My abortion gave me the chance to practice self-love and begin recovery

by Alex H

August 5, 2022

Content Warning: mentions suicide

It had been only five months since I attempted suicide when I found out I was pregnant. My mental health had already been fragile to say the least, and learning of my pregnancy sent me into another crisis. I knew I wasn’t ready for a child, but I was fearful of having an abortion. My mental illness convinced me that being pregnant was my only reason to be alive, because at that time I didn’t even want to be alive for myself. I thought I had been given a purpose. Maybe it was the sign to keep going that I had been begging the universe to send me. I knew I wasn’t thinking clearly about the reality of the situation, and I felt lost.

I’m also a young lawyer who has spent much of my career researching and studying abortion law—I have written and presented about the many harmful legal barriers to abortion and the importance of protecting abortion rights. I considered myself a strong abortion advocate. But when I ultimately decided to have my abortion I was devastated, and I was angry at myself for grieving despite knowing I wasn’t ready to be a mother. ‘I’m financially unprepared, alone in this, and trying to heal myself,’ I thought, ‘so how could I possibly feel upset about making this decision? If I’ve spent my career working to uphold abortion access, why don’t I feel relieved that this is a choice I’m making?’

It’s been two months since my abortion, and each day I feel more assured I made the right decision. I can’t say it’s one I always feel good about, but that’s okay. I’ve been able to prioritize my mental health, and in doing so I’m learning how to accept that my emotions are valid, including and especially the ones surrounding my abortion. Being sad about having an abortion doesn’t make me a fraud or a bad advocate. In fact, I think it makes me an even better one. Choosing to end my pregnancy meant that I was choosing to live for and love myself—that is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and it’s something I’m proud of. My abortion experience didn’t fit a narrative I might have wanted or expected, but it’s my story and I hope it might connect with someone.

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