by Jaime

July 26, 2018

My abortion story feels rather stereotypical and boring.  Even though I grew up Catholic, I had no guilt, shame, fear or stigma attached to my choice.  Eighteen years later, I’m still grateful, and proud to work in support of reproductive rights every day.

I had recently finished college, had a Women’s Studies minor, knew all about birth control, but still felt invincible.  I was in my early 20s, having fun in a casual relationship with an older dude who had dreadlocks down to his arse and a clown tattoo on his neck.  He already had two kids by two other women, and no connection or communication with either child.

After a fun summer of live music, dancing, and gin and tonics, I was ready to leave.  I had a plane ticket to Southeast Asia, and a lifetime of adventure ahead of me.  After a few weeks of wondering why my breasts were so sore, I finally took a test in my father’s home on Christmas Eve.  Even though I knew my dad was pro-choice, I didn’t want to tell him.  It was my mistake, and I could take care of it on my own.  I consulted the book, Our Bodies, Ourselves, and realized that I wasn’t alone.  In hushed, late-night conversations, I called the few friends I knew had been through an abortion of their own, or with a loved one, and found even more support.  I made the appointment for three days before my plane left for Taipei.  On the day I was leaving my dad’s house, he handed me a Bon Voyage card.  Inside was exactly the same dollar amount that I needed for my procedure.  His note said, “Use this to buy stamps and send me postcards from your trip.”  That gesture of generosity and love still brings me to tears.  I don’t know if he knew, and we never talked about it together before he died.

The dude came with me to my appointment, and pouted the whole time in the waiting room.  The nurse who performed my ultrasound said I was too early in my pregnancy to have an abortion that day, to come back in two weeks – the sac of cells was too small.  I explained that I was leaving the country in three days, and willing to take whatever risks needed to get it done that day.  After the procedure, which was quick and easy, I remember wanting to chat up every other woman in the recovery room.  “Relief” doesn’t describe the feeling.  I was so elated, I felt effervescent.  I almost burst out laughing.  Later that night, the dude hid in the basement, weeping and listening to Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” on repeat.  I had never felt so free.

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