Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life After the Abortion

I’m still amazed at how I went from this all-American family girl to a near empty existence. I so badly wanted to turn back time - back to when the safest place in the world was in my daddy‘s arms. Back to when I would dress up in my mom’s clothes and shoes, dreaming of the day I would be a mother just like her. But time wasn’t turning back and I continued to pull away from the only people who might have been able to help. My parents knew what I had done and I knew they wanted to help but the bridge between us just seemed insurmountable.

I went to see a counselor at Planned Parenthood a month or so after the abortion because I was so depressed and she told me it was normal to be experiencing sadness due to hormonal changes. Sadness? This was more like an atomic bomb had been detonated and I was waiting for the radiation to kill me off. But what else was I to believe? She was supposed to know what she was talking about, right? I figured I must be making too much of it so I packed up and headed off to college hoping to forget about this nightmare.

I had never planned on going far away for college mostly because of the complicated relationship with my boyfriend so I had been going to a local community college, making average grades, up until the pregnancy. After the abortion, however, I knew I needed to get away and was hoping for a fresh start. Yeah, not so became a blur of late night partying. Most nights you could find me either at a local frat house completely drunk or rolling on ecstasy at a club. I slept the days away, very rarely attending any classes. And somewhere in the mix of it all I found myself becoming less concerned with hiding my abortion.  I really became almost proud of telling the story, if only to be able to say, “screw anyone who wants to judge me!”

I was a complete mess losing myself in alcohol or drugs so the pain and anger would diminish, even if only a little. Christmas break came and I decided there was no point in going back to school. My parents were really concerned and had me visit a psychiatrist. I was diagnosed with bi-polar and put on medication. The anti-depressants definitely helped take away some of my anger but life still seemed pointless. I began looking for some source of happiness, anything that would help me feel alive again. That led me back to my old boyfriend. And then it happened, in May of 2002 I found myself once again face to face with a positive pregnancy test.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Telling My Boyfriend

At first it was easy blaming my boyfriend for the decision to have an abortion. I just continued to remind myself that it was because of his temper that I finally ended up at Planned Parenthood. But soon the truth crept up on me - how could I blame someone who didn’t even know what really happened? So one night while in the car I told him about the abortion. The silence was almost deafening as he pulled the car over and jumped out. For a moment I was scared of what might come next until I saw him fall to his knees in front of the car, put his head down and cry. I had never seen him so vulnerable, so heartbroken. The pain I kept trying to forget came flooding in like a massive wave and I cried. I cried for my boyfriend and the baby that was stolen from him. I cried for myself and the emptiness I would carry around forever. And finally I cried for the baby who never had a chance.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My First Abortion

Understanding this would probably be the hardest thing I had ever written I started with the intention to share as much as possible while knowing I would want to hold back some of my thoughts and feelings from my first abortion. However, I realized that I started this blog to share my inner most thoughts and reflections on my experiences to help others gain some insight they may need before making a lifelong decision. So with that, here’s my first experience with abortion.

At 18 I had been in an on-again off-again relationship with the same guy for about 2 years. After yet another emotional and physical argument I was left drained, hurting, and single. So when I suddenly found myself staring down at a positive pregnancy test in November of 2000 all I recall is the sudden rush of adrenaline and nausea. The room began spinning as my world seemed to crash in around me. How could I tell my parents? Should I even tell my ex-boyfriend? How would he react? But then again how could I raise a baby on my own? And what about MY life?

That week I called up my boyfriend and told him the news. We agreed to try and make it work for “the good of the baby.” It wasn't but a couple of days and the violence began again. It was in that moment that I made a decision that would change my life forever. I knew I may never find the power to leave him for good but there was no way I was going to bring a baby into that situation. I called Planned Parenthood.

The week just before Christmas I found myself walking in with a friend to have my surgical abortion. Inside I sat down and tried to think about anything other than where I was and what was happening, but it was all consuming. I thought about my boyfriend and how he would react if I ever told him the truth of what I was doing. I thought about the nights I sat in bed crying and talking to the baby inside me. I thought about my family and what they would think of me when they found out what I had done. And finally, after what seemed like a lifetime and a millisecond all wrapped in one, my name was called and I was led back.

When the doctor came in she told me she needed to do an ultrasound but would keep the screen turned away so I didn‘t have to see. At that moment all I could think about was my baby. I thought about the tiny toes and fingers that I would never count. I thought his chubby cheeks that I would never kiss or her beautiful blonde locks that I would never brush. My thoughts were interrupted as the nurse began moving me into place for the surgery. At that moment all I could think of was jumping up and running through the door and leaving this nightmare behind. The nurse was talking to me but I wasn’t listening, I was telling my legs to move, to get us out of there as quickly as possible. But then I felt a hand from the nurse and she asked if I was ready. I nodded instinctively and lay my head back as I began to cry. As the doctor began suctioning I lurched in pain. I continued to cry throughout the procedure as the nurse kept trying to reassure me it was almost over and I needed to lay as still as possible. But the pain was horrible. The physical pain was worse than any menstrual cramps I had ever experienced but the emotional pain was even worse.

When it was finally over I was moved to the large recovery room with a number of other women and finally released. The next couple of days went by in a daze but the pain continued to be intolerable. Christmas day came and I put on a happy face in front of family until I nearly collapsed and had to be rushed to the ER. After being treated for abortion complications I was released and told the pain should begin to subside. I held on to the hope that I would soon be free from this nightmare and able to move on.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Exposing My Hidden Secrets

We all have them - the hidden secrets we would prefer not to shout from the rooftops. And for many years I have chosen to hide these secrets from most, confiding in only a small few the truth (or sometimes half truth) of my past 2 abortions. Over time I have considered sharing my knowledge of abortion but always come back to the same thought, why?…I don’t profess to be a master theologian, psychiatrist, or medical doctor, so why would anyone want to hear from me? But the truth is I have a personal understanding into the realities of abortions that no doctor who has simply studied the physical or emotional aspects of such a decision could understand. So through this journey I simply want to speak from my heart how the choice of abortion has effected my life, both then and now, so that someone who is considering abortion or maybe someone who is coping with the aftermath can gain some understanding through someone who has been there and done that.