eliotdebeauvoir

memoirs of an abortion

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy: dying of a broken heart. I was born with a broken heart. Because my mother never loved me. Because my father, the first man who ever loved me abandoned me. Paved the path for many men to follow.

You might say, “Oh now I’m sure your mother loves you! How couldn’t she?”  I could tell in the womb. When the wine came down, we got drunk together. Truth serum. And as I got older, she told me over the years, repeatedly so I wouldn’t forget, “I never wanted children. But your daddy sure did.”

He left and didn’t return for years.

I was a dog someone received as a Christmas gift but couldn’t take care of.

_____________________________________________________

Apathy has saved me from hurt at times. Being unaffected by people has its perks. Life is easier when you can fake it. My existence is a fake orgasm.

Only my eldest sister knows this. Cold, isolated, apathetic. I am married to the night. All I know is suffering. All the love I’ve ever known is likened to a dark secret, tucked away in murky caves in my left ventricle. Dark and deep. Neruda. Between the shadow and the soul.

A year ago I learned a secret secret about myself. I’ll tell you if you promise not to tell anyone. Promise me. Cross your heart, hope to die.

_____________________________________________________ 

I bleed black. Bleeeeed black.

On December 31st I lost it. I held it in my hands. Black blood dripping down my legs, over my ankles. Onto my feet and onto the floor. I held it in my hands. Black mass.

Is it breathing?

No.

Can it hear me? 

I pled, “Come back. Come back come back come back come back.”

Writhed on the floor. Shit in the air. Vomit choking me out of a deep sleep.

Bleeding black. Standing in the store bleeding through my clothes, the warm insides meeting the cold outsides.

Black blood dying my blue jeans. Blue dreams. Delirium Tremens forced me here. Heroin forced me here. My addiction and anothers has raped me again. Bright lights accentuate my sodden clothes at the Family Dollar and I don’t speak enough Spanish to ask if I can skip ahead in line.
I walked home. A waddle. It was cold. My legs were cold.

_____________________________________________________

I changed my clothes, put on a new pad, sat on the couch, found my doctors number, stood up. Black blood everywhere. Suede couch, vintage. Garbage picked on a summer day. Called my father to pick it up. It was too low to the ground.

Blood blood blood.

Fall out of me.

Solid mass.

Avalanche.

Backsplash.

Rejection.blood clot from hell-2

Coping mechanisms

-crying

-singing

-drinking

-watching tv

-talking with friends

-reading/listening to poetry

-listening to music

-facebooking

-sex binges

-s&m

-exercising

-lighting candles

-dancing

-petting animals (specifically my friend’s dog Ira 😀 )

-work

-painting/crafting

-playing piano

-cleaning my house

-making lists

-cooking

-sleeping

-sitting and doing nothing

-riding my bike

-taking long, hot baths

One Year

Today is a sad day.

December 31st, 2014.

A mark.

One year ago I had my abortion. It hadn’t hit me that the one year anniversary was approaching until Christmas when I was sitting around with my family, comparing this Christmas to last year’s Christmas and I couldn’t remember. I tried and tried to go through the files in my brain, frantically searching for even one bit of memory of last year’s holiday until finally someone said, “Weren’t you in Tennessee?” and it all came back. First I remembered that I was sick. And then, I remembered why I was sick.

Since then I haven’t been able to forget again. I remember telling my friends that I was pregnant. I remember being nauseous on Christmas. I remember standing outside my work, moments before my shift started and scheduling my appointment for the abortion and then going into work and telling my Catholic boss who, as it turns out, was also pregnant, that I needed a couple days off because I had to have an abortion. I remember watching SVU at about this hour, high on codeine, wishing I was one of the dead women on tv.

I may have forgotten some of the details, suppressed them deep into my memory for safe keeping, buried them so I wouldn’t have to look at them- but the emptiness is always there. It’s always here, with me. My arms feel light; I could be holding a baby. My life is quiet, but I should hear cries and laughter and cooing. I spend a lot of time alone, but I could be with my baby, taking care of my kin.

I’ve made an identity for my child. It was a girl. I would have named her Eliot. Eliot would be a big baby, born with lots of dark curly hair on the top but close to nothing on the sides. Eliot would have high cheekbones. We both have high cheekbones. She would have dark brown eyes and light skin but would tan very dark. People would have remarked that for being so pale, her tan is impressive. Her face would not take a European shape- it would have been wide and more flat than a European face, with a wide nose and eyes with a slight slant. She wouldn’t have a lot of body hair, ever, and her friends would envy her for it. Her skin would always be smooth until she began to age and by her elder years, her face would be pitted. She would have big teeth that would take longer than expected to come in, but well worth the wait. Her ears would be little and disconnected at the lobe. She would have a strong neck and the stubbornness to match it. Eliot would grow to be strong. She would have wide shoulders and hips, big feet and an appetite that could compare to that of a lion’s. She would have been Native American, Seneca- though not recognized by the Nation because of her white mother.

She would have been perfect.

I contacted my old boyfriend in an absurd, feeble attempt to reach out for support. He contracted Hepatitis C from sharing needles while going through a four month long heroine binge but has to wait two more months before he knows whether or not he has HIV. He just returned to the area after being in New Orleans all summer, living it up in drug houses, shooting heroine and meth, drinking himself to near death, overdosing on drugs and getting cotton fever from using a cigarette filter as a cotton for heroine. He got a job for the first time in three years but blew all his money on heroine. He was kicked out of several houses and illegal squats and was nearly shot in the face by a strung out meth head.

This is who would have been my baby’s father- a junkie, a liar, a thief. Eliot would have resembled him, no doubt, and I wonder if I could have loved her if she did.

Stockholm Syndrome

My would be due date just passed. When I went into the clinic for a sonogram they told me I was 7 weeks and 2 days into my pregnancy.

In my mind, I should be having a baby. I should be waddling around with swollen feet, a big ol’ belly, taking baths everyday until I finally pop.

I should be packing up my overnight bag for the hospital, or discussing a plan of action with a midwife. I should be finishing up the last touches on the house to make it accessible for a post pregnancy me.

Sometimes I think that if I could go back, I wouldn’t have had the abortion, but I would have worked as hard as I could to make a lot of money, broken up with my shitty boyfriend and made it happen with the help of friends and family. My baby would have as little interaction with his family as possible to avoid the dreaded addiction that would likely run its life at some point.

Realistically, due to the endometriosis, I probably would not have been able to carry it full term. I most likely would have had a miscarriage. What’s worse? I’m not sure.

I don’t talk very much with my old boyfriend but in a moment of desperation, I texted him, telling him that is was my due date.

This is the person who forgot about my abortion only two weeks after the procedure.

This is the person who refused to have sex with me because he didn’t want to go through the motions of having to clean up after sex because I was still bleeding, even after I told him all about my low self esteem and pretty much begged him for affection because I was feeling so alone in the aftermath.

This is the person who, when I was bleeding so heavily I was dizzy from blood loss, when I was bleeding so much I was going through pads every 5 minutes, couldn’t get up and walk to the store 2 blocks away to get me more pads because he was going through DT’s from drinking too much.

In retrospect, I don’t know why I even thought to contact him- I guess because he did such good job with the final ceremony at the river I thought he might care or it might mean something to him, but I was wrong.

After I texted him, he called me. He called me because he needed a friend. He called me to tell me that he recently overdosed on heroine and almost died, and that he was having problems with the newest woman in his life. He didn’t ask me how I was doing with the abortion, or in general. He just needed to talk to someone because has burned every fucking bridge, every real friendship he’s had. No one wants to hear his shit anymore; he thought he could use me as a siphon for his self worth, but I had no good news for him.

I admit, it’s sad that we can’t be friends, that we can’t be there for each other. It’s sad that after all the chaos and struggle we shared that we can’t be civil. We were best friends and toxic lovers, both good and bad for each other. But, it got to a point in our conversation, when he started laughing about almost dying, that I realize I was always his friend but he was never mine.

It’s funny to think about how sometimes horrific things can be romanticized just so we can deal with them better. The way that I romanticized my abusive relationship with my boyfriend in order to manage my emotions and stress is similar to how I romanticize the idea of having a baby right now.

I knew that my relationship was:

a.) abusive

b.) unhealthy

c.) doomed from the start

But, as a sort of survival technique I let my abuser be my lover and vice versa- like Stockholm Syndrome.

With the abortion, I let myself seethe and ruminate about what I could have done differently, how wonderful things could be, as if being a single welfare mom is glamourous. Sometimes I just have to tell myself, “Bitch, please“.

If I kept that baby, what are the chances my baby wouldn’t have a daddy at all? What are the chances that the father would be dead before it was even born?

And you know, I remember now that I really did make the right decision.

‘Closure’ doesn’t always mean closure (Warning: graphic content)

When I went to the doctor to begin the first steps of the abortion, they gave me a lot of information on what to expect and when to begin worrying.

I first took anti-antibiotics, just in case. Then, they gave me a medication that would stop my body from sending nutrients and whatnot to the fetus.

The next day I took anti-nausea medicine and later, the actual abortion pills. There were four pills total. I was not to swallow them, but to put two on the inside of each cheek and let them slowly dissolve for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I was to swallow the remaining pills and just… wait.

I was also given a prescription for Tylenol and codeine. I had no idea how much I would need it.

About 20 minutes after I swallowed the rest of the dissolving pills, I became sick. I was simultaneously throwing up and going through sporadic bouts of diarrhea. The cramps started, and were so bad I couldn’t tell if I was going to start shitting all over the place, or expelling my uterus. It was both.

The pain was so bad, and I was so embarrassed about everything that was happening in front of my boyfriend, that I laid on the floor in the bathroom and passed out for I’m not sure how long. I think my boyfriend said an hour, but I don’t remember.

By the time I woke up though, I was feeling much better. My bowels were back to normal, I wasn’t throwing up and the cramps had temporarily subsided. I sat on the couch and while my boyfriend tried to find something for me to watch to take my mind off of things (the only way he knew how to soothe me) it started again. Except, this time was different.

My uterus was beginning to empty itself. I could feel a mass moving through my vaginal cavity, I could feel it leaving my body.

By this time, I was nearly high from the endorphin rush of all the pain. I had yet to take my pain pills because I thought I could be be strong and that I didn’t need them. When the mass finally left me, and I waddled to the bathroom to take care of my business, I pulled down my underwear and there on a pad was a massive blood clot, nearly the size of my fist. It was almost solid. I could pick it up with my bare hands and it would contain itself.

As someone who has always been interested in blood and guts and bones and decay, I was thrilled and very interested in seeing something that is normally on the inside on the outside. When I was done oohing and awing over this biological fascination, I threw it in the trash and went on with myself.

The cramps came after that. I thought the cramps before were bad but these cramps were the most painful thing I’ve experienced. My back hurt, as if someone were ripping my spine out through my front. My hips were killing me, my whole reproductive system felt like it was disintegrating inside of me. I withered on the couch, on the floor with pain. I moaned and screeched until my boyfriend finally made me take the Tylenol and codeine, and even that just numbed my brain, not my body.

It wasn’t until I got up, hours later to go to the bathroom that I remembered the huge mass that fell out of me earlier that day.

That mass was the fetus- I remember thinking that over and over and over and over… until I couldn’t think about it anymore. It hadn’t hit me until then that it had passed, in one swoop, and that now my body was just expelling the leftover fluids and uteran wall.

I can’t really tell you what it was like. I can’t give you an accurate description of what it felt like to see the product of my abortion. It was a blur. I was so overwhelmed with sadness and regret, worry, anger. I felt alone and loveless. I felt selfish.

It was all too much for me and I asked my boyfriend to take out the garbage. But, halfway down the stairs I stopped him:

“I can’t just… throw it in the garbage.

He stared at me, unsure of the right thing to do.

I, myself, was unsure.

I tied the trash up and put it in my hallway, out of sight, until I could think of something to do with it. Throwing it out in the garbage would be treating it as if the experience, and the reality of what was going on was disposable, and therefore insignificant.

At the time I was in too much pain to really consider the right thing to do. I was bleeding for a long time and then became so depressed about everything that I totally abandoned the bag in the hallway.

Months later, after my boyfriend and I broke up, I went out of my way to remind him that we had business to take care of before we officially parted ways. I could not do it alone.

We decided that we would take the remains and put them in the river near the apartment we shared for over a year. We often went to the park together to walk the dog and it was the most pleasant place in our hood-life, junkie ridden neighborhood.

We met up one evening, after I’d got off work, with the intention of fulfilling our plan. To my surprise, he brought wild flowers that he picked from the woods near his house on the reservation, sage and an abalone shell to perform a traditional, smudging ceremony. I was so surprised an impressed that this person who so poorly supported me during my abortion put forth so much effort to make this ceremony mean something to me. It was extremely important to me that we try our best to tie up the lose ends and it meant, and still does mean, a lot to me that he went the extra mile, for once.

We walked through the neighborhood, passed the beer store, passed the dope houses and to the river. I put the remains in a paper bag and on the way, collected rocks to weigh it down. We stood there, together, near the water on a beautiful spring day and he performed a smudging ceremony between the two of us. He asked me if I had any last words to say and I said, “no”, not because I had nothing to say, but because there are no words appropriate for the guilt and loss I feel. We split the flowers, beautiful purple wildflowers, and after I dropped the bag in the water, we threw our flowers in after.

We stood there for what felt like a very long time, watching the bag sink down below, and the flowers drifting on down the river, with the scent of sage and juniper and sweet grass still lingering under our nose’s and in our clothes’.

Of course, I cried, and once again I was surprised when I saw tears down his face.

At the time, this felt like closure. But now that my boyfriend and I are not at all together, the father of my child far away from me, I feel an even worse emptiness that keeps me up at night and follows me in the shadow of daylight.

When I meet new people, I wonder if they can tell. It must be written all over my face: guilty.

I want desperately to be a mother, and in my mind I am- but without a baby.

Why I had an abortion

Some of the time I’m angry about my abortion. I’m angry because I have to hid it. I’m angry because it didn’t go as planned, because my partner wasn’t very good at supporting me, because I’m sad. I’m angry at myself, my doctor, all doctors. I’m angry at my partner, my father, my mother, religion, science, children. I’m angry at the media and society and technology. I find so many things to be angry about in regard to my abortion.

And though I know that it was my choice, my decision, I’m angry because I have to lie. And if I don’t lie, I have to explain myself. I know this for a fact.

The other day I told a close friend who, prior to our visit, had no idea about the abortion or anything and I ended up having to explain myself to get her support, condolences, best wishes.

I told her because I’m moving out of state and I wanted to tell her the truth. I wanted to come clean to her so she could understand why I was so sick for so long and why I’ve become so sad and depressed- lifeless at times. While I knew that she would never have an abortion herself, I know that she is pro-choice and I felt comfortable telling her what happened.

We sat down and I said that I had a confession to make, and that I wasn’t sure how she would react and that is why I was telling her so late. I sighed, held my breath and spit it out they way a teenager breaks up with their first real boyfriend/girlfriend.

“Ihadanabortion…”

Now, while I was expected something along the lines of, “Oh my god, when?” or “What happened?”- you know, the basics- I was met with something like:

*GASP* “WHY didn’t you tell me?!?! Oh my god, I can’t believe you didn’t tell me! UGGGH!”

“Are you mad at me…?”

“Why did you have an abortion?!”

Um, obviously yes she was mad, though she claimed she wasn’t. The tinge of disgust in her voice told me all I needed to know about her feelings towards my abortion. I’d opened a can of worms and I had to clean up the mess. I’m not sure what I said exactly, because my fear of judgement was coming true and it was all a blur. Since then I’ve been thinking a lot about why I had an abortion. If I had to explain myself, what would I say?

I would say this:

I had an abortion for a lot of reasons. I had an abortion because I can’t afford a child. I grew up poor, living off boxed macaroni and cheese and spaghetti o’s. When we had no food, there was always the good ol’ stand by of toast and ranch dressing. I don’t think any child should have only that to look forward to for dinner, ever. Sometimes we didn’t have money for school supplies, for new clothes or proper winter gear. We were left to our own devices because Mom was too busy working to heat the house and keep her car on the road. How could I have a child knowing I couldn’t put clothes on its back? How could I have a child without a car to take my baby to the doctor in when there’s a blizzard outside and the windchill is below zero degrees?

I had an abortion because my partner, the love and light of my life, is an addict. He is an alcoholic and a heroin addict, but I love him. It was love at first sight, truly. We fell in love instantly, we took care of each other in ways no one else ever could. We tried to love each other enough for the lack of love we felt from the rest of the world. We were inseparable, invincible, and inspired by each other. He was kind and sweet, an artist, a political activist, a Native who grew up on the Reservation, going to sweat lodges and making fry bread with his grandma. He was a skater, he loved poetry and good movies. We hated all the same things. But, alas, he was an addict. He didn’t like it, but beer was a higher priority than me. He couldn’t help it and I couldn’t help him.

If I had a baby with him, it would live a hard and mean life. The probability of that child being an addict themselves would have been very high and I have seen the struggle, the manipulation, the depression, anger in addicts. I’ve watched my partner burn enough bridges to know that he has few connections with people and what kind of sad life is that?

Children of addicted parents are far more likely to be neglected, mistreated and abused by the addicted parent than those whose parents are not addicts. They are more likely to become addicts and to go to jail than other children. They are likely to battle depression, commit suicide and develop eating disorders. They are more likely to develop ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Knowing that this is the life my child has to look forward, with or without my partner in our lives, knowing that my poor baby would struggle, inevitably, was not easy.

If I had a child I couldn’t afford, with a drug addict, statistically, that child would be so damaged, right from the womb. That child would be unhappy and its entire life would be an obstacle.

My partner and I are no longer together. We broke up because of his addictions and his lack of control. We broke up because he destroyed my apartment; we broke up because he doesn’t remember doing it. 

If I didn’t have an abortion I would be 7 months pregnant right now, poor and alone. I would possibly be unable to work so I would be even more poor than I am now. My partner is a good person and would want to be in the baby’s life but not consistently because he goes in and out of drugs and alcohol and is unreliable.

So I considered my options and none of them looked good.

Either way, no matter what I decided to do, it’s a lose/lose situation. No winning here.

Pregnancy Foods

When I was pregnant, I was SO SICK all the time. I pretty much ate three things all the time. None of them were good for me, none of them were nutritious, but none of them made me sick either. When I wanted them, I had to had them. Rice Krispies Treats were one of those food items. I ate so many of them. I woke up in the middle of the night craving them. I wouldn’t eat anything all day except maybe one of those. It was bliss- sweet, chewy, crunchy, processed bliss. MMM!

Even still I have cravings for them; I guess it’s one of the ways I hold on. Now, they don’t deliver me the same kind of satisfaction as they did when I was pregnant but when I have them I feel closer to myself.

Guilt

Guilt is a phantom that chills my bones to the marrow. It sneaks up on me, plays tricks on me, visits me at night, keeps me awake when I’m exhausted and at this point, guilt is no stranger to me. I come to expect it, to allow it to follow through with its intentions and I pick up with the pieces of whatever is left of me after. Guilt leaves me submissive to sadness, apathy, and regret.

For instance, I went to visit my family in Tennessee for Christmas, before the abortion, and was sick the whole time from the pregnancy. I didn’t tell anyone about it; even now, no one knows. I feel guilty because I couldn’t do as much stuff with my family as I wanted to do. I was nauseous most of the time, had little to no appetite, was freezing the entire time and my hips and back were killing me. Honestly, I thought I was coming down with the the flu. Between the body aches and chills, I was sure I was coming down with something. It didn’t even occur to me that these symptoms could be related to being pregnant. On Christmas day, at my nanny’s house, with family members I hadn’t seen in years, I just sat on the couch and watched tv because I felt so awful. My family members worked so hard on dinner and I barely ate anything. Everyone was so accommodating to my needs, especially my sister who took great care of me during the visit. She ran me a bath, gave me her favorite sweater to wear as a house coat and fed me Advil and herbal medicines to combat my oncoming ‘flu’. The guilt gets to me when I consider that because I wasn’t being as responsible as I should have been, I kind of ruined Christmas. And of course, no one knows that and I’m sure they don’t even think about it- after all, we can’t help when we get sick. But I know. I know the real reason for my condition during Christmas.

The guilt also gets to me when I consider the doctors at my local clinic. Their approach to their patients and abortion is very simple: this is a medical procedure. When I walked into the examination room they first asked me if I had any support in all of this. Did I have anyone to talk to? Was my partner involved? Do I have help at home? But after those easy questions were answered the toned changed as if it was a normal medical check up. This approach was good for me, initially, because I was not afraid. I didn’t cry, I didn’t leave, I didn’t breakdown at all- they kept me very level headed.

In hindsight, they were insensitive and ice cold. I understand that these doctors and medical personnel are most likely trained to be objective, but my experience was not what they told me to expect and when I came to them with problems, issues, complications I was so scared, and nervous. I felt so alone, alone, alone and the doctors did not console me the way I needed to be consoled- the way only a doctor could console me. I needed a doctor to reassure me that I was going to be ok, that these things happen sometimes, that even in the worst case scenario I was going to pull through and it would eventually end.

My experience with these people- these reproductive rights advocates, these feminist, humanitarian people, with whom I stand in solidarity with, who I have praised as being heroes to young girls and women and men alike, to the LGBT community, low income peoples of all ethnicities, and the sick- have left me with a bitter taste in my mouth when I say their name and for this I feel guilty. They have done so much to help masses of people and have done, for me, what no other doctor would do for me. I am grateful for that. But I feel like their approach, that an abortion is just a medical procedure, is unfair to the women who have had to make that extremely difficult decision.

I mean, the most frightening part was going through the complications I had. I had no idea it was going to be like that. I had no idea. They didn’t tell me that I was going to bleed for 8 weeks, that I needed to take an iron supplement because my iron levels were already low and would be even lower for the next coming weeks. There’s so much they didn’t tell me. Maybe they didn’t know… I guess there’s no telling what it’s going to be like.

Regardless, my experience has left me feeling like they didn’t care and I feel guilty because I believe in them. I believe in what they do, and their right to do it. I believe in the cause. It’s a guilt you get when you’re furious at your best friend, or your lover, and you want to be over it, you want to forgive and forget, but you can’t forget because you still feel the sting and you’ve turned your back on them, even if it’s just for the time being.

I feel guilty because I had to lie. I work in an after school program, running a room of 20 to 30 kids between 2nd and 4th grade. I had to lie to my co-workers and my kids. I love my kids, they are all so special and have such different personalities and various talents. They are so busy, so focused and good hearted. Despite how much they claim to hate school, they love to learn and despite being so much younger than me, most of the time they teach me more than I teach them. I hate to lie to them because, even though I know they all tell lies every now and again, the lies they tell are silly. My lies are to hide a secret. I feel guilty that if they actually knew why I missed so much work, why I had to cancel fun activities, why I’ve been so sick, they would be devastated.

Of course, kids don’t understand the complexities of abortion and I would hope that they don’t ever have to know until they are good and grown and can digest that kind of information with an open mind, but I get a surge of guilt when my kids say things like, “why are you sick all the time?” or “how come you go to the doctor so much?”. It’s hard to lie because the truth is so much more than they would ever guess.

The worst is when I look at my kids and think that I could have had a child just like them, that I could play the same games and do fun crafts with my child, that I could pretend and imagine with them, teach them, learn from them, love them. That guilt is the worst guilt.

My First Mistake

I was 11 when I got my period. Most of my life I grew up with my mom and my older sister and we lived in what I call a ‘naked house’. My mom and sister were very open about their bodies, while I was very shy. They walked around naked, complained about cramps and their periods, and were very much women. I never walked around naked. Even though my mother worked too much and didn’t have a lot of time for us, she always stressed the importance of womanhood. To this day she claims that her goal for her girls was to raise us to be independent women. To a degree I would say, for myself, she was successful.  I can’t speak for my sister, but I’ve grown to be so independent that I don’t even know how to ask for help.

So, when I got my period, I already knew that it was a big deal, but also nothing to worry about. I didn’t think I was dying because I bleeding all over the place, as some of my childhood friends thought. I was, however, ashamed that I was dealing with bloodied sheets (I woke up with my period), and nervous about telling anyone. I waited all day to tell an adult.

By this time, my father was in my life and had remarried to my step mother. I was staying at their house when I got my first period and when I told her she gave a biology lesson on how the female reproductive system works and provided me with several books to take into my room and read in private.

Everything went smoothly, in regards to my menstrual cycle, until the winter on 2008. I was 17 and had moved to Tennessee to be with my mother who left my hometown because she went into debt and couldn’t afford to take care of me. In my teenaged angst, I grew tired of my father and his rules and moved down south to escape.

In hopes that my period would end eventually, I didn’t see a doctor for 16 days. My period was so heavy. It was like someone opened the flood gates and couldn’t get them shut. The blood was thick and black. I had blood clots with the consistency of mashed potatoes and passed 4 or 5 of these a day. Being uninsured, I was afraid to see a doctor even though I was soaking through pads in less than an hour. The breaking point was when one night, a friend drove me home from work. Before leaving, I changed my pad and put in a tampon, just in case. When I got out of his car, I had bled through the pad and tampon onto his baby blue seat. I was so embarrassed and disgusted with myself.

Shortly after that I made an appointment with a doctor. She asked me a few questions and prescribed me birth control to stop the bleeding. She said she didn’t know exactly why I was bleeding like this, but that considering my family history, I probably had endometriosis. My mother has this condition, and the other women in my family have a long history of reproductive issues. 

Endometriosis is when the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus and attaches to other organs. Women with this condition usually have painful, heavy periods, amongst other things.

Naturally, my first reaction was to do all the research I possibly could.

The internet told me that women with endometriosis can’t get pregnant and if they do, the pregnancy will be complicated and most likely fail before reaching a full term. This information didn’t surprise me since my mother had several miscarriages and was only able to bear two children, and after years of hormones that were supposed to curb and contain the endometriosis.

Despite this, I always practiced safe sex. I’ve always been the kind of person who was responsible sexually. I always made my partners wear condoms and have usually been on birth control until a couple years ago, when birth control started making me crazy. I would try a pill, and it would make me depressed. Then, I would switch and that pill might work for a couple months but then, inevitably, I would start going crazy. I tried the ring and that totally fucked me up. My vaginal walls cramped up when it wasn’t in, and when it was in my vaginal walls were sore. There was no way I was willing to try something long term like the shot or an IUD considering my bad luck with hormones and I was afraid of a cervical cap since my vagina completely rejected the ring.

After I gave up on birth control, I only used condoms. Eventually, with my current partner, we ditched the condoms and used the rhythm method in combination with spermicide.  I was nervous about this at first, but during an STD check up, when my nurse asked me what kind of birth control I was using, she seemed content with my choice and I wasn’t worried. Additionally, I was relieved when I remembered that due to my good ol’ case of endometriosis, I couldn’t even get pregnant.

As it turns out, the idea that women with endometriosis can’t get pregnant easily is a myth. It’s also a myth that hormones cure endometriosis. My mother’s experience, in combination with what I read on the internet (and boy, did I read everything) led me to believe that only with long term use of a hormone to control my endometriosis could I get pregnant, once I went off the pill, of course.

This was my first mistake.

 

The Beginning

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I suppose the beginning would seem a likely place to start, but I’m not so sure I know when the beginning began. All I know is that on New Year’s Eve, December 31st of 2013 I had an abortion and it was, has been, is, the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I wouldn’t say, however, that everything started on that day, and I’m certain that if there is an end to the guilt and sadness, the emptiness and lonesomeness- it will not be so easy to just stop.

Abortion has left a scar that might fade or take other shapes, but I can’t imagine that it will ever leave me.

Abortion is very misunderstood. Women and families who have had to make the very difficult decision to have an abortion are misrepresented, if represented at all. The media and politicians, religious groups and reproductive rights advocates present abortion as being very black and white: There are pro-choice people and there are pro-life people.

In short:

Pro-lifers see abortion is an abomination to the civil right’s of an unborn child.

Pro-choicers, we will call them, define abortion as a medical procedure. It is within a woman’s civil liberties to be able to do with her body what she believes is safe and right.

Now, obviously the debate goes much further than this or that, but the argument stresses civil liberties versus civil right’s, in a nutshell. And, in my experience, this distinction has haunted me, making is very difficult for me to heal, to forgive myself, and to remind myself that given the circumstances, it was the right thing to do.

Why? Because it’s not quite that easy to just call it a medical procedure and it would be a hyperbole to call it a murder.

The reality of an abortion is something you will never understand unless you have had one. 

No woman can tell me I’m a murderer.

No man can tell me that it’s just a medical procedure.

_______________________________________________________________________________

I’m not interested in sparking a debate over abortion. I’m interested in a safe, freethinking space in the clouds to share my experience, the trials and tribulations I had or have in regards to my choice to have an abortion. I realize that some women who might have previously been pro-choice, now regard themselves as pro-life after their experience. I realize that some women might have been pro-life the entire time but were forced into it. And, I realize that some women might not have thought anything of it, other than a medical procedure, and are still content in their decision to have an abortion. Whichever side of the forest you come from, you are misrepresented.

I haven’t told anyone about my abortion, short of my boyfriend and a few close friends. I haven’t told my family, other friends or coworkers. Some might say, “well, it’s none of their business”, but my response to that is this:

I don’t tell people because then I become a leper. I am shunned, desperate, pathetic, pitiful, dangerous, a sinner, a murderer, a slut, crazy.  It’s not telling people that makes it difficult to heal- it’s keeping to myself that makes me feel alone in all of this, depressed that I’m a bad person [even though I’m not], afraid that the people who I care about the most will judge me and never love me again, ashamed that someone would feel pity on me for my mistakes.

So here, I do something for myself.

Here, I give myself a platform to anonymously confess.

Here, I offer and look for empathy.

Here, I hope to help myself heal.