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I had my surgical abortion a little over six weeks ago. It’s funny to read about one’s decision to have an abortion and the emotions that follow are indicative of values, spiritual beliefs, hopes and dreams. My mother raised me to do things “right”, i.e. do your homework every night, be organized, be well-planned etc. As a result, I have a perfect credit score with no credit card debt and up until a couple months ago, never an unintended pregnancy.

I previously believed that people who accidentally got pregnant were careless and irresponsible. So, my “accident” was a slap in the face. I’m 32 and I felt that an abortion was the best thing to do because I’ve only been dating my boyfriend for five months and didn’t want to bring an unplanned child into the world when I was still getting to know its father. Sure, we spend our entire lives getting to know others, but by this I mean knowing that my boyfriend and I agree to move forward in life together and become life partners. My parents are still happily married for 36 years now and they were thrilled to bring me into the world. I have met some people who told me their parents didn’t want them and it brought me sorrow to see the pain inside them.

I spent my twenties traveling the world, attending music festivals, practicing yoga, meditating in caves and meeting the most intriguing people who shared their stories of hope and despair with me. As I reflect on those experiences, I realize now that those times were such a gift, to connect to beautiful human beings all over the planet. Ultimately, connecting to other souls allowed me to connect to myself and see that we are all one.

My abortion has left me feeling, at times, completely disconnected to the world and myself. I wonder, did I fail to bring a beautiful human being into the world? I miss my cheerful, optimistic self and sometimes I don’t know who I am in dealing with all this. I used to be up for a good time, but lately I don’t want to see anybody. Some days I feel like I’m doing great, but then I regress again. I find the grief and despair that haunts me from my abortion experience to be similar to the sudden passing of a dear hometown friend last year. Both these losses were sudden and such a shock to the body. I can feel better for a week or two but suddenly my heart feels like it’s been ripped out again when there are “triggers”, like seeing a mom hiking with her baby.

I’m a schoolteacher and on the Monday after my abortion, my first grader brought a note to school that said, “Please excuse my daughter for not doing her homework. We had our baby this past weekend.” I remember feeling envious and empty. I’ve been wanting a baby for awhile now but my situation just wasn’t the most ideal, nor healthy, setting to raise a baby. At age 32, I am emotionally, financially and physically capable of raising a child on my own, but I want my child to have a father. Not a weekend dad or a summer dad. A nurturing, wonderful father in the house who helped with science projects and joked around at the dinner table. If I am going to bring children into the world, I want only the best for them.

I know my boyfriend has been trying his best to support me emotionally, and I see him almost daily. This can’t be easy for him to see me so distraught and at the same time, I feel frustrated that he doesn’t feel what I am feeling. This is definitely a destabilizing event for us as a new couple, but we are working together to overcome the emotions and stress that has resulted from the experience. We are still in love, still learning about each other and making an effort to grow together. If we end up getting married, then we can choose to have children. I am so grateful to have the most supportive mother and best friends who have been with me every step of the way. I feel responsible to “snap out of it” and bounce back; in fact, there’s nothing more that I would want at this point.

Today I read a quote by Gary Lutz. It read, “What could be worse than having to be seen resorting to your own life.” It brought tears to my eyes. One can read or hear about things happening to others and never completely understand it until it happens to oneself. Well, I sure never knew that an abortion could feel so similar to the death of a loved one. What I saw on the screen from the ultrasound on the day of my abortion will stay with me forever. I am learning that maybe pain is something we simply live with and work through the best we can. I am hopeful that I will recover from my loss in the future, but for now, all I can do is take it day by day.