I had an abortion. Would I choose to do it again?

 

 

I was almost around the corner when a man in a yellow shirt asked if I was going to the clinic.  My mouth was too dry to speak, so I nodded yes.  He motioned to someone, and before I knew it, six large men in shirts that said SECURITY in bold had formed a barricade around me.

My ex was with me.  He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Just keep walking”.  So I walked, and as I walked the man barricade walked with me.  It all seemed so melodramatic… until I heard the chanting.

The world blurred, and moved in choppy, slow motion.

As we rounded the corner, I saw the mob, the cardboard signs… then they saw me.  They moved like a flock of sparrows after the lone tossed breadcrumb.  The singing, the shouting – the din was incredible, with snippets of sentences reaching my brain.

“Don’t do it!  Save your baby.”

“Killer!”

“… blood on your hands…”

Someone threw red paint at me… it splattered on my shoe.

A women reached through the security men surrounding me and touched my elbow.

“You don’t have to do this.  Think about it.  For heaven’s sake, tomorrow is Mother’s Day.”

My limbs began to quiver, and I thought for sure I would pass out.

I quickly ducked into the building, and let my ex hold my hand as we checked in at the desk.

I sat looking at the blank forms in front of me, listening to the distant chanting outside, like a dramatic cliche from a movie.  I wondered to myself, “How is this happening?  How did I get here?”

*****

It was one of those things that you think “never happens”.  I was in college – still not old enough to drink legally.  I had a steady sexual partner, and since I had recently stopped taking birth control, we used protection.  One time… just one time… the condom broke.  Was it old?  Was it sticky?  Did we put it on wrong?  None of it mattered.  I pictured everything I was working toward, as a performer, as a dancer – all of it coming to a screeching halt.  In the blink of an eye, I saw myself losing my scholarship, giving up performing, ruining my life.  I was not physically, financially,  or emotionally ready to have a baby.

Picking up the phone and scheduling that procedure was not easy.  Making it through the front door of that clinic was not easy.  Looking at the pamphlets with pictures of fetal development was not easy.  Talking with the counselor was not easy.  Being left to sit for an hour and “think” and “absorb the information” was not easy.

I do not believe having an abortion is an easy choice for any woman to make.

After it was done, I did not feel regret.  After it was done, I felt empty.

I have been afraid to write about this because I fear the judgement.  My readers span the gamut of political, and religious views.  My family members do as well.  But the lawmakers across the country who are slowly chipping away at women’s reproductive rights have made it impossible for me to keep silent.

I do not dare to tell any woman what she should or should not do with her body, and I at least have been on the table myself.

I am now a mother.

I know what it is to carry a baby to term and have my body birth it.  I know what it feels like to hold my newborn in my arms and bury my nose in his head.  I’m forever swimming in the raw beauty, and aching craziness of raising the children I helped create.  I know love like I’ve never known before.

Every choice leads us to where we are.  I can’t live your life, and you can’t live mine.  Life is simply a series of choices.

So, if I were to do it over again?

What would I choose?

Good question…

One that assumes I would still have the freedom to do so.

 

 

 

 

Discussion

  1. Cathy says:

    Thank you for writing this. I too have felt recently that I wanted to write about my own experience with this, but finding the strength to share it publicly has been challenging for me. I truly admire your courage to do so!

  2. You’re so brave for writing this. Yes, people judge. But these people were not in your shoes. Or the shoes of those who had to make that decision.

    And that’s what it should be about – choices. The right choice for that person at the time. No judgment should be imposed.
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..The Quilt

  3. You are very brave, not only for writing this, but for revisiting this issue in your own mind. People judge. But those who truly care about you as a person do not. Those who believe in choice do not. This was the right choice for you. This is what choice is all about.
    Kit_Myers recently posted..To Conscience or Not to Consience…

  4. I’ve never made the choice you had to make, and to be honest I’m glad when I found out I was pregnant with my oldest her father and I were on the same page or else I may have. But I believe in every woman having that right to chose, as a mother I know there are still certain circumstances that would make me choose that route today, but more importantly I have a daughter now and though I hope to teach her strong morals and how to protect herself from any accidental pregnancies I want that choice preserved for her generation and beyond. Everyone has the right to believe what they do, and to their opinion but no has the right to tell another person what they can do with their own body, or to judge them for a choice that only they can make.
    Becky S recently posted..The princess hits double digits

  5. Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve had a similar post in draft form for about 2 years that I cannot hit publish on because of fear of judgement – mainly from family as it’s been my secret for 24 years. I call bullshit on myself now after reading this. Thank you for being so brave and using your voice for this. Thank you xoxo
    tracy@sellabitmum recently posted..Proper Motorcycle Riding Attire

  6. this is really brave. Thank you for sharing. <3
    Sarah M. recently posted..reality meets the easter bunny

  7. I can’t say I agree with your decision. It is hard not to judge, but I’m not in your shoes nor was I at the time. You are very brave for posting this. there is something about this life that brings forgiveness and allows people not to base their sole decision about how they feel about someone on one decision they made whether it be a mistake or not. I believe abortion is wrong, but that doesn’t mean I hate the person or think They are equal to the devil. I believe smoking is wrong as well even though some of the people I dearly love smoke. I know it’s not exactly the same but I was trying to make a point..

    • No, smoking is not quite the same thing – but I understand your point. Thank you for commenting respectfully. I understand how one can view abortion as wrong… I also understand how one can view it as the right choice for them. Because there is no clear cut answer, the right to choose is even more important.

  8. Thank you for having the strength to share your experience. Reading your words cements my belief that women need and deserve the freedom to make the choice.
    Robbie recently posted..Where I’ve Been

  9. TheNextMartha says:

    Thank you for sharing this. You are very brave. Choice is good.

  10. Thank you for being brave and sharing your story. Im so sorry you had to walk through a picket line and hear the words directed at you. That wasnt part of my experience, and those words might still ring in my ears if I had been there.

    Grateful to be your friend *HUG*
    frelle recently posted..Need

  11. Wow… very emotional post. It hits right at the heart of the matter – the choice. You had the choice when you needed it, and you were able to make a choice for yourself. That’s what is what is so valuable.
    Ann recently posted..Simple Woman’s Daybook, April 9, 2012

  12. You are really brave for sharing your story. I’ve thought about writing mine, but I fear being judged too much. Women deserve reproductive rights, and the legislation people are trying to pass over women’s bodies today is really scary.
    Alison recently posted..Bad Neighbors

  13. Brave is not enough to describe this post. I stood in your shoes at 17. You are commended for doing what you knew was right for you at the time. It’s easy to look back and say you would have done things differently, but no one can judge you unless that have stood in your shoes.
    Illegal Blonde recently posted..An Award? For Me?

  14. You are so fucking brave.
    Mama Bear recently posted..NaPoWriMo 2012: April 11- Hospital 03:00

  15. Brilliantly and eloquently said. Thank you for putting your stories out into the world!

    “Every choice leads us to where we are. I can’t live your life, and you can’t live mine. Life is simply a series of choices.

    So, if I were to do it over again?

    What would I choose?

    Good question…

    One that assumes I would still have the freedom to do so.”
    ChiIL Mama recently posted..Help Locally: Rock for Rescue & Book Sale for Virtually Home Animal Rescue

  16. Editdebs says:

    What a powerful post. Yes, people judge–some people. I only know that though I am against abortion for me, I would never, ever decide that I know what is right for YOUR life. It is about choice–my choice, your choice. Thank you so much for writing this.

  17. Terram says:

    Wow. Great post. I believe if more women would share these experiences then all of our rights would be more secure. I could have so easily have been in your shoes at a similar point in my life and I have no doubt that I would have made the same decision. But whether or not we agree with your decision doesn’t really matter, does it? We ALL make personal reproductive choices, ranging from whether or not we sleep with someone, to what kind of protection (or lack thereof) to use, to what kind of labor we opt to have and whether or not we breastfeed. You made a choice and exercised your right to do so and we should all support THAT.

  18. Amazing post. I am so sorry that you were faced with making such a heart wrenching decision but grateful that you had options in front of you.
    Jenn@Fox in the City recently posted..Motivation or a Rant

  19. Natalie says:

    Like so many others, I have my own story to share but because of fear of judgement I’ve held back. I haven’t even attempted to type the words.

    Thank you for being brave enough to not be afraid to share with us. So many people see the world in black and white, but the longer I’m alive the more see how wrong that viewpoint is. It’s not always that cut and dry; there’s so much grey out there.

  20. No judgment here. But you really are brave to write this as I know there will most certainly be judgement from others. I’ve never been in your shoes. Also, I feel for you because you were actually being responsible with using protection, even if it didn’t work. For me that’s a very different thing than not giving a shit and just having unprotected sex.

    Only you can ever know what’s right for you, and I also fear that there are political forces at work that would like to take these decisions away from us.

    Thank-you for sharing this very personal thing with us.
    Venus recently posted..Wordless Wednesdays: Big man, little man

  21. Well said, friend. Very well said.
    And thank you – for speaking up – for so many.
    MommaKiss recently posted..All in how you look at it…

  22. I love that you shared this powerful story. The point is… it is a personal choice and no government should tell a person otherwise.
    Jen recently posted..Hello, My Name Is…

  23. Yes, I too agree you are one brave woman. I am pleasantly surprised by the two ladies that although do not believe in abortion, do not condemn you for your choice and agree with the others that Choice should remain ours to make.

  24. Brave and important post, Jenni.

    (It can’t have been easy to wire this, thank you for taking a chance on your readers. I hope that someone who needs to read this, does.)
    Galit Breen recently posted..First Day, Last Day

  25. You are very brave for writing this. Thank you.

    The right to choose should never be taken away.
    Jennifer Cullen recently posted..Visiting Las Vegas: Hooker Heels And Hiking

  26. You are brave – for making the choice that was right for you and for writing about it. Women deserve the right to choose what happens to their own bodies. Period. Thanks for sharing your story.
    Michelle Longo recently posted..Easter Lesson.

  27. This is a woefully inadequate comment, but I’m sorry you went through such pain – the whole lot of it. And I’m glad you have a baby to bury your nose into.

    And I’m keeping my comment neutral because, although I have my own beliefs and way of doing things, I respect that right in others. :-)

    Big hugs

    By the way, did you know that it’s mandatory abortion in China if you’ve already had 2 kids? I don’t know what point I’m trying to make here, but that strikes me somehow. It’s the reverse dilemma from what we have in the States.
    Lady Jennie recently posted..Déjà Vu

  28. Thank you for this.

    I think it takes a lot of conviction and bravery. I never had to make this decision – nature chose for me, but I KNOW that it would have been the choice for me at that time in my life.

    My mother had to choose. And if she hadn’t had an abortion when she was 17, I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t be here.
    Lady Estrogen recently posted..Let Your Backbone Slide

  29. S. A. says:

    I was in the same situation once and didn’t realize how far along I was I went to the clinic they told me I had to schedule an appointment and I ended up changing my mind in the whole process and I was lucky my boyfriend who is now my husband stuck by me through it all but I will say since I was young and just moved to a big city my life and friends changed almost instantly at first my friends all decided they would rather party then be friends with a new mom and that was fine but it too me a while after my son was born to meet actual mom friends so I definitely see how that could of been the right choice for you at the time so thank you for sharing your story

  30. Chimomwriter says:

    Your bravery and strength never cease to amaze me. Thank you for using your words where other can’t.

    There’s a clinic 2 miles from my home and protesters gather there daily. My heart always ache for the people that have to go in to make difficult decisions while having people stare and shout hate on the outside.

    Xo

  31. Michelle says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have always been pro-life, but the more stories like yours that I hear, the more I am convinced that making abortions illegal does nothing to help anyone. One of the problems we need to address as a society is why women get stuck having to make such a difficult choice. Instead of condemning each other, we need to focus more on what we can do to make it better for the next generation of women.

  32. Bravo. I wrote about my own, but I didn’t have the nerve to post it on my own blog. This post is so wonderful and powerful. Thank you.
    Triplezmom recently posted..Shut Up About Hilary Rosen, Already!

  33. This post is more important than you know.

    You gave a voice to something so many women can’t talk about. Even women with BIG voices can’t find them when it comes to this subject.

    Thank you for being brave. Thank you for trusting us with this.
    Katie recently posted..a one month letter

  34. wow. what a story to tell. i was once upon a time the baby in the belly of the woman on the table who at the last minute – THE last minute – changed her mind. but…i have also had your experience myself. for me it was right as said boy by my side {we were the age of yourself i suspect} is no longer mine and i have a new one in my life and new babies as well. we are meant to have a certain family in this life and i believe this one is meant to be mine. very brave for writing this and sorry you had to endure that – mine was no where near that damaging – at the hospital. in secret.
    stay brave and outspoken. xo
    jen recently posted..in rememberance.

  35. Good job, Jenni. I wish none of us had to justify our choices or fear judgement for sharing them. I’ve never had to make that decision and I honestly don’t know what I would have done had the situation come up, but I know I would have wanted the choice. This is so much more complicated than a single life or “death.” The implications for women (and their partners) – and hell, even the baby – can’t be ignored.
    Robin @ Farewell, Stranger recently posted..Helping yourself feel better

  36. Oh, Jenni. I ache for your young self. I had a close friend who had an abortion in college and I know there was nothing easy about any of it for her. I still remember how she looked when she came back to the dorm.

    Nobody is “for” abortion, but I will fight for the right of every woman to make that decision for themselves and to have access to legal, safe, competent medical care. I hope my daughter is never in that situation, but if she is, I hope she still has that right.

    Thanks for posting this. Obviously, you are not alone.

    xo
    Cheryl @ Mommypants recently posted..Finally, The Hunger Games

  37. Jenni, simply, thank you for posting this.
    John recently posted..Where I remind myself that scale only reports a number

  38. Thank you for writing this. I had an abortion at 22 and I still think about it. It was the right thing to do for me too. For similar reasons. But it doesn’t help when people are surrounding you trying to convince you not to do it. That sounds really uncomfortable.

    You are so brave for writing this. And I believe that women should be able to have this choice. After, these are our bodies.

    This was beautifully written, as usual. And you are amazing.
    Old School/New School Mom recently posted..Live Your Life- RIP Karyn Kay

  39. Among the chorus of others, thank you for writing this and sharing it with us. I don’t know what to say except that choices should remain ours to make and choices are never as black and white as many make them out to be.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Humble Pie

  40. I found out I was pregnant at 21. I had just started my first real full time job and had a semester with only two classes left until graduation. I had just gotten engaged only 4 months prior. I considered it. I did. When I called my best friend to tell her, her mother got on the phone reminding me that I always had a choice. My father screamed at me when he found out. I chose to keep my baby, my now 5 year old son. I graduated six months pregnant while working a FT job and got married three weeks later having moved up my wedding 8 months. I don’t regret the choice that I made, but I’m so thankful that I at least had the choice to begin with.
    Marta recently posted..Easter. Uncensored.

  41. Your bravery is something to behold. I love that you are willing to hit publish and face whatever judgement that may come so that you can speak up for women’s rights. It’s true and it is scary the state of what women’s rights are becoming. They are treating us like property rather than humans with feelings and emotions.
    I’ve never had an abortion but I know many women who have because it was what was best for them ( and quite frankly the child, as well). It is a choice that carries a lot of weight and I have never seen the decision be an easy one for any woman.
    People need to understand that it is a very hard and personal choice that every woman has to make for herself because in the long run, do we really want a world full of women who had children they didn’t want or couldn’t raise? It’s not fair to the mother and certainly not fair to the child. You made a hard choice and the best choice for you and I think that is commendable and women should never have that right taken away, doing so would be taking away our basic human right to pursue happiness. Not to mention all the different medical reasons that an abortion could be necessary, without that choice the world would be filled with unwanted and unhappy people.
    Debi recently posted..Throat Punch Thursday~Homicidal Nurse Verna McClain Steals Newborn & Kills Mommy Edition

  42. At 17 I was faced with a”the” decision. I knew I could keep the baby but I just couldn’t bring myself to go through with an abortion. I finally made the desision but I knew it was too late. I chose to place that baby for a private adoption and I know it was the best thing I could have done. He is now 13 and although I haven’t seen him since he was 1 – I have the privilage of having his mother on my facebook page!
    I hope that choice is never taken away from us. Who is to say “under certain circumstances, it’s OK but other than that… it’s not OK”?

  43. It was insanely brave of you to share this…. *hugs*

  44. Thank you for sharing this. I have sat on the fence to sharing my own story for so long. Only to come back to not feeling brave enough. Thank you for being brave enough.

  45. Clockwork Muse says:

    I am so thankful that I stumbled across this post. It has been 3 years, and it is something that I still struggle with daily. Which is why I refer to it as “something”. Not that I think it was the wrong decision, given my circumstances, but it was toughest decision I’ve ever had to make and it changed me. Nobody truly knows what they would do until they’re faced with it. But your post gives me hope that I can one day move on and lead a happy life without debilitating guilt. So thank you.

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