Dear readers, in this post I will cover a topic that I have not yet written about. Since July 2012, I have been using this blog as my outlet; using it as my tool to try and create lyrics of thoughts running through my head. I have written my experiences, my downfalls, my victories. But one subject I had not yet had the courage to share. Perhaps I was not ready, or perhaps I feared stepping into a territory that is often belittled, abused, and harassed. No matter the reasons, I have decided that it is time to come clean.
This is the story of my abortion.
In June of 2011, I had just moved into a new apartment with a boy named Trevor*. I had no income, was going to school part-time, and had barely enough government help to buy food.
Toward the end of the month, I began feeling ill. I had all of the classic signs of pregnancy, but since I was on birth control, the thought didn’t even cross my mind. After an ER visit for nausea (the life of having no medical insurance), the Dr. came in from reading my blood test and announced that I was pregnant. The room caved in around me, sweat began dripping from my forehead. I felt a rush of panic wash into every part of my body, and I held my head down all the way home.
“I’m pregnant,” I spoke softly to Trevor.
“Well, what are you going to do?”
It was a simple question, I guess, but one that I had not thought about. I was so busy coming down from the shock of the news and worrying about his reaction, that I had not even realized that deep down inside, I was excited. There was no possible way that I could want or keep this baby …. or was there?
“What do you think?” I asked, not sure how to compose my thoughts into word form.
“Well we obviously can’t have a baby right now. In the future, sure, but not now. We are both in school, and live off of a small income. It would be impossible,” he replied, with little emotion.
I began weeping, which quickly turned into sobs. My body fell to the floor and I pulled at a piece of ripped up carpet. I was not prepared for my world to come crumbling down like this. I wanted him to kneel down next to me, hold me tight, and tell me that whatever I decided was okay. That if I wanted to keep the baby, we could somehow make it work. I guess I just wanted, no needed, some support. Love. Kindness. But instead, he stood coldly next to me, rolling his eyes at the “scene” I was playing out.
“You have to get an abortion, it’s the only way,” he finally blurted out, “But I mean, it’s up to you.”
The next day, I walked down to Planned Parenthood to get the abortion information. I hadn’t slept the night before. Everything was hazy and blurry, and it seemed like there was no moment to just catch my breath and think about what I wanted. I found out that there was an abortion clinic just a few blocks from where I lived, and for $500, I could pretend this never happened.
I walked home slowly, robotically pulling out a cigarette … but as I lit it, I threw it into a trash can along with the rest of the pack. Why the hell did I care about smoking if I was just going to have an abortion in a couple weeks? What did it matter?
I cant really answer that. I guess it just felt wrong.
And maybe, now that I am looking back, I thought that I could somehow find a way to make the pregnancy work.
School went on and I had a hard time keeping up. I was out of breath just walking from one class to another, I was nauseous and sick and had no energy. But for some reason, I didn’t care much. I felt myself growing a sense of pride. I let myself play with the idea of being a mom and carrying a life inside of me. I would walk home with a tiny glimmer in my eyes … but that would soon fade as I approached my front door.
Trevor became distant, and provided little support. He seemed completely un-phased, as if the “problem” had already been solved in his mind. I felt like I was carrying the entire burden alone, and ended up convincing myself that the abortion was necessary.
As I entered the clinic two weeks later with what was supposed to be my rent money in hand, Trevor trailed behind me. He had transformed into a different person that morning, holding my hand and offering me words of encouragement. His words of “You are doing the right thing,” passed through my mind as I handed the office clerk the money and signed the consent forms. “You are doing the right thing,” I heard, as we were separated and I was taken back into an office.
“Lie down on the table and lift up your blouse,” spoke the doctor. He was going to do an ultrasound to confirm my pregnancy. I tried to keep my eyes from the screen, but I was drawn to it. I was doing okay until I heard it. The heartbeat. A heartbeat, inside of me. A separate being inside of my belly. I turned my head toward the wall and felt two tears fall from my eyes. I didn’t want to do what I was about to do. I could make it work. I could …. but alas, the doctor told me wait in the next room, and I followed his orders.
I undressed and put on the gown, and laid down on the cold table. My legs were spread and I was given medicine for anxiety and for pain. In just a few minutes, the deed was done and the pain washed over me like a wave.
The physical recovery lasted a couple of weeks, but the mental anguish I felt still sits with me to this day. Only a week after my abortion, Trevor told me that he regretted the decision and that I was a monster. I kicked his ass out days later.
I have hidden from this experience, that only a handful of people know about, because I feel that I sit in a very forbidden place. I am pro-choice, but sometimes regret my decision. I have tried to convince myself that I was in no place to have a child, that life was not optimal, that everything pointed to the abortion being the best thing for everyone involved. I have tried to be okay. I have tried.
But just a few days ago, driving with my husband (NOT the same guy, obviously), I heard a song on the radio. And for some reason, it reminded me of that day long ago. I felt disgusted and overwhelmed with rage. I felt sad. I felt that I could have made it work, that if I had just had some kind of support, I would have made a very different decision. I felt weak because maybe I shouldn’t have needed support. And I felt guilt for feeling this way, because sometimes I feel that parts of society say I shouldn’t.
Now that I am on a path with my husband of thinking about starting a family, I can’t help but feel a tug on my heart. What will make this baby worth keeping, and the other worth disposing of? Will I feel guilt the rest of my life? Will I look at my future child and always wonder what might have been?
This post is neither an anti-abortion nor a pro-abortion post. This post is not a debate. I am not interested in forcing my opinions on anyone else, or having them try to do the same to me. I accept that everyone else has their own views and experiences and beliefs, and I hope that I can get that same acceptance.
This is simply my story and my experience. And I hope someday, I can find peace.
As an end to this post, I would like to thank my husband. He has always given me the freedom of choice; a voice that is equal (and even sometimes more powerful) than his.