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My mental health is why I had an abortion

by Patricia

June 12, 2019

Content Warning: suicidal thoughts, depression

I’ll start this by saying how seemingly “normal” I am. I’m your average neighborhood Chicana. Mother, wife, niece, sister you name it that’s me. But I feel like I need to tell my story not just for my own much needed healing. I’m telling this to inform and bring attention to one of the many reasons women decide to terminate a pregnancy.

As I said above I’m the mother of 3 beautiful girls who I absolutely adore. A wife of 12 years and I’ve also had an abortion. Abortion is always associated with unwanted pregnancy which if a woman decides she is not ready she has that right. Mental illness was my reason. Mental illness hit me so hard and unexpectedly I didn’t know what happened. One august night last year my mind broke, not only my mind but my heart and soul. Intrusive thoughts, fear, panic, depression, suicidal thoughts an endless cycle. I didn’t sleep, I stopped eating and lost 17 pounds in a month. My morning consisted of crying in despair with my body aching like I had just ran a marathon. 3 weeks after that first night I found out I was pregnant. all I could think of was how was I to care for a child and create one in the state I was in. I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it to Christmas let alone a whole pregnancy. Off to the ob/gyn where I was given a list of behavior health clinics and a prescription for antidepressants. The risk of side effect to my developing fetus was the final reason for my decision. In tears, I spoke with my parents and husband. I began looking for clinics near me.  I visited 2 and decided with the second because they have assistance for low income families.

In Az its required to wait 24 hours after the paper work and a meeting with the doctor to get an abortion in case there is a change of mind. The next day my husband and I were the last to arrive at the clinic. all the women from the day before were waiting in comfy clothes like me. I paid 470 dollars and was giving valium, pain meds and something to soften you cervix. Nervous I downed all the pills in one gulp. I changed into a gown, given a blanket and was taken into a room with the other women. It was beautiful, us women talking about our reasons not passing judgment but full understanding. Different ages and walks of life comforting each other until I was the last one in the room. As I lay on the table legs in stirrups. One of the nurses held my hand as I watch the nurse start my iv and inject the sedating medication. Last thing I remember was the doctor walking toward me and my eyes rolled back. Since I was the last one I was the last one to wake up. Everyone was long gone. I was given an ice cream and talked it up with one of the nurses as I waited for my husband to pick me up. I still wonder how those women are. Recovery was easy little to no bleeding and cramps. I felt like now I can focus on getting better. I started taking antidepressants and tried to eat and sleep more. Wishing thing would get better but they didn’t.

Soon I was admitted to a psych ward for the longest 2 weeks of my life. It was no doubt for the better. Soon I was starting to feel a little like myself again. I was given anti psychotic meds and one to control my fast heart rate and anxiety. As days go by I think of what would have been and how beautiful and loved my baby would be. I also can not imagine what would have happened if I was not allowed to have an abortion. I wouldn’t have the means to travel to another state. Would I have ended my life and left my 3 daughters without a mother? Would my baby suffer side effect from the psych meds? What I am sure of is how grateful I am to have not only access but the legal right to obtain an abortion. A clean safe clinic with a knowledgeable trained doctor. I only hope in the future my daughters, granddaughters and nieces have that same right.

 

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