An abortion in NYC

by M

January 27, 2021

I was working as a cashier at a health food store in Chelsea. Firstly, let me tell you that working in a brick and mortar food store is hell. That is truly a horrible job and if you’re under any suspicion whatsoever, like if you’re Black, or have a criminal record, if your cash drawer doesn’t have exactly the right amount of cash in it at the end of the night, and everything doesn’t add up, you could get in trouble. All the jobs there are bad. My coworker Jason, a Black young gentleman, was a superior human being and was forced to take out the garbage day in and day out which he clearly hated doing. When I left that job he gave me his number written on the back of a business card, and I texted him but he never got back to me, and when I left he said, “Good luck,” looking me straight through in the eyes.

Also when you work in retail, like at a health food store, you are subjected to hearing the same incredibly annoying muzak all day every day and no matter how hard you try to get this muzak to recede into your subconscious, it does not. Also the customers. I cashed out a certain very cool and extremely famous actor (ok, it was Susan Sarandon, love her!) and she was pissed that her credit card wasn’t working. This, I can actually understand. But you see, at this store, the payment system was always crashing and things were always breaking, and we had to ask each and every pissed-off customer to do some annoying shit with their credit card that they were not prepared to do, and they also wanted their reward points for being loyal customers which was another mindless task we had to do which wasn’t really mindless because it involved remembering a series of numbers and interacting with a human being who doesn’t care about you at all. Oh my God.

That summer I got accidentally pregnant and I was pregnant for six weeks while working at this health food store. I gestated a fetus no bigger than the size of a pinhead, but I looked and felt pregnant and my manager and boss both noticed. I was still isolated from my friends and community, as I had been isolated, and “disappeared” in plain sight. This exists. So I was in touch with a few people but not a lot. But I did have a few coworkers. My coworker Chances who started a few weeks after me, inquired of me if I had any kids, about a week after I had had the abortion, and I said no. I said, “I had the opportunity to have kids, but I didn’t take it.” I don’t think Chances realized I was talking about having been pregnant while I was working there alongside her, and then getting an abortion while we were working there together. And that I was not referring to a mythical past, but in fact, one week ago.

My strong community bonds had disappeared from my life, just as I had been “disappeared” in plain view, from these people through the process of psychological torture but again I’ll spare you the details.

I did have people though, new people, as I worked to rebuild my life and personhood, which had been stripped of me. I talked with a few old friends, and my friend picked me up after the abortion, and we immediately went to get doughnuts. We each had two. I felt immediately relieved and elated to not be pregnant anymore. Could have been a physical experience or maybe because I had opted to be given a sedative, but also because I just wasn’t ready and having and caring for a child was an impossibility for me at that time.

Abortion for me was painless and felt affirming. I saw the sonogram. And I asked the nurse, “I am pregnant right?” because I was still not even sure if this was reality. Also I was concerned that something else might be wrong, and I was hoping it was not an ectopic pregnancy or something that emotionally would have been even worse for me to be dealing with. Even though I had bought a pregnancy test which to me cost a lot of money, and the little signs on it said yes. I still wasn’t in a place to trust. I was in a walking state of disassociation and terror. That is the truth.

When I first missed my period is the day I realized I had been feeling different. The night I conceived I felt something happening in my abdomen that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Then when I found out, I was happy to know I could conceive and that I was fertile. (I already knew this though.) Then I got pissed off cause I was coming off the most horrific time in my life, under extreme pressures, and the man who got me pregnant is well… I don’t even know a good euphemism to describe him. But not terminating the pregnancy was never an option. I would have traveled to another country to terminate that pregnancy if I could have. I don’t mourn that I lost a fetus, I’m happy to still be alive.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!