I was just looking around the web and found
your site. Wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed it, a lot of good and sensitive
information. Here is the story about my abortion. Not only do I think I will feel
better for sharing it, but if anyone else can relate or feel less alone, it will
be worth it. Keep up the good work....here it goes....
* * * *
As a college
student, I was strongly pro-choice. A rather liberal thinker as it was, I took
a keen interest in women's health issues. The way our bodies worked fascinated
me. I have memories of myself walking across campus in a T-shirt depicting some
praying hands that said "Keep Your Hands Out of My Womb". I felt empowered.
At the same time, there was always something very maternal and nurturing about
me. I really did love children. My mother recalls me, even as a young child, being
the one that babies smiled at in the store, the one who all of my young cousins
In college, I worked in a day care while
going through school. The children made me feel happy. They also made me feel
sad when I saw some of their home lives, but that's another story. I felt some
slight dissonance here....on one hand was the me that was an honor student, an
intellectual, a liberal. On the other hand was the me that loved to hold children
and bake cookies. I didn't realize at the time that the two didn't need to be
So I took my pills like a good girl, studied
hard, and got my degree. I moved in with my long-term boyfriend after college.
28 days later I noticed that something was missing. Namely, my period. I bought
a home test when he was at work, and was shocked but not necessarily unpleasantly
shocked when I saw the two little lines. I thought about it all day long as I
sat through my fifth day of my first "real job" after college at a local
mental health center. After work, I went to the bookstore and bought a pregnancy
book. I touched my belly in disbelief. Something was in there! I had only 20 dollars
and a tank of gas to my name, but my job had started and there was more in my
future. "Options" did not enter my head. I was having my baby. The only
options that would exist were that Paul would or wouldn't be there, and those
were the options that only he could decide. I was nervous but determined.
told Paul. He was wonderful. He held my hand and we sat outside on the picnic
table and pondered the "options". I began to realize that abortion was
an option he would consider, but I still wouldn't. He stated that whatever I wanted
to do, he would be with me 100%. I was so relieved. To think that I'd doubted
him! I told him I wanted the baby. And he said all of the right things, that the
baby would not grow up without a father, that he was happy with me and always
wanted children. But I saw it there in his eyes, a brief flicker of emotion that
he couldn't hide from me -- he was disappointed. He'd wanted an abortion.
the next week or so, the anxiety began to build. Paul and I spent a lot of time
together, were very loving toward each other and very encouraging, but the nervousness
that he had was growing quickly and while it wasn't spoken, I could definitely
feel it. He wasn't eating well. His ulcer had flared up and he was throwing up
blood. I would wake up in the middle of the night to see him, staring wide-eyed
into space. I felt guilty, like it was somehow my fault for wanting to have the
baby. I finally brought up the subject one night, inviting him to talk about it
with me. An outpouring of emotions came out. I had never seen him so upset. I
sat with him until 4:00 in the morning, vaguely nauseous from morning sickness.
I felt guilty and selfish. He was freaking out.
the middle of the night, I looked at him directly and asked what he wanted. He
admitted the truth. He would rather not have the baby. Full of fear for his well-being
and "obligation" feelings after he'd been so nice to me when I told
him about the pregnancy, I told him, "Well, then, we won't have it. I'll
call the abortion clinic in the morning. This is something we should both want.
We can do this later in life when it's right for us both." I told him it
was okay. In my heart it was not. I kept thinking that in the morning, when the
sun came back out, things would be calmer and I could tell him I didn't really
want an abortion.
But I called the clinic in the morning and
made an appointment, still in the back of my mind planning to cancel it. Paul
became more relaxed, I was more upset. He tried to comfort me, tell me everything
would be all right. But it wasn't. The day before the appointment, I canceled
it. Paul had taken the next day off of work so we could go together. I told him
on the phone. Mr. Nice Guy was gone for a little while. "But you told me
you were going to have the abortion!" Suddenly the promises of being with
me no matter what changed to promises of watching the baby every now and then,
down to talk of financial support only, and finally to thoughts of leaving for
"this great job in Colorado". We were in Michigan. He called me back
after we got off the phone and quickly apologized. He hadn't meant all that stuff,
he said, he was just stressed. Come home and we'll talk. I came home, he tried
to be kind and comforting, he apologized.... but I was just numb. Numb and disappointed.
had the abortion. The whole time I sat in the clinic I thought about walking out,
but just didn't quite have the guts. The counselor asked me if I was making this
decision for myself. I lied and told her yes. I wish she had known I was lying,
but how could I expect that? They did an ultrasound and I made them show me. They
looked a little uncomfortable, like they didn't want to upset me by it. 8 weeks
pregnant. It was quite small, but unmistakably there. They passed out Dixie cups
with a little Valium pill. All of the women were in this large room and they called
out our names, one at a time, to take the pills. They called mine first. I felt
like telling them I didn't think I wanted to have an abortion, but I dutifully
swallowed the little pills so as not to hold up the line. In a little while, I
was more relaxed. Paul sat in the waiting room, holding my hand.
get through this together," he told me. No we won't, I thought dully. They
would not let him into the room with me. He would be in the waiting room while
I put my feet into the stirrups. He would be reading Calvin and Hobbes while I
had a date with the vacuum aspirator. But I didn't say that. "Okay."
procedure itself was over quickly. The nurse held my hand, and the doctor was
quite gentle. I remember crying in the reclining chair when it was over, and the
doctor asked me if I was in pain. I told him that I wasn't in PHYSICAL pain. He
patted my head and told me it would be okay, that I'd done well. I appreciated
that, and wanted to believe him.
The abortion has disturbed
me since then. I remember being utterly depressed in the weeks that followed,
crying and saying "I want my baby" over and over. It gradually got a
little better, but I still thought about it quite a bit. I was angry at Paul,
but stuck with him anyway. I wished he had been a complete jerk when I'd told
him I was pregnant and he had taken off on me. Then I would have had less sympathy
for him and not have been swayed. I stayed with him physically, but emotionally
I was in my own world.
What was going on here? Pro-choice woman
that I was, wasn't I supposed to feel relieved? Empowered? Content? Grateful for
this country in which I could terminate my pregnancy safely? I began to rethink
my beliefs. Maybe I wasn't what I thought I was. Maybe I really was better suited
to domesticity and motherhood than this career and academic world. Maybe abortion
rights weren't so great.
I toyed with these ideas for a while,
and even went to a pro-life clinic that offered post-abortion counseling. One
of the counselors herself had aborted and felt distress like I did. I must admit
they were quite kind. I was afraid they were going to condemn me, but they didn't.
They were starting a group, would I like to come? I agreed. Prior to the group,
I came to pick up my workbook. There was one young woman in the waiting room,
nobody else. I walked up to the receptionist and told her I had come to pick up
my post-abortion workbook. She quickly pulled me into a side room and asked in
hushed tones "What's your name, dear? I want to protect your privacy so I
pulled you aside. I don't want everyone out there to KNOW." She meant well,
and she put my workbook into a brown bag so I wouldn't have to face the "shame"
of carrying it out into the lobby where one harmless-looking young woman sat.
I took it out of the brown bag and displayed it openly. I was not going to hush
about this. I started to feel empowered for the first time. I carried it boldly
up the steps of the apartment complex, waving it in greeting to our neighbor.
I had an abortion. Yes, I am sad. But I will not be ashamed. To put it mildly,
the group ended up not being for me. The women, in their own way, were really
trying to help, but when I opened the workbook and turned to the pages in the
Bible study where I was told that, yes, I was a sinner, but if I would just repent
it would be okay, I didn't quite agree. As it was, I had put everyone else before
myself. Paul's feelings, my family's feelings, my employers, my baby that I feared
so much would not get enough from just me. And I felt wretched for doing it. Now
I was a sinner, to boot? I will be forever grateful to those women, but not for
the reasons they might expect. Hearing that helped me to crawl from my pit of
self-pity and dust myself off.
I slowly began to take responsibility
for myself. I talked to Paul about my anger, which is still there at times. I
examined my feelings of deep "gratitude" to him for trying to support
me, which is actually MY RIGHT! After all, I didn't force him to have sex. It
took us both to make that baby. He talked to me about his guilt, knowing that
his lack of rising to the occasion had been a deciding factor in the abortion
decision. I started to look at myself. What was going on inside of me that made
me discount my own judgment and listen to what others wanted me to do?
have come full-circle. Something inside of me clicked when I was reading about
the 25th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade this past January,
on the 2nd anniversary of my would-be child's due date.
I slowly examined the words in the bold print on the front page. Pro-choice. It
doesn't say "pro-abortion", it says "pro-choice". I may choose
what happens to my body. I may choose if I am pregnant whether to end the pregnancy
or carry it to term. I may choose to keep the child I bear or give it up for adoption.
Nobody else may choose. All of the laws were in place to protect my choice, but
I did not protect it myself. My choice would have been to raise my child. But
I gave my power away.
As I type this, I'm wearing the T-shirt
that I proudly displayed in college. "Keep Your Hands Out of My Womb".
And I mean it, more than ever before. Because I won't let anyone else's hands
in there anymore. I'm taking the power back.Angela
more stories -- share your story
April 1998 World Bank Safe Motherhood Conference reported that as many as 200,000
women DIE each year worldwide from unsafe abortions. Nearly 600,000 women die
each year during pregnancy and childbirth.