Neutiquam Erro - Chapter Four

Based on a true story, this work has been in progress for 10 years. Alongside the stories are the poems, songs and artwork that have accompanied the journey of a child.

Neutiquam Erro is Latin and translates in English to “I am not lost at all”.


Her body was no longer “hostile” and she was no longer afraid of monsters.

The delight and wonder at her perfect children was always touched with melancholy. So many bright little faces she had lost before term and each one had left a scar across her soul. 7 scars, 7 names, 7 precious souls who chose only to touch her life for a moment before fading away, replaced by blood and pain and tears.

7 times she cried, great sobbing, gut wrenching tears that left her as empty as her womb. 7 fantasies, dared to dream as all mothers do, of a future. She saw each tow headed child and in her mind she held them, telling each in their turn how much she truly loved them and to each she said goodbye.


Many years later she would face the loss of a child again.

The doctors told her she could not have this child. They told her to look at her 3 healthy babes, who would care for them if she died?

They told her it just wasn’t possible, the risk was too great. The last two pregnancies had seen her hospitalised and delivered by emergency caesarean. The lupus was already flaring up, the seizures were new to her, what if this pregnancy caused a massive seizure? Finally the doctor told her she was being selfish and he would not deliver her. On the entire island of Tasmania there was not one single doctor she could find who would help her to carry and deliver this child.

She decided they must know best, she promised herself never to put herself ahead of her children, but which ones had more right? Those already born or those still to come?

They didn’t call it an abortion. They called it a S.T.O.P – Surgical Termination of Pregnancy. They sent her to the maternity ward. The pictures of smiling proud mothers, the breastfeeding posters, the baby motifs on the walls, all crowded around her and once again she felt like that dirty little girl of her childhood.

She cried then, not for her unborn child but for pity of herself. She had tried so hard all those years ago just to keep a child and now she was about to destroy one. She told herself that even that was selfish and she closed her eyes but the images of picture perfect nursing mothers clawed their way past her tightly closed lids, burned on her heart with a stamp that screamed: “murderer!”

The nurse was so apologetic. No one had read the doctors notes that said she was not a willing participant in this procedure. No one had even considered she might desperately wish something else could be done. They moved her to a quiet office and left her alone with her grief until it was time.


Years later she would still wonder if she should have made a different choice? If she had refused the S.T.O.P., what would they have done? Would she have been ok? Would the baby have been ok?

But if she died, who would look after her other babies? They were as much orphans as her.

short_stories | literature

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