Clara's Story

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to tell my story, as I haven't told it in its entirety to anyone.

In 1995 I was 22 years old, living with a couple of roommates, enjoying the freedom of being out of my parents' house. I'd had a long relationship with a troubled boy with whom I had lots of sex and never any pregnancies or even worries. After ending the relationship, I had a few one night stands and one of these was with my roommate. The condom broke and he was worried but I wasn't - I just wanted to go to sleep. I was so naive, I thought I was invincible. No one I knew had ever become pregnant. I didn't even know the details of my cycle, when ovulation occurred or anything. The only thing I noticed was that it was a full moon.

I didn't notice that my period was late until my female roommate, who was always a week ahead of me with her period, mentioned she was done bleeding. Stunned, I realized that there was a very real chance I was pregnant. I didn't have any symptoms except the late period. I peed on the stick and sure enough. I knew I would have an abortion so I spent that night drinking, smoking and listening to Soundgarden. The boy roommate, the father, was out of town for three weeks so I didn't worry about him.

When I went to the doctor the next day she told me about a procedure being tested locally, for early pregnancies - the medical abortion. I was scared of the invasiveness of a surgical abortion so I became part of the study for this new procedure. This resulted in a lot more tests than people get now - it took a week and there were lots of forms, an ultrasound, counseling, even pictures taken of my vagina (the doctor doing the study was also doing a paper for publication on the physical symptoms of rape and needed a picture of unmolested genitals for comparison, something which amused me at the time, despite the stress of it all.)

The day before I inserted the capsule to start the abortion, I told the boy roommate what was going on and he commended me for my sensibility. He also took care of me that night as I bled for 8 hours and was in a great deal of pain. I'm very appreciative of him for that. After making all those decisions without him, he could easily have just walked away but he brought me tea and checked in on me and continued to support me in the weeks following.

I coped with the aftershocks of the abortion by writing poetry and drinking a lot. I didn't tell any of my coworkers - just said I was off work with the flu - and shared my experience with a few close friends. I gradually healed and was empowered by my own strength. I knew I could survive anything.

In 2000, engaged to my soul mate and now husband, I became pregnant again. This time was sheer carelessness, we didn't use a condom, I was mid-cycle and I think I knew that I was pregnant immediately. I worried about it for the next two weeks, alternated between hope and stress for a week after that and didn't even bother to do a pregnancy test. This time I was nauseous, my breasts were incredibly sore, and I was going to have another abortion, no questions asked. My husband isn't interested in having children and neither was I, plus the timing was awful and I just couldn't imagine being able to take care of a baby, not with us hardly established as a couple. This time I opted for the surgical abortion, unable to take the amount of pain or time off work that would be required for the medical. I had to wait another two weeks because I was only 6 weeks along at that point.

Those two weeks were agony. I began to adapt to the pregnancy. I ate better and noticed that I was less nauseous when I ate certain foods and didn't drink coffee. Whenever I drank alcohol I was desperately sick. I began to feel like there was something growing inside me and I began to want to take care of it, not destroy it. This pregnancy was far more real because I was given extra time to feel it and I had real love and affection for my partner. We had created something together and I could feel it inside me. I carried on, though, and was my jovial self to the very few people I told - a couple of friends and that's it. I had the abortion at 7:30 in the morning and was amazed at how little time it took and how little pain I felt. I recovered quickly and came home to my first cup of coffee in a month. I was relieved and knew I'd made the right decision. I went on the pill as soon as I could. But my sex life faltered. I didn't want sex. I loved my partner but I didn't want to make love with him.

In the spring of 2001 I lost my job and spent a few months at home. During this time, I spent lots of time thinking about sex, thinking about my relationship and reading a book by Christiane Northrup M.D.(sp?) called Women's Bodies Women's Wisdom. This book caused me to have a breakthrough. I realized that my body felt betrayed and ripped off. I had given every indication to my uterus, to my ovaries, that I was ready to have children. And they complied by providing me with that opportunity. But, like a horrible trickster, I ripped that embryo out. Intellectually, of course it was the right choice. But hormonally, my body had shut down, was shutting me and my partner out. And of course the other issue was that I couldn't trust him enough to have him inside me- he was the one who said one thing and did another, saying he didn't want children, but not insisting on birth control.

Then I cried. For a few days. And then I began the healing that I'm still engaged in today. My sex life has equalized somewhat and I can admit now that I might want children someday. Or maybe not.

An important thing to take from such experiences is a recognition of your own strength. You never know how strong you are, the things you can accomplish, until you absolutely have to. The counselor at the first clinic where I had the medical abortion gave me a whole envelope full of pamphlets, one of which has stayed with me. It was a letter to be read after the abortion and it said, among other things: "You are good, you are strong, you are amazing. You have made one of the hardest decisions in the world and you should be proud of yourself and gentle with yourself."

I really enjoy your website - it is clearly and intelligently written. I will visit often.

21 June 2003

more stories -- share your story

Birth Control Comparison - alll methods Abortion Info from Feminist Women's Health CenterShare your story
Poetry and Prose - by women about their reproductive lives Teens HealthResources for Women of Color
Feminist Abortion Clinics Real Life Abortion Stories from teens Questions and Answers


"If you are trying to transform a brutalized society into one where people can live in dignity and hope, you begin with the empowering of the most powerless. You build from the ground up."
- Adrienne Rich