Submitted By: S
My abortion was a life-saving measure. February something-ith 2020, I was a shell of a human. My boyfriend was cheating on me, confusing me, abusing me. I had been with him for three years, and had been totally convinced by him that every problem we had was my fault. Thus, him gaining interest in a new person and losing it in me wasn’t only heart-breaking, but the worst thing that had ever happened to me, which included my one year long experience with cancer. That’s how brainwashed I was. I couldn’t stomach food, I couldn’t sleep, I cried constantly. I was self-harming on a near daily basis, and I had a plan to end my life. Just days before I had parted ways with my then-boyfriend, hoping that if he had enough time away from me, he’d come to miss me and want me again. His parting gifts were a UTI and a pregnancy.
I was alone, on the bathroom floor holding two tests; a positive bacterial test strip and a positive pregnancy test. I called him. We went to the clinic, and he sat in the corner of the room, as far away as possible, doing some kind of bullshit on his phone. I was given an antibiotic, and they confirmed my worst fears; I was pregnant. He blamed me for not being on birth control. I blamed myself for existing.
Keeping the fetus was never an option that crossed my mind at the time. He wasn’t fit to be a father; though then I misguidedly loved him, I could still see that. I wasn’t fit to be a mother either. I knew that a baby would only exacerbate my mental health problems, pull me out of college, and force there to be tension within my family.
I was raised to be a good christian girl; though my own faith faded, my parents still believed, and I still carried the shame that the church instilled in me around. Telling them wasn’t an option. I could neither financially, nor emotionally support myself and a baby. So I did what was an act of love to us both, me and my fetus, and I terminated the pregnancy.
Inexplicably, the trauma I have surrounding my abortion is an extension of that from my former abusive partner. He wouldn’t come with me to the appointment because I was “stressing him out.” Two nights later, he shooed me out of his apartment after I had taken the final pills, and I went back to my apartment to bleed alone, which I did. I leaned over on all fours, on that bathroom floor where I first discovered my pregnancy. I felt the pain of labor as chunks of my uterine lining fell into the toilet. I was told that it was like a heavy period, so I was prepared for bleeding, but I wasn’t ready for chunks. I swear, I saw my fetus in the toilet as I flushed it away for good. That night I bled through my pad, my pants, my sheets, and a towel I had laid underneath myself. I got up in the morning, and went to class the next day. It was done. The last thing that could’ve tied me to him, my abuser, was floating along the Minneapolis sewer system, and I was freed.
At the time, I don’t think I was able to process it all. I was already trying to process so much in my life, that my pregnancy and abortion didn’t even feel real. My ex didn’t pay me back for his half of it until 5 months later even, at which point I was able to see through his manipulation and lies. Now, two years later, I can process it. It comes in bursts, as it always has. I’ll see a chubby baby with its mother, and wonder if mine would’ve had a similar rosiness to its cheeks. I mourn the loss of possibility, and I mourn myself, for having to make an impossibly difficult decision at a point in time when I was so impossibly weak. Despite this however, I am grateful.
Now, I am with someone who respects me and my boundaries. When I told him about my sexual trauma (though he doesn’t know about this specifically,) he did everything in his power to give me power when we started our sexual relationship. With him, I have never felt unsafe. I am now in my senior year of nursing school, and am looking forward to a career of helping those in need; one I wouldn’t have been able to continue pursuing with a baby. I have a wonderful therapist who is working through my trauma with me. My mental fortitude, and self respect has increased tenfold, and best of all, I am freed, completely of my abuser. I know that all of these things are good. I know that I wouldn’t have all of these things if I had that baby, and I know in my gut that if I had, I would’ve been under my abuser’s spell for the rest of my miserable days. I had my abortion to save my life, and I had it to prevent a life of misery for the fetus that grew inside of me.
Sometimes, I apologize to it. I wonder who it might’ve been, what it might’ve looked like. What my life might’ve looked like now with it here. In loss there is gain, and vice versa. I made the right choice, for both of us. Because I enabled both of us to be free, and I think as a mother, that was the best gift I could’ve given my child. Freedom from their father, and from the version of myself that was carrying her. I hope that before its time ended, my fetus felt that gift, and knew it was of love.