"What would you do if you got pregnant?"
I'm going to tell you a story about my abortion. Why? Because the more I talk, the more I find out I'm not alone.
I mean, we have all kinds of sympathy for mothers who've miscarried. We have sympathy and SO MUCH SUPPORT for the mother who had a baby right before or after her cancer. But we love to shame women who've had abortions.
I found out I was pregnant in January of 2016. It was a weird chain of events that left me feeling, well, violated.
I'd been on and off with the same man for almost five years by that point. We were on a road trip to the city when he looked at me and said: "What would you do if you got pregnant?"
I laughed. Because he couldn't be serious? I had explained to him, several times, that my first pregnancy almost killed both me and my daughter, I won't chance it again. I owe it to my daughter to not do stupid things. Like drink and drive, or, say, try to have another baby.
"What if our contraceptives failed?"
Contraceptives. Plural. We knew my oral birth control wasn't 100% effective, as I have ulcerative colitis, and can't always absorb my medications properly. So, we always doubled up with either spermicide foam, or a condom.
"I would get an abortion." I said, without even a hesitation.
I'll never forget the shock on his face. Then we went through a series of "You won't even try?" and "Each pregnancy is different." and "You don't KNOW for sure what will happen." and I'm sure a couple of other arguments.
"No. I'll get an abortion. And I won't tell you."
Fast forward to a month later.
I'm going to the toilet and I'm feeling that feeling. That feeling that landed me in the hospital for my second and third trimesters. I even remember thinking "Wow, this is just like when I was pregnant with G..."
Then that conversation we'd had in the car came back to me.
I went to the dollar store for a pregnancy test. Dollar store test was accurate my first pregnancy. It was accurate again.
I was pregnant.
Have You Heard Of Stealthing?
Now I'm going to take some time to discuss "stealthing."
When a man "stealths" a woman in the bedroom, it means he's removing his condom without her consent.
Pretty f*cked up, amiright?
While I don't have any hard proof, I would say that sperm making it through the condom and my birth control within a month of being told I should just try to have a baby is pretty coincidental.
And not everyone believes in coincidences.
I should also throw the curve ball in here. A commonly used medication for people with auto immune diseases is Methotrexate. Also known as "The Morning After Pill." I was also taking this medication. While not in a dose high enough for an abortion, it would have been high enough to produce a fetus with it's organs on the outside of his or her body.
Pretty coincidental? I think so.
I Carried Through With It
I kept my word. I scheduled my abortion. I never did tell him.
I think my story is important for so many reasons.
Had my boyfriend at the time had some right, or some kind of say in whether or not I kept the baby, how do you think that would have panned out?
If he did indeed stealth me because he wanted me to "try" to have another baby, I can't see him agreeing to the abortion. A woman's right to decide what happens to her body should be her decision only. It wasn't long before this boyfriend decided that my ulcerative colitis was too hard for him. He's been unemployed for over two years, and his home is a series of trails from one room to the next. It's highly unlikely that he would be raising our bambino, or even paying child support. Then, we would be another "drain on the tax system," as I can't work and we already live in poverty.
What if I hadn't had access to abortion? Maybe because it costs too much, or maybe because it's illegal. Well, I know what my body can survive. An unsafe abortion wouldn't have been ruled out.
I Don't Need Your Shame
I carry my grief with me every day. From sun up, until sun down. I wanted four kids, I had to stop at one. Maybe some day I'll fall in love with someone and we'll be in a position to adopt.
But right now, I have a hole in my heart. It was a small hole at first, knowing I would have an only child. It grew when I terminated my second. It's a grief I'll never move past, and it floods my soul when people ask me "When will you have another child?" or "Aw, G needs a little sister!"
I understand what I did. It took years to heal. What I need from other people is to quit shaming other women going through this. Our reasons are ours alone, and they're not your, the government's, or the church's to judge.
If God has decided I'm a murderer to be condemned to Hell, then so be it. I would do anything for the daughter I've already given birth to.