With the caveat “If you’re against abortion or you are easily grossed out by talk of graphic surgical procedures, don’t read,” mayfly on Feministing shares her personal story with abortion: I Had an Abortion (And I don’t regret it).
Here is most of it:
I had an abortion last month. It was probably the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make. I love children and I want to be a mother SO badly. Call me unfeminist if you will, but my dream is to have that white picket fenced house in the suburbs with a pack of kids, a husband, and a bunch of pets. I’m 21 years old, I don’t have a steady job or a car or my own house, my boyfriend and I have only been together for 6 months, my health is crap, I’m a borderline alcoholic, yada yada yada. So really, bad time to have a baby. I am not a fan of adoption – I’ve heard far too many horror stories, and I couldn’t send my baby out in the world to be raised by someone else who might not be a good parent. If anyone’s going to fuck up my kids, it’s going to be me!, and given my health and drinking, it would have been likely that I and/or my child would have been seriously damaged by the pregnancy.
So the choice was clear: abortion was the way to go. Even though deep down I knew that I just couldn’t have a child right now, it really hurt to admit it, and I was terrified (irrationally so) that maybe the pro-lifers were right – I WOULD regret it forever, I WOULD have “post-abortion syndrome”, I WOULD be smote by God, I would become infertile and get breast cancer and DIE, or something. I was also scared that it would hurt too much, physically, and I would die from blood loss or something. Surgery scares me, and considering I found out I was pregnant quite late due to my irregular periods (14 weeks) and wasn’t able to get an appointment until nearly 16 weeks, it was a more invasive and risky procedure than if I had found out at say, 6 weeks and had it terminated at 8 weeks.
So, I went in to the clinic with my boyfriend, filled out a few forms, and went in to the “counseling room” with a kind young woman who explained the procedure and asked if I had any questions. I had checked the boxes on the form for birth control prescription (obviously the pill wasn’t doing it for me, so I wanted to try something new) and pap smear, so she also explained a few different types of birth control and we settled on the nuvaring, which she wrote me a prescription for on the spot. I was a little shaky, so she gave me a hug as well.
After that, I continued on to the exam room, where the tech did a quick ultrasound and gave me a muscle relaxant and some sort of white, sharp sided pill (cytotec?) to put up my vagina to soften the cervix. Ick! This was the worst part of the procedure by far. The feeling just grossed me out. But somehow I survived, and after an hour of listening to White Snake in the “comfort room”, I was led to the OR and I cracked grammar jokes with the nurse while she hooked me up to an IV. I honestly don’t remember much after that, but apparently the procedure took a mere 5 minutes, and it didn’t hurt at all. The nurse led me out to another waiting room and fed me juice and cookies, and I was allowed to rest for as long as I needed.
And….that’s it! I felt pretty crappy for about 2 weeks afterward – I bled like a stuck pig for almost a week, my breasts were swollen to painful proportions, and my emotions were a total rollercoaster, but…it got better. I’m sitting here now feeling 100% okay with my choice. My abortion went totally by the book, I haven’t been smote by a vengeful god, I’m not wracked with guilt, and my boyfriend and I are still together and happier than ever.
That’s my happy abortion story.
As I recently wrote about Ayelet Waldman, each woman’s story with abortion is unique, and yet the telling of every story is a gift to each woman who has had an abortion:
Other women who have had abortions may listen to her story and relate, they may feel like she is describing their own experience. Others may not, and find her reaction and feelings bear no resemblance to what they experienced. Ayelet is not trying to speak for every woman, though the very act of speaking, of telling her truth, and doing it with such emotion and brutal honesty, is a gift to every woman who has had an abortion.
Keep the stories coming ladies. I hope the men and other loved ones join in too and share their own experiences of abortion.
Some questions I have, that I hope future storytellers will address:
• What did you need to feel supported and respected?
• What/who/how did you get that support? If you didn’t get it, what would you have liked?
• What advice would you give to other women in similar situations?
• What would you have wanted to know that you didn’t?
• What did you know (or believe) that helped you get through it?
• Has anything changed about the way you think about a past abortion/s over time?
• What did you learn about yourself through this experience?