*TW: Sexual assault, domestic abuse, pregnancy, abortion
I’ve struggled to write this blog for years. Little blurbs that I want to make sure are included are sloppily typed in the Notes app, scribbled on scratch paper littering my office, and spoken into voice memos from random days. For so long, I didn’t know how to turn some of the worst moments of my life into something that would actually benefit someone. All the emotions and thoughts bouncing around my head were difficult to streamline into anything productive.
I have struggled with the implications putting this on the internet might have on me, my relationships, or my future. To not share my story, however, would mean that I wasn’t fully getting all the purpose from my pain. Today, on a day that sets our country back 50+ years, the words seem to sew themselves together pretty easily. It’s actually been somewhat easy to type the words I’ve been struggling with for so long: I had an abortion.
Setting Some Things Straight
Here on the blog, I share a lot of things that someone else might consider a “skeleton in the closet.” From the gruesome details of chronic pain to the lowest of my mental health lows, I have never felt ashamed in being honest about where I’ve come from. This is not an exception to that.
It has been a long time coming, but The Supreme Court’s direct attack on women’s rights makes this essential now. The face of abortion is not a bunch of high-school aged girls using it as a form of birth control or women making the “selfish” choice to live without the stress of a child. It’s mothers who are experiencing liver failure and risking her life. There’s women of all ages who simply cannot afford to have a baby or give a child any sort of quality life. It’s young girls and women that are victims of sexual abuse.
There’s wealthy women, incarcerated women, victims, unemployed women, wives, daughters, sick women, and so many more of us in between. One of the only things that we have in common is that we had to make decision that no one wants to make and now, we have to be synonymous with murderers because of it.
My Abortion Story
There’s a long, long story leading up to my abortion. Some of the details, however, aren’t helpful toward the goal of this blog. They’re wounds that I’ve exhaustively talked about with therapists and medical professionals on more than one occasion, but that have started to heal. So, I’ll give you the details that are important to the story while still guarding my heart a little.
The foundational information to this story is this: I got pregnant at 20 years old with an ex. The promise of “getting back together” left me really naive to the problems that we’d broken up over in the first place. I was still blind to all the instances of narcissistic abuse within my relationship. I’ve spoken about my experience with a partner displaying narcissistic tendencies, but I’ll never be able to really describe the day in and day outs of those days.
To say that I was innocent wouldn’t be truthful. As I’ve said before, I acted horrible in moments of hurt and pain. There were absolutely moments where I was adding toxicity to an already volatile relationship. And, as people are quick to point out, I do know what a consequence of sex is. Just as I answered when seeking an abortion, I was not convinced, blackmailed, or coerced into my decision. I would still make the same decision over again today if 50 years of women’s rights weren’t just stripped from me, that is.
I don’t feel I need to give anyone a reason as to why I didn’t want to have a child at 20 years old. I definitely don’t feel like I have to prove instances of abuse within my relationship to be validated in that difficult choice. It was my body, my life, and my future that were affected in that moment.
Coming to the decision that I would choose abortion was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. It was harder than dealing with the endometriosis pain since I started my period, losing 11 pounds because I couldn’t keep anything down while pregnant, or even having the actual abortion.
Obviously, there are so many horrible moments that lead up to this decision. I don’t want to give those moments life with a blog. The reason for my abortion doesn’t matter; sharing my story and putting a different face to something so stigmatized does. I’m sharing my story in hopes that it finds a woman that needs it. I just really hope that she knows that she doesn’t need a “good reason” to make a decision about her own uterus.
The Abortion: First Appointment
My first trip to the clinic was traumatic. My partner was not able to be there for some reason or another. So, my mom held my hand and soothed me as I walked into an appointment that would change my life.
People approached our car and yelled to me about “all the other options”. There were other options, but none that would work for me. My decision had been made. Throughout the first appointment, the staff always had disclaimers about what they were able to do and say per Wisconsin State Law. They were obligated to use the word “baby” and made sure that I saw the ultrasound. That staff was forced by State Law to make this as unappealing as possible in hopes that the gravity of the decision would change my mind.
That gravity had been weighing on me since my first pregnancy test. The weight of which was making me very physically ill. I was anemic, dehydrated, and losing weight rapidly. The doctor prescribed some anti nausea medicine so that I could actually get my body some nutrients. Then, I was sent home. Wisconsin had a 48-hour minimum waiting period between the initial appointment and procedure. I think it was in hopes that I would change my mind. I didn’t. Don’t worry though, I could have immediately gotten a gun if I wanted it.
The Abortion: Second Appointment
My partner begrudgingly agreed to attend the actual procedure with me. Looking back, one of my parents would have been a better option as you can only have one guest. He had somewhere to be (which I later found out was someone to see) and let me know before we walked in. “This needs to be done by one. I have class,” he had said.
Because of my anxiety and depression, the clinic-appointment counselor had suggested the suction abortion method. It was one where ending my pregnancy was completely done by a doctor that day. No pills that my anxiety would probably cause me to throw up.
I was given 600 mg of ibuprofen and something to avoid infection as preparation. As I laid there, I gripped the hand of a stranger. No guests were allowed in treatment rooms or the recovery area. She asked me about shows I was watching on Netflix. It was a stupid conversation, but it kept the focus off the pain. I watched as the bedpan was taken away and only half listened as the doctor described what she had done to my body. My life had just completely changed in the presence of two strangers. It was overwhelming to say the least.
The recovery room was lonely, sterile, and distant. No guests are allowed to hold your hand or decompress with you per Wisconsin State Law. You spend the first moments after a terrible moment of your life with a juice, thick maxi-pad, and microwavable heating pad.
My recovery was uncomfortable to say the very least. As someone that was very much struggling in my journey with endometriosis (another reason that motivated my abortion decision), my recovery was unique. When professionally done, the rate of complications only hover at about 1%. I was given a lot of grace from my family, friends, and workplace to recover at my own pace – a privilege very few women who seek abortions have.
My ex and I went no contact a year later after a particularly heated argument. From then on, my abortion has never been used against me. His exit from my life and an extensive therapy schedule was the start of my mental recovery. The days that I thought about it started to get fewer. Tears shed less frequently and in smaller waves. As with most past traumas, there are days that are harder than others. There is a lot more guarding of my heart now. Today, however, there are long periods of time where it won’t cross my mind even once.
I’m easily able to say that I made the right call. If I had to go back, I’d do it again. My story was just that: MY story. The more that I dealt with the recovery and trauma, I was able to truly understand that it had nothing to do with anyone else. On that day, I made the absolute best decision for me, my future, my mental health, my finances, my physical health, and my life for the ONLY person that would have to live through it all…me.
What Hitting Post Means
As I type this, I’m not sure what will come of hitting Post. I’m not sure what relationships in my life will change or how differently people will think of me. It could lose followers or supporters of my business. At the end of the day, though, I’ve felt my emotions about this skeleton. I’ve cried, screamed, and said worse things to myself than any stranger on the internet can say.
I’ve realized that hitting the Post button will not change my value to those that matter in my life. Hitting Post is something that I’ve felt I needed to do for so long. Now, more than ever, as our country steps into the scariest parts of our past. You are not alone and I will not stop fighting for us.
My Abortion in Perspective
My abortion story is one of so much privilege. I was able to seek safe abortion care in a clean facility. Nearly, 45% percent of women already have unsafe abortions due to lack of access. I had a support system for my mental and physical recovery. In the grand scheme, however, maternal deaths are increasing as the stigma of abortion care changes legislation. Overturning Roe vs. Wade is a direct attack on millions of women. They are women with so many different contexts and needs.
Restricting access to abortion care isn’t about protecting the lives of the unborn. The “Pro-Life” movement never cared about my life or the lives of women who are currently in my position. It’s about having power and control over lives that we then aren’t responsible for living. After all, Pro-Life certainly doesn’t mean pro-women lives or pro-quality of life.
I’m furious. I hope you are too. If you or someone you know can relate to this in some way, reach out. I am one of millions of people in this country that are by your side. Connect with me at any of the socials below. Fight with me here: abortionfund.org