Abortion Journals: I had an abortion before I had my baby
Welcome to Abortion Journals, where we are exploring a deeper conversation around abortion. We’re giving real people an anonymous platform to share their stories about having their abortion, and delving into all the layers of this complex experience.
Relationship Status: Married
Politics: Democratic Socialist
I was 27 years old, and I was wiping my slate clean. I was days away from moving back to my hometown and starting a new job. Months before, I had gotten out of a long and unhealthy relationship. Two years with a sad and unstable man left me feeling hopeless, then S came into my life. We clicked instantly and seemed to be on the same page at every turn. He made me laugh, and made life feel light and purposeful. We understood each other in a way that is still hard to explain. We immediately were proficient at making joint decisions. So, the morning I schlepped to his apartment with a pregnancy test was no different. I was nauseous, irritable, and almost certain I was pregnant. We were not careful, maybe because we were both caught up in the brightness and joy we found in one another. The test lit up like a Christmas tree.
We immediately agreed to end the pregnancy as soon as possible. Both of us were in a state of flux in our lives, it was absolutely the wrong time to have a child. I called my best friends, they championed our decision. So I made a call to the Planned Parenthood in Manhattan, my old go to for plan B when it was not as readily available like it is today. The nearest appointment was in ten days. I assumed these days would feel like a perdition of guilt. I thought I would mull and lament this choice that is so heavy for so many. However, the days passed and I felt resolute.
I came from a wildly broken home. A mother who had a child on a whim, a father who was not on board to be a parent in any capacity. I was raised by a woman who yearned for familial completeness, her resentfulness turned to me when that never came to fruition. This relationship with S felt right, but I knew that the best thing to do was not have a baby then and there.
The doctor and nurses were kind and caring. They left me with no shame or regret.The ultrasound technician quietly confirmed I was five weeks along, and asked if I wanted to see the ultrasound. A wisp of grey and white flicked on a dim screen. I had never seen an embryo before. Conversation was kept light as they whisked me from the ultrasound to the operating room. The procedure itself was swift. I opted for full anesthesia, and within minutes I woke up in a frenzy of giggles looking for my best friend. You can tell they were experienced. They knew what jargon would ease me, even make me smile during this procedure. S was waiting for me, and helped me home on the M train. I barely bled during recovery, and felt empowered and grateful in the weeks that passed that I was able to quickly and freely make the choice I had made.
In February of 2016, S and I married. We played music together and in the years following my abortion, traveled the world together. We went everywhere from Japan to Denmark, and always in the back of my mind was the pregnancy we ended. I was thankful for the experience, as it forged a deep connection between S and myself, it solidified our love and trust in one another. The abortion afforded us to grow together, constantly bettering and improving ourselves in the process.
Two days after our seventh wedding anniversary, we welcomed our first child, a daughter. I am cradling her on my lap as I type this, and thinking of the road that led to her birth. I do not think we would have had a child if we did not experience an abortion together. This is not some story of the virtue of waiting to have a child. I am not advocating to wait until marriage to decide to have sex or have a baby either. I share my story because I found agency through my abortion. The experience cemented my already strong belief that everyone, everywhere should have access to a free and safe abortion.
As I hold my daughter close, she is quietly nursing in the twilight of early morning. I hope for her a future where she too can make choices freely concerning her body and health. When she’s had her fill, we exchange grins as she falls back to sleep in my arms.
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