We’re Stronger Nonetheless

by Lina

March 25, 2022

I used to be one of those people who thought that if you got pregnant because “you weren’t careful” then you had to take responsibility and not go and take the “easy way out” for your mistakes…until it happened to me. I was 22, living in another country, and it was my last year of college. I just had a semester to go and I had worked so hard to be where I was; I had so many plans and things I wanted to do. The relationship I had at the time was very toxic; he was 27, and we had been on and off for many years and if I look at it now, he was a leech. He used me because I could provide what he needed, which at that time was a place to live free of charge and the possibility of not having to go back to our own country. He was very manipulative and controlling, but I was too young and in love to see it.

We slept together unprotected once, we got carried away because we hadn’t seen each other in a while, and that one time was more than enough. I knew even before I took a test and once I saw those two red lines I saw my life and everything I had worked on crumble to my feet. I was numb, I didn’t know what to do or how to tell him. I was scared and felt so alone. I have always wanted to be a mom, more than anything, and yet here it was and I wanted it so bad but not like that, not in that situation, not when I didn’t even have enough money to feed myself or was with someone that wouldn’t even help me provide. I wanted to give my baby the world but I didn’t have anything to give.

I called him and basically, he accused me of doing it on purpose. How could I? It takes two to tango and I couldn’t do it on my own, and for what? To trick him? Force him to be with me? After his reaction, he pressured me to get an abortion and I knew I had to. My parents would kill me, they had worked so hard to have me abroad and in that university and it would be a slap in their faces. I reached out to Planned Parenthood, they told me I had to wait a week before my appointment. I called him and told him what they said. He got furious, he basically yelled at me over the phone and told me that I was trying to delay it and postpone it so it would be too late to get the abortion. He said I had to find somewhere that would do it the next day or that same week. I was able to calm him down and convince him that I was going to go through with it.

During those days before my appointment I started feeling more in love with my baby, I had never felt that way before and I wanted to do everything in my power to protect it, but I knew I couldn’t, I just couldn’t. My soul and heart were breaking more and more as days passed. I was also very scared about the cost, I didn’t have any money whatsoever, how was I going to afford the procedure? The day of my appointment I went by myself, I saw a man protesting in the street with very graphic images, shouting that it was murder and I just wanted to slap him and tell him how he didn’t know my story, what I was going through, and I just kept thinking about my thoughts before being in this situation and how easy it is to judge before even knowing what someone is going through or their motives.

Inside, the staff was so sweet and caring, they treated me with such empathy and understanding that it made me feel like a person again like I wasn’t evil or cruel and that my feelings were ok. They guided me through everything, they told me there was a plan I could apply for where I wouldn’t have to pay for the procedure, it would be fully taken care of. I just couldn’t stop my tears from coming out throughout that whole visit, and afterward, we set up an appointment and they told me I could choose the type of procedure I wanted to have. I went for the pills, I just didn’t want to be in the clinic when it happened, I wanted to be home, I really needed to be home.

The day came, he was with me the whole time. It was the worst pain I had ever felt and I slipped in and out of consciousness. The painkillers weren’t doing anything for me and he looked genuinely concerned and scared for me. After everything, I fell into a severe depression.

I would cry so much every time I saw kids or something related to them, I couldn’t see babies anymore, I would wake up with nightmares and cry myself to sleep. I even thought about suicide. One day he said to me: “I can’t be with someone who is sad all the time” and that broke me even more. He said that the abortion hurt him too and I got enraged because he couldn’t know what hurt was, he didn’t go through it, I did.

I was able to find help through a helpline called Exhale, little by little I started feeling like a person again, like myself. I got a tattoo to remember what I lost but also to help me cope and forgive myself. He got the tattoo with me, which gave me mixed feelings, but in the end, I realized it’s not about him, it’s about me and my way to process it, and whatever he wants to do, that is no longer my concern. I finally let go of the grudge and hate I had against him. I’m better now, I don’t cry when I see kids anymore, although some days are still hard. My parents still don’t know, I’m not sure if I’ll ever tell them, but my siblings know, as well as a handful of friends.

I don’t regret my decision, not at all. I have done so much since then, my life has moved in many directions and I’m so happy about everything I’ve accomplished. I’m with a sweet and loving boyfriend who supports me no matter what, he knows what happened and loves me the same. I wouldn’t have been able to leave my abusive relationship and meet him if I hadn’t had the abortion. It’s been a rough path but I’ve done so much healing. I’ve educated myself even more and I’ve heard so many other people’s stories, and I feel that it has made me a better and more understanding person. We all have our demons, we all have our stories, and it’s not up to anyone to judge the decisions anyone takes, because we just see the tip of the iceberg and we most likely will never know everything they’re going through. It’s not an “easy way out,” nothing about this is easy at all, yet we all cope with it differently, and we’re stronger nonetheless.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!