Submitted by: Eliza
I am writing this after having had a surgical abortion two months ago, and while it was a difficult emotional experience, it also proved to be a very positive experience overall. Before I share I will acknowledge that I had (and have) a ton of privilege going into this experience: I’m white, I have health insurance, I live in a place where my primary care doctor could perform the procedure in the office.
I am 29 years old, and had been successfully using the rhythm method (tracking my ovulation and cervical mucus) for about a year with my partner. Unfortunately, as these things go, stress can disrupt your ovulation unbeknownst to you and- wham, I’m two weeks late. I found out I was pregnant on my partner’s birthday, and he couldn’t have been kinder (“Well it’s really exciting to know we can get pregnant”). We want to have kids someday, but I am still in graduate school and am working an unpaid internship, so that time is not now.
I’ve always wanted to be a mom, so realizing that the first time I got pregnant was not going to be met (by me) with joy and excitement was a HUGE disappointment. I felt a range of emotions, but most of all wanted to live in line with my values and try to destigmatize this process as much as possible. I was open with my friends, and immersed myself in media and blogs like this one that made me feel not alone. I’d highly recommend watching Obvious Child and Saint Frances.
I also read the section about abortion in Walter Makichen’s book, “Spirit Babies.” The chapter offered a beautiful meditation on contacting the spirit of your unborn child and sharing your feelings with them. As I did the meditation I wept and felt great relief.
The hardest part of the whole experience was waiting until I was 7 weeks pregnant. I’d considered the medical abortion, but realized the intense hours of pain would be far more traumatic for me than 10 minutes at the doctor’s office under sedation. I was lucky in having a great relationship with my primary care doctor, who was supportive and kind throughout the whole process.
On the day of the procedure, I followed my doctor’s orders to take 800mg of advil and a xanax before leaving my house. One of my best friends drove me and my partner to the doctor’s office. While they waited in the car (COVID) I went in, and after getting an injection to sedate me further, the doctor carried out the abortion in about 8-10 minutes. It was painful but I stayed relaxed and focused on my breath. It was over quickly and I was on my way. Other friends stopped by to drop off treats and care packages. I was so glad I told the people in my life what was going on, and gave them the opportunity to show up for me.
When we are ready to have a baby, we are going to love that baby with all our hearts. It wouldn’t have been fair to anyone, and would have been a much more stressful experience to pressure myself into having a baby before I was ready (not to mention the psychological impacts on a child we weren’t ready for).
To anyone reading this, please know you are not alone. Your feelings are valid, and they will ebb and flow. It is okay to yearn for motherhood and still have an abortion. It is okay to be sad and weepy even while knowing you’re making the right decision (those pregnancy hormones are also INTENSE). I hope that someday my experience of being loved and supported throughout the process of getting an abortion is the rule, and not the exception.