay 8, 2022
When my daughter was younger, after school I would often take her back to work with me (just by Bryant-Denny Stadium, in the back). Snack and homework time while juggling work was our daily routine.

Mother’s Day has a different meaning this year.

I have an only child. I shut down my uterus store at 31. The “We are closed” sign went up and no more babies were to enter as customers. The womb is in the tomb. “One and done,” I still joke to people.

But that’s not what I wanted.

Growing up I always pictured a large family. At least five kids, I said. I will be a great mom, I said. It will come naturally, I said.

None of that was true. Mama said there would be days like this.

I struggled through the first year. Postpartum depression hit me like a sudden car crash. I was T- boned. I was scared and scarred after almost dying during childbirth when an artery tore, ripped my uterus and cervix and I essentially bled to death before transfusions saved me.

I know about life, death, birth and rebirth. I know God.

Were I to get pregnant after my daughter’s birth, I would almost certainly die and — at the least — the baby’s health would be in question. Yet I felt the safety net of options beneath me.

This Mother’s Day I worry, once again scared, that my daughter — my now-19-year-old baby — won’t have those options. What if she gets pregnant and acknowledges how difficult motherhood is? What if she decides she is simply not ready to be a mom and it’s too much? What if her birth control — which she takes to help regulate mental illness — is taken away? What if she is able to use birth control but gets pregnant anyway? What if the other parent is not ready and she doesn’t want to raise a baby alone?

My mind races through the day and night, the question like a thumping heartbeat: “What if? What if? What if?”

I don’t want her to carry that fear. I want her to have freedom over her own future. I want her to choose her own path. Like mother, like daughter. Like every parent, I want my child to thrive.

My views on abortion are so extraordinarily complicated by religion, society and shame, which cannot light without the fuel of isolation. Shame carries the Scarlet A society has put on women: that it is a motivator for “moral” behavior.

Like almost every other facet of my life, growing up in the Deep South jewel of purity culture deeply…

--

--

Meredith Cummings

Freelance journalist, Teaching Assistant Journalism Professor at Lehigh University, Essayist, Book reviewer