So, where did I leave you? Ahh, that’s right, I had just come to terms with the fact that I wanted an abortion with every fiber of my being. No regret, no hesitation. I was ready. I’d like to tell you that the next two weeks passed smoothly, I got an abortion, slapped an IUD (intrauterine device) up there and went on living my life with no children as I damn well intended. How naive of me to think that was even a possibility.
Into the Storm
Okay, I just want to preface this section by saying that I am about to delve into things that people said to me once word got out that I wanted an abortion, but they’ll be anonymous. There is no reason to for me to dredge up any old grudges. I just want people to be prepared for the things they might hear, or perhaps think about how they might respectfully respond if someone told them they were considering an abortion.
Most comments ranged from pseudo-support:
Comment: I’m unable to have children, so I don’t agree with your decision to abort, but that’s your call.
My silent response: Okay, well first of all, why does my pregnancy in my own body have anything to do with you? Why should I be forced to carry an unwanted child to term because YOU can’t have children? There are already way too many children stuck in foster homes or aging out of the system. Help them. I am not here to protect your desire for a baby. In fact, please don’t reduce me to my reproductive potential. I am more than that.
Comment: I lost a child, and therefore I cannot understand your decision to abort, but I respect that you can choose that.
My silent response: Same as above.
Comment: You can make that decision, but why doesn’t your partner get a say?
My silent response: He was more than welcome to voice his opinion to me, but the bottom line is, he wouldn’t be the one whose body would be ravaged by pregnancy and birth so….I don’t see how that decision could be anyone else’s but mine (though some of our politicians think otherwise).
To cruel attempts at guilting me into continuing my pregnancy:
Comment: You love him, why can’t you love your baby?
My silent response: This thing inside me is clump of cells. I don’t feel anything about it except that it is there. And I don’t want it to be there. I don’t know if I want anything to be there, ever. And I don’t understand why my love has to be communicable in that way? I really don’t know what people hope to gain with this tactic…you can’t force emotions into a person.
Comment: The fetus tries to run away from the vacuum in an abortion.
My silent response: I would have a medically-induced abortion, so even if this was true, not relevant.
Comment: Planned Parenthood is going to lie to you and coerce you into an abortion.
Me: I will cover this later, but my experience with Planned Parenthood was better than I could have imagined. The doctor, this stranger to me, was more aware of my emotions and sensitivities than most people who actually knew me had been. I can never thank them enough.
Comment: I had an abortion and I regret it all the time. I still know the baby’s due date.
My silent response: I’m sorry this is how you feel, but why do you assume that you and I are the same? And for the record, me from the present would like to say that I have never once, for even just a moment, regretted my decision (and it turns out, neither do a majority of women – see image below), and I don’t know what my due date would have been. All I feel is relief, and though I regret the situation I put myself in, I’m so proud that I did not let anyone bully me into changing my decision.
Comment: Abortion is murder.
My silent response: Is a miscarriage, or spontaneous abortion, murder too?
Lesson 3a: If someone truly loves you, they will support your decision, even if they don't agree with it. For me, this was one of the most important lessons. Being open about my desire for an abortion really showed me who was in my corner.
Lesson 3b: You cannot ask someone to agree with your decision, but you can ask them to support you.
My Third Regret
This period of an onslaught of questions, which quite frankly insulted my mental capacity to make my own choices, marked a period of fighting in my life. Every day was a struggle with someone I knew. Every hour someone trying to sway me one way or another. While people thought they were trying to save a life, they were pushing me – a living, existing human being – out of their lives.
Which brings me to a third regret: how I responded to these numerous comments. Let’s just say I didn’t handle them well. I either responded entirely out of anger, or I didn’t advocate for myself at all and just acted like these were all fine reactions to have. What I really wanted people to know, and what I should have said, was that all I needed to hear was “I support your decision.” I didn’t need to hear, “it’s your decision, but…” or “consider the possibilities.” What I fundamentally needed was a solid support system of people who could surround me with love, help me deal with my mistake, and come out the other side of this. I needed people to remember that I was human too.
Years later, I still harbored a lot of anger about some of these comments. People would always tell me you need to forgive, and move on. FORGIVE?! The horrible way that people treated me, wanted to limit my agency, and tried to force me to have an unwanted child out of GUILT?! No, no I’m sorry, but I will never forgive and I will never forget. However, I did find a way to heal from the words and the actions. And that’s by living every day in the present. I’ve done the moving on, but without the forgiving. And that’s what works for me. It doesn’t eat at me every day, it just reminds me that people who post or “like” pro-choice articles and images on social media today were not as open-minded when the situation manifested in someone that they knew.