First off, I’d like to say I’m writing this article because I feel that no one ever discusses the trauma an abortion has on a woman. Having an abortion was the most traumatic experience of my life. It hurt me more than my sexual assault. It hurt me more than any of the abuse I’ve faced. It’s the only thing I can say genuinely shattered my heart. We publicly discuss so many traumatic experiences- rape, abuse, illnesses, deaths. But no one publicly discusses the emotions or experience behind an abortion. Instead we hide it because we live with shame and guilt. Because we fear we’ll be judged. I know I certainly did.
Two years ago I found out I was pregnant. I remember it so vividly. I had long suspected I was pregnant however about a week before my doctors appointment I had taken an at home pregnancy test and the results were negative. I believed I was in the clear, plus I was on birth control so began thinking I was just being paranoid. A week later I’m at my doctors appointment getting an ultrasound on my kidneys due to kidney stones. As the tech was moving around looking for my kidney she instead discovered a fetus. I was 22, going on 23 years old. My fiancé and I had only been friends casually hooking up at the time. I was in no position to have a child— I was still your average broke, struggling student barely making a way for myself. I already knew what I had to do.
I contemplated if I should tell my fiancé or not. As I said, we were just hooking up and had just became close friends at that. I was sitting in my night class, that same day, when I sent him a text informing of the news. I straightforwardly told him I knew what needed to be done and let him know that he shouldn’t worry. I tried to add a little humor to the text so that it seemed like it was no big deal. Truthfully, I was dying inside. For so long I told myself I didn’t support abortions. I didn’t believe it was okay to take an innocent life away because of my own poor decisions. I knew that in order to not get so wrapped up in the decision I would have to be quick about it.
I told my mom and I was at the abortion clinic the next day. I couldn’t believe I was in a place like this. It was like, how the hell did I get here? I remember watching all the women there, judging them as if I weren’t in the same position myself. I kept telling myself that I was no better than them but I also kept thinking somehow me getting an abortion wasn’t as bad as them doing it.
The first step was getting the sonogram done. I was terrified. I kept thinking if I actually saw this life in me or heard it’s heartbeat I wouldn’t be able go through with it. I watched the screen so hard waiting to see her (I say her so confidently because my family seems to only produce girls). Moments later I was looking at my little “Bean.” I thought of endless possibilities as I looked at her. What her life would be like if she grew up in a struggle, what it would’ve looked like if we raised her as one happy family. I wanted her, I genuinely did, but I knew then just wasn’t the time for me. For a moment I almost changed my mind. I thought about how my mom had three kids by the time she was 22 and she was nowhere near ready for us when we arrived but she did it. I felt like if she could do it with three children then I could definitely do it with one. What helped me make my final decision was when I thought about how if I did keep her it wouldn’t just impact my life. Her dad was definitely not in a position to raise a child and I reminded myself that I wasn’t either. I asked the tech if she could could print out the images so I could keep them. After that I was sent back to the waiting area.
The wait to get the procedure done took hours. When the moment finally came I cried. I knew what I was doing and I knew what I was giving up. It wasn’t what I wanted to do but I knew it was what I needed to do. I remember waking up from the procedure and it felt like hours had passed, I looked at my phone and realized it had only been minutes. I was surrounded by other woman who had also had their procedure done. We all seemed emotionless, just sitting there with no type of expression. I was shocked that there weren’t any type of grief counseling offered. They just remove the fetus and expect you to go on about your day.
After I was dismissed from the recovery room I walked back to the waiting area, received my copy of the sonogram, and my mother escorted me out. After that I went into complete disassociation mode. I didn’t want to feel anything about what I had just done. I was riddled with guilt and shame. So many thoughts ran though my head. I kept thinking that I completed an unforgivable sin. I was so disgusted with myself for being put into a situation that was simply due to my poor choices. For months it was all I could think about, it was literally haunting me.
Fast forward to now, two years later, and here I am– still constantly thinking about her. I look at the sonogram from time to time. There are nights where I hold my belly as if there’s still a life inside of me. It wasn’t too long ago that my fiance had to hold my weeping self in his arms because I started dwelling on what I had done again. When I think about everything that we’ve built in this last two years I think about how she would have her own room, childhood pets, and two happy parents but I know had I kept her at that time those things wouldn’t exist today. Do I regret my decision? While I’ve always dreamed of being a mom, I never dreamed of raising my child in a struggle. At 22 years old I was broke and mentally struggling. I couldn’t imagine raising my child while I was trying to heal and better myself. So no, I don’t regret my decision to not bring my child into this world during a time where I wouldn’t have been able to give her everything she deserved.