Reflecting on my abortion, 4 months later.

by M

April 6, 2020

I was 31 when I got pregnant. I was going to school, taking 21 credits, halfway through my last semester. I must have conceived during my first ovulation since dating someone new. I knew immediately I didn’t want to be pregnant. I’m usually indecisive and was surprised by the clarity. Up until that point I was pretty sure I didn’t want kids, but then I felt like I knew it for sure- this was not for me.

I was naïve about the difficulty of getting an abortion in my conservative state. I did get the support of an awesome local abortion support collective who helped with logistics. I had lots of fatigue and nausea until my appointment, which was scheduled a month out. I had planned on a medical abortion, but at the last minute decided on surgical and I’m so glad I did. I had heard stories of painful medical abortions, and at 9 weeks felt uneasy at the prospect of seeing what came out of me (“a grape with webbed fingers and toes” the doctor had said). I was given drugs to help me relax, but they put me almost completely out, and I felt no pain. After I went home, I slept for several hours. When I woke up, I felt amazing, like I had my body back. I went to a dinner with friends that night and ate so much without feeling nauseous.

At some point in the next few weeks I noticed feeling kind of triggered by hearing of friends’ pregnancies, some of which will be due around the time I was. I blocked them on social media. Other times I’ve been in situations where people are talking about how hard the first trimester can be and I feel frustrated that I can’t join in without making it awkward. I started wondering how soon I could get pregnant.

My boyfriend and I have broken up recently, just 3 months after the abortion. Some part of me is of course relieved we aren’t expecting a child, another wonders what trajectory our relationship would have taken, and thinks maybe things would be for the better if there were a baby on the way.

I keep thinking about where I would be in my pregnancy, how big I would be. I keep stopping myself from calculating out an actual “due date.” I hope in two years I’m not still thinking “oh, the baby would be 2 now.” Or in 20 years. I’m worried I will be. I wonder if it will get better if I have a child. Sometimes I think my desire to get pregnant is just to soothe the pain of the loss. It’s not pain, though, I just don’t have the right word. The discord, perhaps. I wonder where this feeling is coming from. Is it affected by social narratives or biological imperatives?

Years ago, my aunt told me she had an abortion as a teenager that she regrets, that she still thinks about that potential life. She’s born-again Christian and anti-abortion and I think I probably secretly rolled my eyes when she told me. It seemed like she must have been brainwashed to regret a choice that was clearly the best option at the time. I don’t feel that way anymore. I was always pro-choice and now I’m pro-abortion and I feel empowered and I feel sad and I have regret.

When I was pregnant my boyfriend would only say that he supported my decision, whatever it was. I begged him to tell me more how he felt. At one point I asked him if he felt like it was a loss, and he said it would be a loss either way. Which is true. I do have some regret, but it’s ok. I can live with that. At least I don’t have regret about having a child. That’s not the kind of parent I want to be.

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