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: Haley

Since I started having sex when I was 17, I prepared and told myself that if I got pregnant when I wasn’t emotionally or financially ready to have a baby, I would get an abortion. I was a day late so I took a pregnancy test (I’m never late so I knew) and it was positive. I was screaming and crying asking my boyfriend what we were going to do. Not because I didn’t know if I wanted to keep it or not, but because if we didn’t have the money for basic things, how were we going to afford an abortion???

In Ohio, you have to have a consultation before your abortion, so I made that appointment at a planned parenthood an hour away for the next Monday (a day before my 20th birthday). I went by myself because my boyfriend had to work. That appointment was long (almost 6 hours) and they did the basic pee test, blood test and ultrasound. She asked me if I wanted to know if there was more then one baby, I said yeah it would be cool to know. And she asked me if I wanted to know if there was a heartbeat or if I wanted to hear it, I said no. That appointment cost $200 upfront.

The next appointment for the abortion was going to cost another $205, and it was the end of the month so we had a lot of bills to pay. I had to wait 2 weeks to save money for the abortion. 2 weeks of being sick, tired, and being around people and not being able to tell them I was pregnant. It was 2 weeks of hell. This year has probably been the hardest of my life, but right before I found out I was pregnant, I was starting to feel so much better physically and mentally. I have a lot of health issues and always have, that’s another reason I just can’t have a baby right now. I’m just trying to care for myself and figure out my life.

My dad got really sick with an inoperable brain tumor, which has been heartbreaking and stressful. I went through a really rough battle with birth control (the mirena iud). It made me feel like I was an actual corpse. I had multiple panic attacks everyday. I wanted to die. I had that for about 8 months and when I got off of it I felt like myself again. When I found out I was pregnant I started to feel like that again.

The day of my abortion my boyfriend took me. At the last minute I decided to not get the minimal sedation/anxiety meds just because I just wanted it all to be over as quick as possible, and I wanted to feel normal afterwards. The numbing shots in the cervix are what hurt the most. It makes your whole body feel weird. It makes your ears ring and the room pulsate. The procedure itself took about 3 minutes. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and I kinda yelled when it the doctor was doing it. It didn’t really hurt. it was almost just an uncomfortably violating feeling. It’s pretty indescribable when they suck it all out at the end. It feels like they’re yanking at your uterus really fast. So weird.

After, she put the contents into a window that was in the next room and she went around to look to see if she got everything. Then she gave the nurse the okay to start helping me up. I felt pretty dizzy and my vision was blurry. But that’s a side effect of the numbing shots. I had to be monitored for 15 minutes and then they sent me on my way with condoms. I asked my boyfriend if we could get some fries from somewhere because I was starving due to barely eating for 4 weeks. Nothing ever sounded good and I would take 2 bites of something and get really bad heartburn. It was crazy that something actually sounded good so quickly after the procedure.

It’s the next day and I feel completely… normal. no more crippling nausea and anxiety. I feel great and I have no regrets. Maybe one day I will be sad about it, but I know this was the right thing for me. I can barely take care of myself how could I take care of a child??

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