Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ARTIFICIAL (08/11/16)
TITLE: Melody Joy
By LeslieJean Anderson
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“Yes, Mother,” said Alice, trying to keep her dignity as she sat on the edge of a chair in her mother’s living room. “I chose it this time. It was my idea.”
The older woman sat back in her chair and crossed her arms. “Well, who’s the father? Or do you even know?”
Alice winced at the implication. But she was almost forty years old, a successful career woman with a six-figure income. She’d told herself that she wasn’t afraid of her aging mother, and didn’t need her approval anymore. But still, the harshness in her mother’s voice unnerved her.
“No, I don’t know, and I planned it that way.”
“I don’t even want to ask what that means,” the other woman snapped.
“It’s artificial insemination, Mother. The baby will be mine alone. It will bear my last name. Same as yours.”
The older woman was silent, glaring at her adult daughter. Then to Alice’s surprise, her head dropped into her hands and she began to cry. Alice had never heard her mother cry. Ever. Not even when Alice’s father had died. She’d been a teenager then, and had cried for months.
Resisting the impulse to reach out and comfort her mother, Alice just stared at her. After all, her mother was the main reason her first pregnancy had ended in abortion. Pressured by her then-outraged mother and a suddenly cold-as-ice college boyfriend, Alice had protested in vain. They both said the crisis was all her fault. She’d finally agreed to the procedure.
She was left with no baby, no boyfriend, no self-esteem and no love from an angry mother.
It had taken Alice ten years to recover. She endured years of violent nightmares. The sound of a baby crying in a store would cause her to hyperventilate and break out in a cold sweat. She avoided men and focused solely on her career. Finally, she went into therapy and for the first time she talked about what had happened.
Alice made rapid progress under the guidance of a kindly professional who believed in a loving God. She explained to Alice that she’d survived a serious trauma, and that there was a name for what she was experiencing. It was Post Abortion Stress Syndrome, which most pro-abortion professionals hated to admit even existed.
One day Alice realized that it had never, ever been all her fault. There was plenty of blame to go around. With that revelation, a heavy burden on her heart evaporated. But even more importantly, she eventually surrendered to God’s love and learned how to forgive herself, her ex-boyfriend, her mother and all the doctors who’d lied to her.
When the idea of the life-giving procedure first occurred to her, joy had filled her heart. The face of a happy little girl immediately appeared in her mind. Later the same beautiful child’s face appeared in her dreams, smiling and singing. Alice had even named her before she’d ever gone to the fertility clinic – Melody Joy.
Afterwards, her only worry was the confrontation with her mother. How could she share her happiness with her cold and disapproving mother?
Finally, she spoke to the weeping woman, trying to sound gentle.
“Mom, stop crying. This is a good thing. It will be healing experience. You will have a happy daughter and a beautiful baby granddaughter. I just found out it’s a girl.”
The old woman wiped her face with her sleeve. “Are you telling me it will be a do-over? Is that what this is all about?”
“Yes, Mother. It’s a do-over. We are going to do it right this time. I wish she had a father, and maybe she will in the future. But soon I will be too old to have any children, so I am not going to wait. I can’t replace the one we lost, but I can provide a good home for this one. And I want you to be part of it.”
Alice’s mother nodded, and for the first time in fifteen years, she held out shaking arms to her daughter. Alice got up and pulled her mother into an embrace. The old woman’s tears began again, and Alice held her tight.
Her mother whispered something in Alice’s ear. Alice smiled and whispered back, “I know. Me too. It will be ok, Mom. I promise. Everything will be ok.”
742 words This is a work of fiction
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