Abortion: Not Just A Statistic, But a Story.

At the Palais Des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, 2009, Photo By Alabera An Ran Zhao

It seems almost logical that I should write about abortion. This is a personal feminist blog and I have had two abortions.

I’m somewhat comfortable talking about them. When I’m not, it isn’t because it’s too difficult for me to share or that I become overwhelmed with emotions at the thought of unchosen motherhood; it’s because I know that I will inevitably be judged by the person in front of me.

My internalized judgment used to be the stigma of being only 26 and having already racked up two abortions on my membership card of the abortion club (which does not exist). My internalized judgement is pretty quiet now and I barely ever hear it speak up when I think about my experiences.

I used to feel like I had to defend my decision to have an abortion. I used to feel like I had to explain why I had an abortion. I used to feel like I had to say that it was a difficult decision. I will put it bluntly and say that it was never a difficult decision. Abortion was already my default decision before I had ever known I was pregnant. I did it because my life was more important to me. My potential was and is more important to me. I never would or will let anything preventable get in the way of my happiness, my health and my education.

I will not lie and say that I wasn’t affected by the abortions themselves. I was 21 when I had my first one. I had been having sex with an on and off boyfriend whom I loved more than he loved me. We had dated but broken up because he didn’t want to be in a committed relationship, so I said I was ok with keeping things casual. That relationship was incredibly damaging to my psyche. I just kept hoping he would eventually fall back in love with me while I spent hundreds of francs on lingerie, perfumes and short dresses.

I remember peeing on the pregnancy test stick, trying to avoid pee from splashing onto my hand while my heart pounded into my ears. Yup, I was pregnant. No, the pill does not always work. I made an appointment with my gynecologist immediately. I wasn’t too far along, only about 6 weeks. The actual moments leading up to the abortion were actually ok, I was a little scared but my father and sister were incredibly supportive. I got awesome drugs when I was in the fancy Swiss clinic and the not-boyfriend came to see me post-abortion when I was high as shit, which my sister recounted as being funny as hell.

The hard part was a few days later. I was bleeding a lot at home, the doctor told me this was normal, but I could tell it wasn’t. Despite this, I tried being a good little trooper, and I went to school just a few days later. Big mistake. I was in the cafeteria when I was feeling waves of pain in my uterus, it was so excruciating that it took my breath away. I called the gynecologist to describe what I felt, he told me to get to his office ASAP. My poor, panicked father came to collect me at the school nurse’s office where my mentor was rubbing my back while I rocked backwards and forwards trying to not pull my uterus out with my bare hands to throw it against the wall.

At the doctor’s office: quick sonogram and it turned out “they hadn’t aspirated everything out,” and I was experiencing contractions. So back to the clinic we went for round two, (I thought the swiss medical experience was supposed to be swift and precise).

I was injected with a lot of morphine upon arrival. I was shaking with the pain and the panic. They had trouble finding my vein for the general anesthesia, I was shaking too violently. The nurse tried my arm until that vein couldn’t handle it any longer, and then she started poking my bony little hand. I was freezing I think, but the needle was finally in and they wheeled me into a room, put my legs in stirrups and had me inhale the precious gases which tucked me away into darkness.

Why am I telling you all the gory details? Because despite having had a pretty tough experience with my first abortion, I do not regret my decision. I made the right one.

I will spare you the long and drawn out details of my second abortion which I had here in Philadelphia in 2012. But I wanted to describe to you the relief of not being pregnant anymore: There was no guilt, there was no shame, (despite what the clinic protestors hurled at me), there was not a drop of regret. I was proud of my decision to keep marching the fuck on. I remember walking down Market street after a check up with a counselor at the clinic, I felt light and unencumbered by a weight that had previously been forcing me into the ground.

The second pregnancy took every single dose of happiness out of my life. I was deeply depressed and I wanted to kill myself. But having that second abortion gave me the chance to become the person that I am today and the person that I will become.

It is not for me to judge whether women should or shouldn’t choose abortion over any other choice available. We are women, we are nuanced, we have different experiences, upbringings and resources available to us. I made the right decisions for myself.

The road after each abortion wasn’t easy. I’ve had other things in life occur which have interrupted my undergraduate studies over the past 6 years. Today I am in a healthy relationship, I have someone who loves me for the person that I am, experiences and all. I am back on track with my studies, I am doing what I love doing and I am happy. I haven’t been able to say that in long time. I am really, truly happy. And it took me a while to get here, but it feels fucking awesome.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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