Questions You Wanted to Ask But Wouldn’t

I found an article on UpWorthy that I found so necessary. It’s an older article, posted in October of 2016, but I still feel that is needs to be spread and read by everyone. There is still such a stigma surrounding abortion, especially with the crew in office right now.

I do want to give this author a big shout out because I believe you have to be incredibly strong to be so honest and open about such a taboo subject. Kudos to you, lady. ❤

Part of my wanting to start this blog was so I could be honest and informative, so this one is hard for me to write because very very few people know about this part of my life. But I don’t see the point of talking about tough subjects if I’m not going to be honest and put myself out there as well. 

I’m going to copy and paste the article and write my answers in bold. It has been almost 10 years since I was in this situation so my memory is not as clear as the author’s, who wrote this within a year of getting her abortion, but I will try and be as clear and honest as possible.

10 things you wanted to know about my abortion but were too afraid to ask.

I had an abortion this year, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

Abortions are common.

That’s just a fact. Although we don’t talk about it a lot publicly, 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in their lifetimes.

But even though terminating a pregnancy is a fairly ordinary health decision, there’s still a lot of misinformation out there about the procedure and women’s own experiences — mostly because of the immense stigma that surrounds abortion.

In many cases, women don’t feel comfortable talking about their abortions because they don’t want to be shamed or ridiculed.

I had an abortion this year, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

I wasn’t ready to have a kid, I didn’t want to be pregnant, and my partner fully supported my choice. Although sometimes people say terminating a pregnancy is “the hardest choice a woman can make,” it was a fairly easy decision for me.

Now that it’s over, though, I want to demystify the whole thing as much as I can. So here are 10 things you wanted to know about abortions but were too afraid to ask:

1. What was your abortion like?

I got my abortion on a Saturday morning at a clinic owned by an independent provider. When my boyfriend drove up to the clinic, there were protesters outside, but it was easy enough to ignore them. I was at the clinic for about five hours, but the procedure itself lasted only five minutes.

As soon as I got there, a nurse gave me pills to take — antibiotics, pills to soften my cervix, anti-nausea medication, a pain pill, and an oral sedation pill. I passed the next few hours reading, chatting with other patients, and nodding off in my chair (the sedation meds work, by the way).

When it was time for the actual procedure, I went into a normal-looking exam room. The nurse gave me IV sedation, which put me into a half-awake/half-asleep state.

Then the doctor inserted a thin tube into my uterus, which felt like a pinch, and turned on the aspiration machine to empty the contents of my uterus. I felt some pressure and pain. Then, before I knew it, it was over. I sat in a comfy recliner in the recovery room until my ride came.

I have had two abortions. Fuck, that’s hard for me to put out there, but I also know it’s necessary if I am going to be completely honest about the subject. One was very early on which meant I was able to get the medical abortion and one was later which meant I had to get the surgical abortion. Both times I had to drive roughly an hour away to get the medicine/get the procedure. There were no protestors but I had to push a button, be video taped, and show my ID before they would even let me into the building. 

The medical abortion was quite easy. I was 18, 1 month shy of being 19. My ex-boyfriend went with me to Salt Lake City to the class Utah requires you to take 48 hours before you have the abortion and he then came with me to the clinic and got my medication. I went back to his house and had a miscarriage with his mother’s support and love. It felt like an extremely painful and heavy period. 

The second one was later on and I had to get the surgical abortion. Unlike the woman who wrote the article, my surgical abortion was extremely painful. Like before, they made me take a class 48 hrs before and then I had to get an ultrasound and see my “baby.” Then the doctor put a little bit of numbing stuff in my vagina and turned on the aspiration machine. I was crying because I was in so much pain and I was so angry with myself for getting in the situation, to begin with. Like the original post, I was then put in the recovery room which was terrible. It was a small room with 8 or so recliners filled with sad women who were in pain and could not look each other in the eye. It was humiliating. I was not allowed to be with anyone in the recovery room other than the other women who had just gone through the procedure. I went home and had a heavy period and pain that Tylenol could handle. 

2. How much did it hurt?

It hurt a little bit during the actual procedure, but it was nothing major (and definitely nothing compared to childbirth!). I had cramps on and off for the next few days, but they were no worse than period cramps.

Like I explained before the medical abortion was not very painful but the surgical one was very painful. More painful than contractions when I had my two boys. 

3. How much did it cost?

Because I was only six weeks along, my abortion cost $550 — but that cost goes up for people who are farther along. I’m also lucky because I live a few miles away from my clinic, so my boyfriend just dropped me off. Lots of pregnant people have to travel hundreds of miles, find lodging, and miss work when they get an abortion.

For patients who can’t afford their procedure, abortion funds provide grants to help cover the cost.

Mine was $400 both times. However, this was back in 2008 and 2009. 

4. Why did you get a surgical abortion instead of taking the abortion pill?

Some people decide to take the abortion pill because then they can go home and miscarry in private. But I wanted to walk into the clinic pregnant and leave with all of it behind me. It’s just a matter of preference.

I simply got what the nurse recommended the first time around and the second time around I did not have a choice because of how far along I was. 

5. Did you feel ashamed afterward?

I wondered if I would, but I didn’t. I’ve been pro-choice for as long as I’ve known about abortion, and I felt comfortable with my decision. A lot of women do have complex feelings about their abortions, and that’s OK too. But no one should have to feel ashamed for making a decision that is right for them. I hope that the more we talk about this, the less shame we’ll all feel.

With the first one, I was not ashamed at all. However, no one knew about it except my ex and his mom. It made it a lot easier to deal with. The second one was harder to feel okay with because I was farther along and did not have the support I had the first time around. However, after a few days I realized that I made the best decision for me and I have absolutely no regrets about either abortion. 

6. What was recovery like?

Honestly, it was a little annoying. For the week after the procedure, I bled as though I was on my period. And even though the cramps were mild, they weren’t fun. Also, you can’t put anything in your vagina or have sex for two to four weeks.

But it was also way better than healing from pregnancy and childbirth.

It was very easy. Like the original article says, it’s cramps and heavy bleeding. The recovery is much better than having a child which really fucks with your vagina, tailbone, and stomach afterward.

7. What surprised you the most about your experience?

The waiting room was a really friendly environment. Many of the other patients shared their stories of how they got there. Most were mothers already, and some had gotten an abortion before. It was comforting to be in a safe, open place with the other patients.

Nothing really surprised me. I did a lot of research before I made any appointments plus in Utah it’s required by law you attend a class 48 hours before your procedure so I really got double the education about what I was about to go through. 

8. Did you tell your friends and family?

Yes to friends, no to family. I’m lucky because everyone who I told about my pregnancy and abortion was supportive.

I told very few people with each abortion. I was worried about being judged, but as I’ve gotten older I have learned the love my family has for me. I know they would not have judged me and would have only supported me in my decision, but honestly, who knows that at 18? As I’ve gotten older and become more vocal about issues I feel are important I’ve become more comfortable and confident telling people my story. 

9. Did you become depressed/become an alcoholic/get breast cancer? Are you infertile now?

No, no, no, and I’m pretty sure no. The idea that abortion causes mental health issues, breast cancer, or any physical side effect that isn’t also a side effect of childbirth is patently false.

No, no, no, and no. I already had issues with depression and that continues on and off. I do not consider myself an alcoholic and never have. I do not have breast cancer. And I have two beautiful boys that I am fully capable of taking care of today. Cash is 4 and Tate is 20 months. 

10. What was the worst part of the whole thing?

The worst part of my abortion wasn’t the abortion; it was being pregnant. I didn’t realize how much an unexpected pregnancy would affect my day-to-day life: I was exhausted, my breasts were sore, and my emotions were out of control. I imagine it might be a different experience for people who actually want to be pregnant, but it was a nightmare for me.

Honestly the fact that I felt I could not be honest was the worst part of the whole thing. I hated not being able to talk to friends or family about what I was going through and it’s only been recent that I’ve been more open about my experiences. 

I’ve been an advocate for abortion access all of my adult life.

But after going through the experience of terminating a pregnancy myself, I feel an even stronger enthusiasm for this fight. Now it makes me even angrier to see politicians vilify women for the decisions they make about their own bodies. Because these are our unique bodies, and solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all.

How can we keep fighting for this? I believe the first step is for us to keep talking about abortion publicly because there is power in sharing our experiences with the world.

 

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