Submitted by: Elise
I had an abortion almost immediately after I met my husband. We were in graduate school, poor, unstable, self-focused, and not ready. I was 27. I told no one, and as a result, I was very reliant on my brand new boyfriend (now husband) for emotional support. He just didn’t know how to help me, and I didn’t know how to help myself.
The women who cared for me at the planned parenthood where I had my termination performed were beautiful angels who held my heart so kindly while I was with them. After I left the clinic I was overwhelmed by the isolation because I didn’t know how to talk to anyone about my choice. I was relieved and I was saddened because I had always wanted to have a family. I carried the experience of loss and isolation with me for years. Since I didn’t understand my own feelings, it mostly came out in anger and tears.
When I was 33 I gave birth to our daughter. This pregnancy was purposeful. I suffered from postpartum psychosis, entered intense psychiatric counseling, and began medications to overcome this. During the counseling process, I learned to trust myself and spoke of my abortion often. I went through a process of rebuilding and learning to trust myself.
Even after all of this work, I still feel sad when I think of the 27 year old me walking into the clinic alone to say goodbye to a lifelong desire. I still feel raw and open when I think about that young woman being alone with her pain for years afterwards. I cry imagining my daughter in such isolation. It hurts my heart to think of other woman in this place right now.
Today I am 35. I feel forgiven by myself. I don’t ever say that I made the right choice because I don’t know if that’s true. I know my life is beautiful the way it is and I accept and love my young self who had to navigate the choice of termination. I tell friends and people in my life my story calmly and take every opportunity to help other women in need. I wish I had talked sooner but I wasn’t ready. I’m just ready now almost a decade later.