Shirell's Story

Twelve years and one month ago, I had an abortion. I found out I was pregnant in November of 1992, two months before my eighteenth birthday.When I found out, I was stunned because I had been having unprotected sex for years without getting pregnant and thought something was wrong with my fertility. 

When my period was late, I thought it was just that...late.  I even felt exactly like my period was coming; I was cramping and my breasts were very tender, so I kept telling myself that my period was just around the corner.  After almost a week, I bought a test, and the result was positive.  After the initial shock wore off, I was faced with the biggest decision I had ever faced.  Abortion or baby? 

I talked with my best friend (with whom I chose the name Dandelion for the baby because we just knew it would be a girl), I talked with the baby's father, and I talked with my surprisingly supportive parents, but ultimately the decision was mine.

Trying to put everything in perspective, I came up with the reasons I should have the baby.  I was almost eighteen, I would have my Associate of Arts degree by the time the baby was born, and between my parents, relatives, and me, the baby would have a very loving, healthy home. 

But those same reasons were also the reasons that justified having an abortion.  Like I said, I wasn't even eighteen yet, but I was just months away from receiving my first college degree.  With nothing to stop me, my Bachelor's Degree was only two years away, and then I'd be on my way to achieving my dream of becoming a successful writer. 

What would happen to me and my dream if I pressed the pause button on my life for a few years?  I thought for a long time about my options, but in the end, there was only one.   

I remember some details about my abortion.  I remember that my friend, Marnie, took me and when I woke up after the abortion, I was shaking uncontrollably from the anesthesia. I remember details from later in the day, like that I went to a movie and when I tried to get up afterward, my legs were cramping so badly I needed help walking out of the theater.  But I have absolutely no idea where I got the abortion or who gave it to me.  I don't even remember if I was sad or not.    

Now I'm thirty, and I have a three year-old and five year-old son whom I love more than I ever thought I could possibly love anybody or anything.  I've never regretted having my abortion; I wasn't ready for a baby, and I know my life would have gone in a direction I didn't want it to go. In a way I'm even thankful ... if not for that abortion, I never would have married my husband and had my wonderful sons.  But I know that's a fool's argument because I'm sure I'd love that other baby just as much as I love the ones I have now, and I'd never know what I was missing. Now I do know what I'm missing. I'm missing Dandelion.

Jan 25, 2005


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Our Truths / Nuestras Verdades
Call for submissions

Our Truths, Nuestras Verdades is a brand-new zine produced in collaboration with the Abortion Conversation Project by a diverse group of women who are reproductive rights activists, social workers, counselors, feminists, writers and artists. While all support universal access to legal abortion, we also know that for many women and men their experience of abortion is connected to their beliefs about family, culture, religion and relationships as well as affected by their access to resources and information. This zine aims to help break the silence that many women face, providing a forum for women to share their stories about abortion, and to affirm their decisions and experiences.

We are looking for truth-telling and diverse selections of poetry, prose, essays, line art and photographs (to be reprinted in black-and-white only) in Spanish or English for the premier issue of Our Truths, Nuestras Verdades, which is set to launch May 5, 2005.  The deadline for submissions to the premier issue is January 5, 2005.  Submissions that are received after the deadline will be considered for the second issue of the zine to be released Fall 2005.

Submissions from women who have had abortions will be prioritized; however, friends and support people of women who have had abortions are welcome to submit work as well.

Please send submissions with a cover letter including your name (or pseudonym), mailing address and email address to:

Our Truths, Nuestras Verdades
Abortion Conversation Project

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