My name is Randi.

Sometimes people call me Randall, actually a lot of people call me that and I love it. Often people call me Brandi, Andi, Mandy and I don’t really care enough to correct them. One time I was shouted at by a complete stranger and called a murderer. Another time selfish. But my favorite thing I have ever been called is Mama.

I’m a mother by choice, and I’ve had two abortions.

I’ve never really felt the need to “tell my story” or explain a damn thing to anyone, not because I’m ashamed but because frankly it’s nobody’s fucking business and there are a lot much cooler things about me.

I’m a really good cook. I’m pretty funny. I notice the simplicity in life and how simple it’s actually not. I give great hugs and will always notice and compliment your fresh haircut. I love really really big and I live radically in love.

However, if telling my abortion story can help people feel less shame around their own, come to understand just how common it is or if it’s just a good read and you’re bored, here it is.

I had a medical abortion. Well, I’ve had two medical abortions.

Medical abortion means there’s no surgery involved. No vacuum or surgical procedure whatsoever. To put it as short and simple as possible, you’re given two different medications. The first is called mifepristone, which blocks your body’s progesterone and prevents the pregnancy from growing. The second medication is misoprostol. This pill is taken either immediately or up to 48 hours after the first medication and causes your uterus to cramp, contract, and bleed, basically inducing a miscarriage or in my case, what felt like a really gnarly period. I was luckily early enough into these pregnancies and was able to have an abortion this way, both times. However the decade in between the two made the process much different.

My first abortion happened when I was about 19/20, I don’t remember my exact age  because that’s how not big of a deal it was for me. That’s not meant to sound brash, but honest. I knew what I wanted, there was never a doubt or question. I never had a single ounce of regret regarding my decision. I never felt shame. Never have, never will. It was a procedure that I CHOSE to have done because it was right at the time for me and although it’s impacted my life it wasn’t a major moment of impact. Moving on.

I was in a relationship and a pregnancy was not what either of us wanted. Now I could go on and on about how I became pregnant. Providing you with all the personal, complicated, and messy details most young folks have in their sex lives, blah blah blah but that’s not imperative to this story. In fact, let’s stop expecting that from people. People get pregnant, why is none of your business, unless they say it is and want you to know, but usually they don’t, so stop thinking you’re owed some sob story regarding it. Okay? Good, let’s continue.

I discovered I was pregnant, I called for an appointment and was scheduled for the next week. I borrowed my mother’s Jeep (because I only owned a bicycle at the time), my partner and I drove 40 minutes to the nearest Planned Parenthood. We were berated and yelled at. People held signs with bible versus and mutilated, full term babies on them outside in the parking lot.

I spent my entire day at that office. I had an ultrasound. I was asked if my decision was my own decision, making sure I wasn’t being pressured. I was given literature on all of my  options, I was offered love, compassion, snacks and water. I waited hours after my ultrasound to be handed a few different prescriptions, (one for miso and one for some heavy duty pain killers) and a single pill. I waited around all day because I needed to be handed this by the leading physician.

I took it, we then drove the 40 minutes home, filled my other prescriptions, got cozy at home, ate snacks and watched movies. I bled pretty heavy for the next three to four days, which started about 4 hours after I took the second medication which I took twelve hours after the first in the PP office. That’s it. Pretty uneventful.

Never any shame. Never any guilt, regret. I took some time off work. Everybody knew why. It happened and I did it. Nothing scared me, aside from the people who were convinced I needed saving and even they didn’t scare me, they’re just losers who need a better hobby.

Jump to about five years later. I found out I was pregnant. I was in love, we knew what we wanted so we had a cool ass baby.

A good six years postpartum, I discovered I was pregnant after a Plan B failure. As with previously, I knew what I wanted, and the reasoning for it was that I didn’t want to be pregnant and that’s all the reason I need to give.

I called and scheduled an appointment. Now this is over 10 years later and boy are things different.

I had to wait to get an ultrasound before I could even be seen by a doctor for the abortion intake. That took almost three weeks! Plus an extra four days before I could actually speak with a doctor. All of my doctor’s appointments were virtual. I was mailed both of my medications, plus some for nausea. I used the miso vaginally rather than orally this time and it worked a lot faster. I waited almost 5 weeks to actually have this abortion after finding out I was pregnant and barely made the cutoff for the medical option.

I waited so long because the town 40 minutes away now only has one office offering abortions, where previously were three. Timing is crucial to pregnancy termination, so this was concerning. By the time I went to my first appointment, I was feeling the nausea and emotions of pregnancy and I’ll always remember the bright colorful hair of my ultrasound tech and what the nurse who did my blood test told me. She said “I’m sorry you have to go through this. But it’s okay. Let all the emotions flow. I say watch a lot of sad movies and just cry. Let it all out.”

I did the opposite. I binged New Girl and Woke and watched Dazed and Confused. I wasn’t really sad, just emotional and honestly I blame the hormones for that. I didn’t tell many people about this abortion. I did it in silence cause at the time this one was surrounded with shame, the pregnancy not the abortion. I was a grown up by now. How irresponsible of me! How stupid of me, and boy did I feel stupid. It’s strange isn’t it? How the closer we are to people the more we fear their judgment. How we question ourselves way more as a parent than we did before children. Either way, I made my decision. No regrets. Eventually the shame faded and as with the first, it happened and it was done.

My abortions and pregnancy are not important or crucial to who I am as a person. They do not add or deduct to who I am as a womyn. They are simply decisions that I made and really don’t think much about.

However, my willingness to fight for others to make those same decisions is very crucial to who I am and what I stand for. We need to normalize abortion and without apology.

I want people to know how important abortion access is, I could have easily been on the other side of this fight and forced to birth an unwanted pregnancy. How different and difficult could my life be? All because people out there believe I don’t have the will and right to make my own decisions. Whether it be because of their religion or moral high ground, the fact that people out there want to force people to be pregnant and give birth is terrifying and the outcome is devastating. It shouldn’t even be an issue or up for debate, it’s all really so ridiculous.

If there is anything you get from this drawn out diary entry, let it be that people deserve choice and respect and nobody has the right to dictate what another person does with their body. That you don’t need to feel guilt or shame or be apologetic for having had an abortion or even multiple abortions. It’s not a thing we all need to feel something about, some of us do and that’s cool. But if you don’t, there’s nothing wrong with you and that’s cool too.

You did it and it’s done.

Much love,