Is there ever a good time?

Note: The Exhale Pro-Voice After-Abortion Stories Hub includes people’s stories of their experiences and emotions, exactly as they have written them in. We do not edit these stories at all, and the content that follows this message is exactly as we received it. We know that people’s experiences are complex, and these stories reflect the many emotions they may be feeling after their abortions. From relief to grief, and everything in between, and all at the same time, we’re here for you.

Submitted by: Amanda

I had been tracking my cycle obsessively for the past 3 years because I really dislike hormonal birth control. I had even gotten really good at recognizing where I was at based on what my body felt like. Month after month we got lucky, which over the course of a year became more the expected norm than luck. I guess we got a little sloppy, or my cycle was off, or both.

I decided to take a pregnancy test when I was around 3 days late, only to prove I wasn’t pregnant, because there were no slip ups I could remember. I put the stick down and left to make dinner, forgetting about it, because this was only a confirmation I wasn’t pregnant. The little screen said “pregnant”. I didn’t believe it was true and immediately ran to pick up another test. It said the same thing. Deep down I had known over the past few days I was probably pregnant based on some unforgettable symptoms. A year ago I had my only other unplanned pregnancy, and miscarried a few days after I should have gotten my period. I felt so lucky to be “forgiven” for my mistake by miscarrying and not having to have an abortion. It wasn’t devastating because the embryo’s death wasn’t up to me.

My first feelings were fear and excitement. I don’t want a baby right now, and still don’t understand the excitement. My boyfriend and I discussed many months ago what we would do with an unwanted pregnancy, and were 100% on the same page with abortion at this time. Then, I felt guilt, shame, and panic. I needed to have it gone as soon as possible, because even though I barely experienced being pregnant before, I knew that I could become attached to it. I didn’t want to get used to feeling pregnant because I wasn’t supposed to be feeling that right now in my life.

My boyfriend and I are in our thirties and very in love with plans for a future together, which may or may not include a baby. We’re both logical decision makers, him often too much. Date a long time, then move in and live together for a long time +/- consider paying off student loans for a long time, then get married, then maybe kid, right? I don’t know what happened to me in the past year but suddenly I don’t care as much about the logical sequence as I once did. An abortion would mean continuing on the path, maybe never knowing if I want a baby until it’s too late. This is one of my biggest life fears. But, I never deviated from choosing abortion. I had too much fear about what this would do to our relationship, with him not wanting a baby at all (and me generally not wanting a baby most of the time), how we could do this with the current student loan burden and no family in the area, wanting more time for just us before it’s us plus a kid.

Even though I was only aware of it for a few weeks, I honestly loved being pregnant. I had self compassion without any guilt or background chatter about being lazy or not doing enough. I was listening to my body, eating intuitively (and strangely making sure I was eating relatively healthy), and exercising or napping when I wanted. For the first time in my life, I liked my body. I thought all of the changes that were happening, even if unpleasant, were okay because my body was accomplishing a crazy physiological feat. I literally don’t remember having self love before this. I started to get attached to the embryo and wondered what sex it was. I wondered if being a mom was the adventure in my life that would fill the mystery void in my sense of purpose.

At the same time I was calling every Planned Parenthood in a 50 mile radius to see where I could get an appointment as soon as possible. When I saw it on ultrasound, I was very glad it was one of those 6 week pregnancies without a visible heartbeat. I wanted to keep it as inhuman as possible. It looked like a jelly bean in a tiny fish bowl, which also helped. I chose to have a medical abortion to avoid an additional 2 week wait for a different location that did surgical abortions. The day I took the mifeprestone, I felt nothing. Twenty-six hours later when I took the misoprostol, I had already started bleeding very lightly. I took Tylenol and ibuprofen 45 minutes before the misoprostol, and started “real” bleeding an hour later. I had cramps for the next 8 hours. I only had mild-moderate cramps and moderate bleeding the entire time, and had mild-moderate bleeding for 5 days afterward, like a normal period. I only saw a few clots the whole time, the largest the size of a half dollar and flat. I took a pregnancy test today (12 days after) and it is still light positive. I also still have “pregnant” eating patterns and food aversions. I’m a little worried it didn’t work, but I know a positive test and symptoms can last a couple weeks, so I’m sure my hormones are still just decreasing.

I have been spontaneously very sad the past 2 days, especially when thinking about anything related to the abortion, seeing a newborn baby, hearing about someone I know being pregnant, seeing pro-life billboards, etc. I am myself when I’m completely distracted, but I’m thinking about the abortion the rest of the time. The feelings are very upsetting and confusing, because I still don’t want a baby right now, and also miss being pregnant. I don’t regret the abortion at all, but am also grieving a loss, one that never should have been made to grow then die if only I were more responsible. My boyfriend is so wonderful but obviously cannot fully understand this experience. I want to get over it, but can’t stop thinking about it. I think of crazy scenarios like this was my only baby and I’ll never be pregnant again, or like this baby was going to be an amazing person and I’ll never have a child like this one. I am still confident I made the right choice. I didn’t anticipate the emotional trauma topping out a week later though, and just want to feel like myself again.

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