Abortion is a very controversial topic that has taken over North American media the last few weeks with the passing of a new bill that effectively bans abortions for pregnancies over six weeks gestation in the state of Alabama.
Abortion is not an easy decision for most women to make. No woman enters the position of having an unwanted pregnancy willingly. Most women struggle with the decision, basing their personal values, current financial position, family factors, mental health and so much more into the decision making process.
For one woman I interviewed, she struggled for weeks about her decision to have an abortion, and explored all her options before she concluded that having an abortion was the best fit for her current situation. Here is what she had to say.
I hadn’t had my period in five weeks. I was having random little outbursts and my emotions were all over the place. I thought it was weird when I started crying while watch Bring It On, so I decided to take a test. That’s when I discovered that I was pregnant.
I was anxious. I remember I almost passed out from seeing those two lines on the test. I thought it was a mistake. I called my best friend first and she talked me through everything and stayed on the phone with me until I calmed down. I went out and purchased another two tests to double check and they were all positive. I didn’t know what to do. I remember going to the bathroom the next morning to recheck the tests to see if the results had changed. They hadn’t.
When I told the father he was in shock. He didn’t believe me. My initial happiness began to wear off and I was even more anxious. He wanted me to see the doctor to make sure that the tests were accurate, even though the home pregnancy tests are pretty much the same as the ones at the doctor’s office. He seemed almost happy but also scared. I soon realized that he wasn’t going to be supportive, and if I decided to keep the pregnancy, that I was going to be doing it alone. This scared me.
My mentality towards abortion prior to having one was neutral. I wasn’t really for or against. For myself however, I never really thought I was going to have one. I weighed each option heavily and concluded that abortion would be the decision that would make the most sense for me. My lifestyle wouldn’t accommodate a child, and I couldn’t give the baby the life it deserved. I was going through a lot mentally, suffering from bad anxiety and depression. Financial issues were also a huge factor, and I wouldn’t have much support.
The day before my abortion, I went to see the doctor, completed paperwork, had an ultrasound and did blood work. The day of the procedure was nerve wracking. When we got there, I signed in and changed into a gown. I was in a waiting room for roughly an hour before the nurses met me to do preoperative questions. They asked me things like how far along I was, if I was allergic to anything and whether or not I had a support system here with me. They gave me a few pills before they started the procedure to control infection and minimize pain.
They placed me on a stretcher and I began to panic. I remember the nurse was very sweet and made small talk with me to try and keep me calm. I asked how long it was going to take, and they said around fifteen minutes. I then met up with the doctor again and spoke with an anesthesiologist. They brought me into the operating room and I began to feel sick. They placed an IV in my arm, and asked me if I was ready. The last thing I remember was a mask on my face and them telling me to think happy thoughts.
I woke up an hour later in a hospital bed as they were moving me to recovery. I was sleepy, falling in and out sleep the whole time. They took my vitals and told me everything went well. I had some pain in my chest from acid reflux and they gave me some medication for that. I was able to leave soon after getting dressed. The nurse followed up with me the next day to see how I was doing. She was amazing.
I don’t have any regrets about having the abortion. I wasn’t ready and unfortunately the timing wasn’t right. I couldn’t give the baby the life I wanted it to have. That being said, as time has gone on I’ve struggled with blaming myself for this happening. I’m suffering with mild depression because of it. I feel awful and wish that things would have been different in my life. All I’ve ever wanted was to be a mother, but the timing wasn’t right.
I think it’s ridiculous that the state of Alabama is trying to tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies. The fact that you are not allowed to have an abortion after six weeks is crazy to me. Most doctors can’t even find a heartbeat at six weeks. Most women don’t know for certain if they are pregnant at that time. Their argument says that every life is precious and a gift from God, but what about the women that get raped? What about the women who aren’t offered the option of consensual sex? They would be forced to endure nine months of pregnancy and then have the child and be forced to live with that reminder every day. I’ve been raped, and it takes a toll on someone mentally, emotionally and physically. I couldn’t even imagine the pain those women felt.
I spoke to a few people about my decision to have an abortion and received a lot of support. Don’t let anyone make or pressure you into a decision. It’s your body. You’re the one that has to live with the decision. It’s your decision. Don’t be afraid thinking you’re the only one. Even talking to those close to me about this opened my eyes to many women who have gotten abortions. It’s not something to be ashamed of.
Live your life how you see fit. You are the one who has to live with your decision. It’s tough, but doing what you need to do for you is the best thing you can do.