Walk a lifetime in those shoes

by Trista

February 26, 2021

I have always been pro-choice. I feel that you can not judge someone for wanting or getting an abortion when you could never understand what they are going through or have gone through to bring them to that point. But, after having my daughter I said to myself that “I” would never get an abortion.

I was 21, pregnant, homeless and in an abusive relationship. Saying “abusive relationship,” feels trivial. He stole part of my life, completely destroyed it. He is very much a psychopath, currently in prison and “our” 11 year old daughter does not know him at all. Abuse leaves behind trauma and that affects you forever. I sometimes imagine what my life could have been if he was just a good man. If we both went to college and worked our asses off. If we bought a house and had another baby. We would have a veggie garden and chickens, go on ski vacations and our kids would be whole and happy. But, instead I got this damaged shell of a person who made me believe that I did not ever deserve to be happy. So, being impregnated by a psychopath and homeless, abortion never even crossed my mind. I thought because of all that, I would never have a reason to get an abortion. My life could not ever possibly be in a worse state. When my daughter was five months old, I left him for good and he has slowly faded out of our lives.

When my daughter turned six years old I figured she would be my only one. I had no intense desire for any more, plus, I was single. It could have been years before I found a good man. But, then a good one found me. He wanted a baby and he truly deserved to become a father. I wanted to experience what it was like to have a baby with a loving supportive partner, so we stopped trying to not get pregnant. I had my son at age 31. My husband is still a good man and he is madly in love with our son. I finally got to experience how pregnancy, birth, and a new baby should be with your partner by your side.

After having my son we both decided that he would be our only one together. We are not rich, not even “middle class.” We got a late start in our life together. Most people our age have a house and a savings account by now. We lost all of our savings and live in a single wide trailer that is rotting away. We have come to the conclusion that both of us have made constant bad decisions our whole lives. That and an unforeseen pandemic leading us up to our present day.

My husband lost his career thanks to lockdowns due to Covid. It took him 11 years of breaking his back, starting at the bottom of the company and climbing the proverbial ladder to be offered a life changing promotion. It was just within his grasp. Then, in April of 2020 all of his hard work was just ripped away. 70% of the company was laid off instantly. Today, almost a year later they have not recovered and have no future projects. A company that has been around for 85 years. When I say, “he broke his back,” for this company I am not exaggerating. He has degenerative disc disease and advanced arthritis in his spine. He can no longer grip power tools for extended periods of time, his hands go completely numb. Hard labor is the only work he has found since the lay off. We blew through our savings when unemployment checks took months to obtain. He went into a deep depression and just about gave up. Our marriage was dissolving and I started to experience that familiar pain that I did not deserve. Then I got pregnant, again.

It is impossible to effectively represent what I went through mentally with words. To say I was terrified is an understatement. I will say that my life was indeed in a worse state than it was when I thought my life could never possibly be in a worse state. Back then, I was just young and optimistic. I had my whole life in front of me and was not afraid of the future. Now, I am in the future and it is fucking scary. It is all falling apart and I don’t know if we will be able to fix it. For a moment, we wanted a baby. We imagined our son having a little brother and being his little twin. My daughter even wanted us to have another. We went through lists of Norse mythology names. We told a few close family and friends. However, the entire time my mind would not accept the fact that I was pregnant. I did not want to put my body and mind through pregnancy and birth again. I did not want to take the attention off of my toddler who is still nursing. I need to go back to work as soon as possible to help claw our way out of this hole and can not do that if we have another baby. I cried every day for six weeks. I wanted to die. I prayed for a miscarriage. So, at 11 weeks I had a surgical abortion.

One of the worst things you can do for your mental health is compare your life to those around you. I have a habit of doing just that. The days leading up to my abortion were so difficult because I looked at my friends who have the lives that I wish for. Getting pregnant at the time I did brought forth trauma from my past. My dreams felt even more out of reach. Since my abortion our marriage has recovered. We went through something very intense together and it brought us closer. I do not regret having an abortion, I regret getting pregnant. Now, as a result I am very passionate about everything surrounding pro-choice. I do believe society needs to dramatically change views on pregnancy, birth, and raising a family. That will ultimately result in less abortions and not to mention fix a million other problems BUT abortion should always and forever remain a choice. No one should ever be shamed, harassed or imprisoned. You must walk a lifetime in those exact shoes before you claim to know what is best for someone else.


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