I have been working at Planned Parenthood for a long time, so when I found myself shakily opening a pregnancy test, I was surprised by the fear and shock I felt at the possibility that I might be pregnant. Somehow, I assumed that this feeling, which most women experience at least once in their lives, was not something I would ever have to encounter.
I have always been a highly responsible, detail-oriented person. I have a good job, a supportive family, and a loving partner of many years. I am financially stable. I repeated these things to myself as I took my pregnancy test, reminding myself that so many women face a far different and tougher reality.
The speed at which the second pink line on my pregnancy test formed was comical. It appeared immediately, as bright and clear as can be, as if the test was screaming at me – “You are VERY pregnant!” I called my partner upstairs as my heart started pumping, and he did exactly what all partners should do in this situation. He hugged me and explained that no matter what, we were going to be okay, and he would be happy with any decision I made.
As all adult women do, I had thought about the possibility of this moment. Before the strip turned pink, I honestly did not know what I would want. I hope to have kids one day, and I love my partner. But instantly, as soon as the reality became clear, I knew that I wasn’t ready.
I was taken aback by the speed and strength with which my conclusion came – I was not going to have a baby right then. I did not feel that I could give a child the care, compassion, and unconditional support that I hope to give one someday. I was simply too young.
Furthermore, I have a tendency to take care of everyone else before I take care of myself. Responsibility comes before fun, caution before adventure, hard work before relaxing… That is the life I have always lived. This time, I chose myself. I chose my life. I have so many things that I want to do – I may want to go back to school. I certainly want to spend more private time with my partner in this great part of our lives. I want to travel. I want to have a fruitful career.
Surprisingly for me, the hardest part of having an abortion was not all of the appointments, or the painful cramps, or even the emotional turmoil of the decision. The hardest part of having an abortion, for me, was walking past the protesters outside of the clinic.
I work at Planned Parenthood, and I know these protesters well. They have always gotten under my skin in a real way because I observe how they intimidate people through hateful and judgmental scare tactics. They hold gruesome signs, say awful things to women walking past, and sometimes they even try to intimidate through force and violence, and they do all of this in the name of God.
I think they are despicable. They hurt people out of ignorance and a desire to feel that they are actually doing something good in the world. All they do is hurt, and I am sure they feel really good about themselves while doing the hurting. Rather than adopting one of the millions of children without homes in today’s world, they instead infringe upon peoples’ most basic privacy to their own healthcare decisions in order to prevent something they don’t even understand.
When I walked through them on the day of my abortion appointment, I had one tell me that I couldn’t “kill my baby.” Another told me that “those people in there are evil, and they will lie to you” (keep in mind “those people” are my friends). The final lady looked me in the eye and said, “Think about someone other than yourself for once in your life,” as though she were my trusted grandmother.
I lost it. I screamed. I have never screamed at a stranger before, but honestly, if they feel free to yell their opinions at me, I will yell mine right back. Of course, my screaming probably only hardens them in their quest to “save babies.” It does not matter that they are not saving anything; they simply hurt and destroy. It doesn’t matter that their convictions are based in blind faith, not science, because they will keep on yelling.
My actual appointment was wonderful. Everyone at the clinic was beyond kind and understanding. When I explained that my heartrate was so fast because of the protesters, an amazing nurse took my hand and said they can never take away my power. I hugged her.
My experience having the actual abortion was amazing. I had a medication abortion, so I was able to miscarry in the privacy of my own home. I felt safe. My partner was there, and I got to choose when I was ready for the cramping to begin.
I had pain medication prescribed to me, so the actual cramping was not bad at all. When I started bleeding, I felt an incredible sensation of relief. All of the nausea and headaches from my pregnancy disappeared in an instant. I was myself again. I slept through most of my bleeding, and by the time I woke up, I could finally take the deep breath I had been holding in for weeks.
My abortion was a beautiful physical, emotional, and spiritual experience. The world throws so much hate my way, judging my decision, but I know in my deepest heart of hearts that what I did was right and natural. My abortion has made me a better, happier person, and I know that when I decide to have a family someday, the experience will be even more joyous because of my abortion.
If you are out there and struggling with an abortion you had, or you are scared about one day having one, please know that you are not alone. There is a huge community of women who have undergone the same procedure, and having an abortion is an upstanding moral decision. Do not let the world tear you down because they do not know you, and they certainly do not know anything about the realities of having an abortion.
The views in this story reveal the story-tellers experience and do not necessarily reflect the mission of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan.