Submitted by: Kasey
I think I knew the moment of conception. I had never been pregnant before, but some part of me physical or mental knew I was pregnant.
When I tested 4 days before my expected period, the word was clear on the digital screen. I was 27, single, unemployed, living at home with my parents during a worldwide pandemic, and… pregnant. Something I thought, “well that will just never happen to me”. I was wrong and now I had a mistake growing inside of me.
As a self identified liberal and agnostic, I have always been pro-choice and an advocate for women’s rights and health. I knew the concept of abortion was more complicated than it seemed, but I never thought I would feel attached to the little bugger. Even though I felt a fondness budding for what was inside me, I knew that I could not carry out a pregnancy I was not ready for, didn’t plan or want.
I am so grateful to be on good terms with my parents that I could tell them what I was going through right away. They were shocked but compassionate and supportive of my decision.
Since I caught the pregnancy so early, I had to wait weeks before either procedure option could be effective. I waited anxiously knowing that everyday, cells continued to join and formed into something I considered more and more to be “life”. Finally, at about the 5-week mark of my pregnancy, the day of the appointment came. I had chosen the surgical option and they only offered local anesthesia. The procedure itself was very jarring and traumatic, but less than 15 minutes. I felt relief and intense grief as I walked out of the office into my Mother’s arms. Numbness is the first stage of grief for me.
I have grieved before in my life over the loss of my younger sister. I have grieved over my grandparents and pets. But how do you grieve for something that you never met? How do you grieve for something that was just beginning to exist. How do you grieve for something that you decided the fate of. I didn’t think I would feel so down and depressed about this loss. I got exactly what I wanted. I was not ready to be a mother, so why did I feel so bad? The sun would go up and down and all I could experience was mostly numbness and sometimes extreme sorrow.
Depression was familiar to me. I had grappled with the imbalance of chemicals in my brain my whole life. I was confident that it would pass or it would just become “normal”. Although I knew there was a future that held less pain, I still felt complicated emotions arise in myself. I felt guilty and shameful. Looking in the mirror was a trigger. I was disgusted by my own body. I could only see myself as a “vessel”, only for reproductive use. My womb contained nothingness and so did my heart.
I believe loneliness to be the most powerful emotion that I experienced during and after. I had all the support I could ask for from family, friends, and my partner at the time. Alas, the void I felt inside could not be filled by anything external.
The only thing that made me feel less alone was the support, love and experience from people on blogs and communities such as Exhale. I got to connect with people from all over the world that were going through or had gone through abortion. As time passed, I found myself so grateful for everything in my life. Grateful that I lived in a country and state that gave me easy access to the health care I needed. Grateful for the support I received from my loved ones. I knew this was not the case for everyone and although I am still affected by the trauma and grief, I have to count my blessings.
I knew from grieving previously in my life, that the only thing that could heal grief and trauma was time. Days and weeks went by and I just did my best to go on too. There wasn’t much to do during a pandemic and I had been unemployed for months. I ended up picking up a part time job which helped me stay busy and keep my mind off of dwelling. Everyday I felt a little better, a little more detached to what had happened. Everyday I gained back my confidence in my mind and body. I believe therapy and talking about my experience really helped me understand my emotions and process faster. Everyone’s timeframe for healing is different, and my grieving time isn’t over. It’s been a bit over three months since my abortion.
Do I regret my decision? No. Do I feel sad that it happened? Yes. Do I wish it never happened? Well… yes and no. I wish that a life form or being did not have to be hurt due to my decision. I am still working to understand when life begins in my mind. I’m not sure if I will truly ever know. I know there are people who judge me for my decision. To them I say, alright go ahead. But I can’t let someone else thoughts and feeling affect my own. I know I made the right decision for myself and my life. No one else has any power to tell me otherwise.
Why do I say “no” to wishing it never happened? I have learned so much from this experience in such a short amount of time. This was a decision I could only make for myself. I could not lean on anyone else to make this decision for me. It was between me and me and no one else. Through this experience, it was enforced in myself that I needed to go back to school to become a counselor. I felt I’ve been put through hellish experiences in my life so I could learn and in turn help others. I found strength, hope, spirituality, and wisdom from my abortion.
I know not everyone experiencing abortion will feel the way I do. This is just my story. You story is being written right now.
I do have some words for you. For any sad, lonely, hopeless, fearful, anxious readers:
You are not alone and you will heal. Take the time you need to feel and cry and scream. Collect yourself and take healing into your own hands. You are stronger than you know. Find a therapist, talk and reason it out with someone. Find the joy in the little things, be grateful. I know it hurts. But you won’t hurt forever. It’s okay to cry, to feel sad whenever you feel or are reminded to do so. It’s okay and normal to feel relief and regret at the same time. People are not going to understand your situation or your feelings unless they have been through it themselves. That’s okay. People may think differently than you do. You do not have to let their thoughts and words influence your thoughts and words. Live and Let Live. You don’t need to justify your case for them. You did what you believed to be right at that time. You are human and forever learning. You deserve and are worthy of Love, Happiness, Forgiveness, Compassion and Life.
I hope reading my story and others make you feel a little less alone. I love you and so does your Higher Power/God/Universe/Creator.