New Jersey, US
It's so weird to talk about it now and realize how removed I was from it. I remember coming to in the recovery room and feeling this overwhelming sense of relief that it was over. I felt so grateful to everyone that worked there... I wanted to write them all thank you letters. Thank you for being here, that this is an option, that I can leave and continue with my life. I remember my boyfriend and I fighting that weekend about stuff that didn't have anything to do with this, and not really ever talking about it again.
I guess it was 5 years later: I had been shopping around to get an IUD, because I had been with my boyfriend for so long. They have to measure the depth and tilt of your uterus before they put it in. So they use an instrument called a sound, which is a long thin metal rod. So the doctor had numbed my cervix but you can't numb the inside of the uterus. So I'm on the table, laa dee da, I'm going into work late, looking at my watch like I gotta get to work. Then it hit the wall of my uterus, and I literally almost jumped off the table.
Then I was writing in my journal about the IUD insertion and 3 pages later I realized that I was writing about my abortion, which I had not written about or thought about, except to the extent of: yes, I've had one, and no, I donï¿½t feel guilty about it. That was the extent of my emotional vocabulary about my abortion up until that point.
I went to see my therapist for my regular appointment. We talked about the way that my doctor had initiated the IUD insertion is the same way they initiate an abortion. And because I was knocked out for my abortion, I didn't remember any of that. But the body remembers.
After I started writing and talking to women about it, I let myself feel grief about it. It was a huge thing for me to realize that grief doesn't equal regret. That they are two distinct things. Through the whole thing I knew that it was the right choice but it wasn't until I went through the grieving process that I could really be at peace with it.
I think that the way the political debate is structured makes women ignore this other part. I've always been pro-choice. "Abortion on demand, no questions asked." And I talked very much in that political vocabulary about my abortion, but it was lacking any emotion about what it meant to me in particular. Somehow to admit that it's a life and to admit that this is something women grieve over is to somehow admit that it's not a choice women should have, or that it's morally wrong! The whole emotional component is really missing from the conversation. And I think it's tragic.