It’s allowed to be complicated

by Anonymous

May 4, 2020

I’d had scares before, way worse than this. I knew what it was like to pore over the instruction page and still worry that I was holding it the wrong way while I peed. I knew the agony of sitting for that eternal 3 minutes. This time, I didn’t feel any of that. I knew my period was a little bit late, but it had always been irregular. I wasn’t actually worried this time.

When I read the word ‘positive,’ the whole world went in supersonic speed. I thought about my family and what they would say. I thought about him and how I wished he was there holding me. I thought about my body and what this process would feel like. I thought about my insurance plan and if I could afford it. I never once thought about keeping it. That decision had already been settled.

The next day, I set the appointment for a week later. I did the pre-screening over the phone, where I found out my insurance would cover one hundred percent of the procedure, thankfully. I chose the medical abortion over the surgical, even though he urged me not to, that it would be much more physically taxing. Surgical felt more invasive… medical felt natural. I regretted this in the long run.

I had always been radically pro-choice, but I never wanted to be faced with this choice myself. My body felt alien. I spent a week trying to reconcile the body I had lived and grown with for the past 26 years with the bundle of cells growing inside of it. I thought about what I could have done differently. I thought about what could be in 9 months. But none of it mattered. This is where I was and this was the decision I made.

I couldn’t sleep the night before my appointment. I spent the night at his house. He would drive me in the morning, and I would spend the remainder of my recovery time there. He stayed up with me all night. I was scared. I was stressed. He was great. He held me. We watched The Wire. We talked about ridiculous conspiracy theories. He was supportive. We fell asleep 2 hours before my appointment and woke up late. We argued on the car ride; we were both under a lot of stress. We couldn’t find parking when we got there. He dropped me off out front and promised he would be right in once he found a spot. He never came back.

I was alone.

I did it alone.

I’ll never forget the feeling of walking out of that clinic by myself. I’ll never forget hearing the yells, the screams, the accusations hurled at me from across the parking lot. While I waited for my Uber out front, an old man approached me. He was a volunteer, there to help women like me get safely through the protestors back to their cars.

“I’m so impressed with your strength today,” he said. He stood with me while I cried. He stood with me while other women screamed obscenities at me. I wish he could know what that meant to me. I wish I could thank him now for being there when the one person I counted on had let me down.

The next day was awful. The cramps were catatonic and the diarrhea was never ending. I spend the day in bed with worst fever I’d had in years. I wanted to die.

And then it was over.

That was 9 months ago, and I still think about it on an almost daily basis. I think sometimes about what that bundle of cells would have looked like, what I would have named them. I think about what might have happened with him if I never got pregnant, what our relationship might be like now. More recently, I think a lot about what it would be like to have a newborn in the midst of a global pandemic.

It’s a strange feeling to know that you made the right decision for yourself and to grieve everything that decision means at the same time. I feel relief and I feel loss. Politically, I don’t recognize embryos as people, yet I still want to find a way to commemorate the life that was inside of me. It’s complicated. I’m accepting that it’s allowed to be complicated.

I want to be a mother one day. I can’t wait to be a mother one day. This was not my day.

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