It was June of 2018 when I discovered I was pregnant. I knew immediately that I wanted an abortion. I am an alcoholic and, at the time, I was drinking and using drugs daily. While I had dreamt of adopting and/or fostering children, I knew I was not in a place to carry a child or provide for one the way they would deserve. I could not even take care of myself. I knew what I needed to do.
Not only did I know what I needed to do, I knew I was going to do it no matter what. Luckily for me, I was able to attend a safe clinic. I did not need to perform the abortion at home myself, purchase a device or drugs illegally, or travel a long distance.
I will be forever grateful to the staff at my local clinic for their bravery in coming to work and their compassion and professionalism in how they cared for me. Words cannot express what a blessing those people were and continue to be. I was truly blessed. However, that is not to say going through with the procedure was emotionally easy.
I was a mess for a long time after my abortion. The guilt and shame I carried were tearing me apart. It was nothing short of a miracle that I was able to stop using drugs and alcohol shortly after my abortion and address these feelings.
Since then, I have been able to return to school and become a nurse. I have worked and continue to work through the pandemic. I volunteer with organizations in the community and have a plethora of support from the beautiful people that make up my community.
This all is not to say I think everyone who finds themselves in my position should have an abortion. I have seen the work doctors and nurses put in to save pregnancies and it is beautiful to say the least. When a child is wanted and loved, when the people who are pregnant want to complete the pregnancy, a new life is nothing short of amazing.
What I am advocating for is a choice. I know that I made the right choice for me at the time. It was a choice no one else could have made and I would never have the audacity to try and make that choice for someone else.
So today, and every day, I want to say thank you to abortion providers. Thank you for risking your lives and for dedicating your careers to a field that provides me and others in our community access to safe abortions.
Chelsea Miller (she, her)
Patient Advocate & Storyteller