The Incredible Odds

by Anonymous

December 14, 2020

I was 18 years old sitting on my bed with a casual partner.  The condom broke and I was beyond scared.  I knew I didn’t want a child but I was also on birth control so I wasn’t too worried.  A few weeks later I felt different, not bad but I knew that something was wrong.  I took a test and to my pleasant surprise, it was negative.  A few days later when I started bleeding and cramping 3 weeks after my period was due.  I told everyone around me who was aware of the situation something was wrong. I was told that I was being irrational and dramatic.  A few days later I sat with my best friend in a doctor’s office when he told me that I was 6 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I was shocked; he continued to talk through my options while sitting in his chair like a ghost. I got into the car with my best friend, who told me, “You’re getting rid of it”. I was so shocked that in the time from getting out of the doctor’s office to the car, I hadn’t given a moment’s thought to what being pregnant meant or what the implications of abortion were. I went home later that day and face timed my casual partner to tell him. When I involved him, it started to feel real. I always thought that getting pregnant was never something that would happen to me. I grew up in an affluent neighborhood, I was educated on the risks of unprotected sex and pregnancy. I was using two forms of birth control at the time. Yet there I was 18 years old and pregnant. I had never felt more alone.

A few days later, I had a medication abortion, most of which I have no recollection of. I had the support of my partner and a few close friends. Even with all of the support, friends checking in, my partner sleeping over, I felt a new kind of empty. I felt stupid for getting myself into this situation in the first place, and I hated myself for not being able to suck it up and move on. Most of all, I felt selfish, that I had made a decision with a grave consequence, and I was acting with only my benefit in mind. Fast forward to three days after my abortion, my university was closing due to COVID-19, I had to go home. It was then in the middle of lockdown, unable to use my friends as support and terrified at every turn that my mom would somehow find out and kick me out of the house, I had a breakdown. Going to therapy and getting professional help saved my life and is a privilege that not many can afford. I realized that my body didn’t ask me permission to get pregnant, it is no one’s fault, and in most if not all cases, it isn’t something that can be controlled. We are human, and we do the best that we can with the resources that we have. In hindsight, I recognize that having an abortion was the best option for me, even if it felt like the only option at the time. I have big dreams for myself. I’m a pre-med student and always envisioned myself getting my MD before starting a family. With time, I can acknowledge and appreciate that everything I want from life would not be possible with an infant. Choosing to have an abortion when I did will allow me to be a proper stable mother in the future.

A few months later, the feelings of shame and guilt were still there, but it seemed to be a humming in the background rather than a constant storm in my face. I felt empowered to open up to some of my closest friends about my experience, one of whom being an ex-boyfriend with who I was close friends at the time. The casual partner I was with became my official boyfriend. While it wasn’t easy to maintain that relationship during COVID isolation, we somehow powered through. I hadn’t told my ex-boyfriend that I was seeing someone new, and when he found out, he made a group chat of 20 people I went to school with and told them all that I had an abortion and that I was a “heartless murderer”.

I had a Netflix party scheduled with my boyfriend that I had missed while I sat crying my eyes out in my bed, watching people open the message and respond. I called my best friend and got a text from my boyfriend asking if I was ok. I told him what had happened, and at that moment, just like before, it became so real. Before this had happened, I felt whole and healed. I knew that this decision would impact me from day to day in varying degrees, but I was happy. When this came out, every feeling of isolation, guilt, grief, a sadness came rushing back with this added feeling of intense hatred for his action and betrayal. I had to start from scratch and heal all over again, this time with what felt like 21 pairs of eyes watching my every move.

I am sitting in bed writing about this experience while recovering from my second medication abortion. In writing, I have been reminded that my experience is my own and that nothing more could have been done to prevent this from happening. In a funny way, I feel very similar to how I did the first time. I’m scared, in pain, and most of all, sad. The difference is that I now understand that there is no prescribed way to feel or act, and that’s ok. I go from laughing at funny episodes of Orange Is the New Black to crying myself to sleep at 4:00 am. I go from feeling guilty from making the decision I did to grateful that I don’t have to raise a child that I can’t care for. Sad that this is where I am at this point in my life, 19 years old and two abortions within a year to happy I get to make better decisions in the future. I am scared and in pain. I wish I wasn’t in the situation I am in now, but I have a feeling that this time it will be ok and honestly, I think that’s about as much as I can ask for.

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