I mourned for a patient today.
She saw me a month ago after some personal turmoil that necessitated her being tested for STDs. When she was in the lab, she asked for a pregnancy test. It came back positive, but before I could talk to her about it, she left. I tried calling her once, unsuccessfully. She was in today, a follow-up for her usual problems.
I asked her about her OB care, and she told me she'd had an abortion. "There was too much stress," she told me, "My partner and I were fighting; I lost my job; I didn't want to, but I did."
I asked her how she was doing.
"I'm terrible. I can't sleep. They told me to come back there to get a work release, but I just can't go. I don't even drive by the office. When I need to take my kids to the doctor, I go around a different way."
"I'm so sorry," I say. We talk about the counseling available at the local crisis pregnancy center. She has stopped taking the anti-depressant she was on, so we talk about restarting it. My heart is sad.
Last time I was in this situation, I grieved more for me, for what I didn't have, what I had lost.
This time, I just ache for her. And the sweet, beautiful baby whom she'll never meet.