When I found out that I was pregnant on the 25th of March, 2008, I was 20 and I knew that I could not have the baby. I had just moved out on my own for the first time. I liked being dependent on my self and making my own living, even though it was meager. I knew that if I had a baby I couldn’t support my self and my child. I know that when I do have children I want them to have a stable life, and parents that can provide for then.
My boyfriend and I have been together for almost five years and we are very much in love. We have talked about having children; he always said that some day he would like to have a family with me, just not now. He is afraid of fatherhood. I have wished for a long time that I could have his child. I think he would be a wonderful father. He is the most loving, kind and caring man in the whole world, but this pregnancy brought out his worst side. When I told him that I was pregnant he was very hurt and angry with me. He said that it didn’t mater what he wanted, he just had to live with my decision and that having a baby know would kill him. I felt like I had betrayed him by getting pregnant. I knew that he wanted me to have an abortion even though he wouldn’t say it. I chose to abort our embryo to save our relationship and hoped that it was the right choice.
I was lucky; where I live there are several abortion providers and I had a choice as to where to go. I called all of the doctors' offices and clinics that offered abortions. Some were vary abrupt and uncaring and one didn’t want to help me because I didn’t have health insurance. I decided on a doctor’s office where the people I talked to were very kind and helpful. I made an appointment and asked my boyfriend if he would drive me and be my support person. He said ‘yes’ at first, and even seemed like he wanted to be there with me. But the next day he said the he didn’t want to go. I almost canceled the appointment then and there because I didn’t want to go either and I felt like he didn’t care what I was going through. I felt like this decision was ultimately made by him and if he wasn’t willing to go through the experience with me I wasn’t going to either. He did go with me in the end and I am very proud of him for facing his fear and supporting me when I needed him the most.
The night before my appointment I couldn’t eat or sleep even though my boyfriend was there holding me all night. I wished that he would acknowledge that I was carrying his child in my womb. I wished that he would tell me that he changed his mined, that he wanted to have this baby with me.
On the way to the clinic in the morning I was resolved and all I wanted was for it to all be over. When we got to the office, there were several women with girlfriends and only one other girl whose boyfriend was with her. I filled out all the paper work and we sat in the waiting room for what seemed like years, but was more like an hour.
I was taken by a nurse to an exam room and told to get undressed from the waist down, sit on the table and cover-up with the paper sheet provided. The Nurse came back and did an ultrasound and drew some blood to test my Rh blood type. I was not allowed to see the ultrasound but I was told that I had a negative Rh, which meant that I would need an extra shot. I went back out to the waiting room and after a while a Counselor came out and walked me to a small office. She asked me some questions to make sure I was OK with my decision and I think that at the time I was.
I was allowed to see my boyfriend one last time, then I was taken back to the actual operation room and told that I would meet the doctor. The doctor was a very kind and compassionate man, he was the one who gave me the best advice for healing after it was all done. He asked me to sign the consent form and showed me the tools that he would use. He said that I was early enough along (six weeks) that he wouldn’t need to use the vacuum machine, just a syringe. We talked about what I might feel after the abortion and he asked if I was sure about my choice. I told him yes.
He told me that many women regret having an abortion and it is important that I know that even though the actual pregnancy and abortion happens in the uterus the decision and the healing must happen in the heart. He told me he would be gentle with my womb and I knew that he would be. I felt very safe with him and I could tell he really cared. Next he said that he would go out and I should take off my pants and cover up with the sheet that was on the table and that when I was done my Counselor would be in. I was lying on the table and another nurse came in to start the IV and the doctor's assistant came in and inserted the speculum and started to dilate my cervix. Then the Doctor came back. By that time I was feeling the tranquilizers that were supposed to relax me. I was in pain even with the pain killers in the IV. It felt like nothing I have ever felt before presser and tugging and scraping deep inside. The Doctor said that he thinks he got it all but he must make sure and he and his assistant left the room to look through the tissue and make sure it is all there. They came back in and said that it was all out and I am done.
My counselor was there with me for the whole thing and when I could sit up she lead me to the recovery room where there were about six chairs with other women recovering. She showed me an empty seat and told me to sit and gave me some water and brought my boyfriend to see me. We held hands for a while and then he had to leave because the recovery room was too full. Within fifteen minutes my counselor led me to the waiting room and we left.
All the staff were wonderfully kind and compassionate. I am glad that there are still people providing safe and supportive abortions. I know what they all must go through every day. I am grateful that even with all the hate and ridicule they must endure, there are doctors that will provide safe, nonjudgmental abortions.
The days of the next week were bad I was in pain and I bled quite a bit because I couldn’t take the time off that was recommended for the healing process. I needed to work to pay my rent and buy my food and pay for the abortion. Because I had no insurance and no money so I charged it to my credit card and I didn’t know if I could pay the bill if I missed any work.
Emotionally I have been on a rollercoaster. My boyfriend has been a wonderful help some days, then others he makes me so angry. I think he wants us to forget and go back to life as it was before, but I can’t pretend that this tragedy did not happen. I don’t think we should forget. It is disrespectful to the unborn child to not acknowledge the life that was created. It is disrespectful to me to forget something that has had such a huge impact on me emotionally, spiritually and morally. I get angry at him because this has affected me so deeply and I want him to feel the loss that I feel and help me come to terms with what we had to do. I have always been pro-choice and I still am, but this experience has changed my prospective and I don’t think of abortion in the same way. I’m not religious, but I am very spiritual. I believe in a goddess and I hope she will forgive me.
After the abortion I started writing down my thoughts. I started writing poetry again for the first time since I lost my virginity to my boyfriend. All the writing helped me clear my mind.
Two weeks after the abortion I went in for my follow-up and I was still feeling like I had no closure. I knew I needed to do something to heal, remember and let go. I got a silver goddess pendent to represent both my lost child and the goddess. May 1st (May Day) is the pagan festival of new beginning, purification, transition and fertility. I braided the pendent into my hair and as I did I asked the goddess for her forgiveness and I said a prayer for my child. I wore the braid until May 3rd (Old May Day). I undid the braid with another prayer and tied the pendent arrowed my neck so that it is never very far from my heart.
After this ritual, I have started to heal emotionally and spiritually. I still have bouts of grief and emotional pain that paralyze me and I don’t think I can go on, but somehow I do. Now I can find pleasure in life again and I look forward to the time that I can be pregnant with no grief and give birth to a living child.