Humbled and Empowered After 3 Appointments

by Amanda

February 18, 2020

Content Warning: mental illness

I had an abortion at age 36.  It was my first pregnancy.  I was 7 weeks along.

Four hours after the surgical procedure I called my girlfriend during a 4 mile run, “I’m running right now!”

She was in shock: “You’re RUNNING after an abortion!?”

I was.  The whole thing was only as painful as a pap smear and I experienced no cramps or discomfort after it was over.  Aside from a small amount of vomit on the ride home, I have nothing to complain about.

The pregnancy, however, was much, much worse…

I’ve never considered this world good enough to bring forth an innocent being.  There’s too much potential for suffering.  We have a global profit system which stifles true health and happiness.  That’s always been my opinion.

The father of the embryo felt much differently.

We’d only been together a little over 2 months but we’d spent every waking moment together.  It was a blur for me (due to a combination of bipolar and alcohol).  Thinking back on it now, our short-lived romance was akin to a multi-faceted acid trip.  Still, he made me feel cherished and cared for.

When I told him I was pregnant, he was overjoyed.  I was scared, shocked and miserable.

I went on my computer and booked the closest available appointment; I would have to wait 6 days.  Still in a haze, I arrive at Planned Parenthood only to be told I cannot receive a termination that day (you can’t book appointments online, you have to call).  They set my next appointment for Friday.  I would wait another 7 days.

This was enough time for the father to torture me.  This is where my flip-flopping began.

He begged me on his knees.  He cried.  He argued his case relentlessly and ruthlessly.  If I said I might keep it, he was sweet.  If I said I couldn’t do it, he was mean.  He told me: “You don’t realize how lucky you are – how many women would kill to be in your place.  We can do this.  You want this.”

It was a nightmare.  It felt like a no-win.  Either I betray my morals or I betray his dreams.  The indecision was torture.

After days of his pleading and days of my falling to either side of the decision, I knew an abortion is what I wanted.  It felt good and right.  He then picked up his game and called me a murderer, said I was killing his family and I would regret it for the rest of my life.  I demanded he drop me off at my mother’s house.

That’s the last time I saw him – on his knees with tears in his eyes.  The 2nd appointment was the next day.

That night I decided I couldn’t go through with the abortion – not with the memories and images of the night before.  But the thought of NOT getting the abortion filled me with fury!  I wanted to smash everything in sight.  My poor child would be forced to exist in a competitive, sick world.  My rage at this notion was extreme.

I still went to the appointment but I did not get the procedure.  They told me I was 6 weeks pregnant.  I looked at the ultrasound and felt relief.  The father had me thinking I would see a full grown baby in my uterus; it looked like a microscopic tic-tac.

Returning home, I took a run to my guyfriend’s house.  I told him I was still undecided and I didn’t know what to do.  I cried.  He just listened and held my hand.

A few hours passed with my peaceful friend.  Without the coercion of the father I was resolute and calm.  I called PP and set an appointment for the next Friday.

This was the longest week of my life.  I wanted the embryo out of me yesterday.  I made a solemn vow to stay sober for the rest of my life.  There had to be a reason for all this

The 3rd appointment was the final one and let me just say:  I am SO GRATEFUL to live in a region where I was given the opportunity to fully process the complexity of the situation.  My heart goes out to anyone denied this basic human right.

In a couple months I will be permanently sterilized.  I’ve spent way too much of my life worrying about my fertility and trying to be ‘safe.’  First it was the hormonal options which triggered mania and suicidal thoughts, next it was the IUD which caused excruciating agony for 5 years and finally I turned to meticulous charting which required a lot of discipline.

When I got pregnant I was not using any of these methods.  My cycle had become unpredictable for the first time in my life and my mental health was at an all-time low.  To be honest, I didn’t think I COULD get pregnant; I thought I was a hologram!  Talk about bipolar…

The spirit which shacked-up in my body for those 7 weeks taught me a huge lesson in a short time.  I learned to honor mothers instead of blaming them; childbirth is a profoundly hopeful act involving great sacrifice.  This was a huge wake-up call.  I used to think pregnancy must be great – you get to chill, and eat, and ask for things.  Not so simple.  Pregnancy was horrendous for me; I had cramps, my breasts were in extreme discomfort and I was constantly anxious.  There’s no way I could have pulled it off!

Today I am grateful for my pregnancy and grateful for my abortion.  I am sane and sober.  I am humbled and empowered.

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