Funeral For A Fetus

Simple, elegant ideas for your next embryo entombment.

Image: Don LaVange

I thought having a funeral service for my abortion would be total bummer. I mean, there I was with my unwanted pregnancy, and a fairly simple medical procedure to solve my problem. Yes, it would have been great to have just gotten my abortion and been on my merry way. Yes, the fetus was the size of a pea and I did not end a life so much as prevent one from coming into being. Yes, I was actually doing so many people — the person who got me pregnant, my parents, the planet, oh, and me (whatever lol) — a big fat fucking favor. All I wanted to do was have two whiskey sours and watch season four of “Last Tango In Halifax,” but instead I had to plan a funeral for my fetus.

Did I want to scream and cry and punch things? You bet I did! But I am not a victim. I was determined to make this the best damn fetus funeral ever.

First off, I had to get a tiny coffin. It had to be about the size of my thumbnail. It had to have some gravitas but I also wanted it to be, I don’t know, something that I enjoyed as an object because as I said, I didn’t want to just go through the motions, and just be like, “Poor me, the state of Texas is forcing me (and the other 75,000 women who get abortions in Texas every year) to have a funeral for my fetus, now I have an excuse to fail!”

So I called every single maker of artisanal dollhouse furniture I could find. They were all super nice, but in the end agreed it was logistically impossible to make a coffin that small. So I put up a Facebook status: “Hive mind! Ideas for inexpensive, cool fetus coffin hacks?” My friend Shelley suggested a walnut shell, which I thought was so genius. But it was too big. So I used a pistachio shell. Everyone agreed it was adorable but also low-key — exactly the vibe I was going for.

Deciding what to do for the eulogy was tough. I asked the dude who got me pregnant if he wanted to say anything and he was like, “Isn’t that your job, you’re the one who got pregnant,” and I said, “You’re an idiot, I can’t believe I had sex with you 1.4 times,” and he said, “You’re insane, why are you having a funeral for a fetus?” and I said, “Because we live in Texas and it’s a law,” and he said, “That’s ridiculous, no one would ever make someone have a funeral for a fetus, women are so paranoid.” Anyway, this was a miserable conversation but the good thing was I had the foresight to record it and I played it in lieu of a eulogy. It worked out so perfect, because once the recording ended, people looked at each other and were like, “Ok, yeah, we get it, that’s enough.”

As we filed out, my mom whispered to me, “Did you realize there are tons of people here but not one single fetus?” and I looked around and realized how lucky the fetus was that all these people had showed up for me, because if they hadn’t, there would have been literally no one here, and that would have been depressing.

I kept it simple for afterward — I just heated up some Parker House rolls and made a ham and set out some mustard and paper plates. Still, everyone raved about it. I also got some beer and wine. I got bottled beer instead of canned, because although no one would ever consider shotgunning a beer at a person’s funeral, I have some friends from college who might think it was ok to do it at a fetus funeral and I figured, hey — better to remove all temptation! I ended up not getting flowers at all. I was going to, but while I was showing my funeral planner a couple options, she looked at me very seriously and was like, “What do you think the fetus would have wanted?”

I looked back at her and said “Uh, I think it wouldn’t give a shit if we had flowers because six-week old fetuses have not yet developed flower preferences.” She said, “I think it’s amazing that you have the strength to go with your gut even after going through this really hard thing.” And I was like “By ‘really hard thing’ do you mean paying five hundred dollars for something that should have been free and then having to turn around and buy a fucking ham?”

I can’t lie — the funeral was sheer torture for me. But I think everyone else had a pretty good time, and when it comes to hostessing, that’s how I measure success.