Women Who Choose Abortion Have Feelings, Too
Fourteen years ago, I sat bawling hysterically in a women's health center. My lower stomach had been cramping for about three weeks. I thought I was just ovulating, and that it was normal.
I was sitting at work one day, when I pulled out my phone book that I kept in my purse. As I wasn't on birth control, I always wrote down when I got my period in the book so that I would know when to expect it. It was then and only then that I realized I was three weeks late.
To say that my heart stopped was not an exaggeration. I suddenly realized that those three glaring clues that I'd clearly overlooked could only mean one thing.
I was in a panic. I waited until lunch, then went to the women's clinic which was conveniently next door. There was no way I was going to the store to buy a pregnancy test. I couldn't bear to be in the bathroom by myself when I heard the inevitable news. I figured the best, and most accurate, thing to do was to give a urine sample at the clinic, and get the truth.
Deep down inside, I knew what the test would say. I knew it would be positive, but I had to know, and I didn't want to be by myself when I found out.
The staff was very nice and understanding. They took my urine sample in the back while I waited, legs shaking, biting my nails, millions of things speeding through my mind. It didn't take long to yield the results. The nurse called me into a room and told me what I didn't want to hear. I was pregnant. Me! Pregnant! How could that be? As he raped me, he told me he hadn't ejaculated inside me. Wasn't it impossible that i was pregnant?
I was convinced that God was punishing me. I was a bad girl, and he was punishing me for it. I'd gotten myself drugged, raped, stalked, assaulted, and pregnant all in one year. Just when my future was starting, after all those years of school and a college degree, I had to go and ruin it. Something was wrong with me and I needed to be punished. Normal, good people didn't attract the kind of bad things that I was attracting. I must be bad.
I sat in that chair sobbing my eyes out. I just kept saying, "I don't want to be pregnant. I don't want to be pregnant" over and over again like a chant. Maybe if I said it enough times, it would become the truth. Maybe someone would come in the room and say, "Just kidding!" This, of course, didn't happen.
The poor nurse looked terrible. If she could have taken away my shock and pain, I believe she would have. I couldn't stop repeating that I didn't want to be pregnant. I didn't bother to go into the fact that I'd been raped. Heck, I didn't even understand that what had happened to me was rape until 6 years later and only with the help of a wonderful caring counselor.
It's surreal now, sitting here thinking back to that day in the clinic. It almost feels like that was someone else who heard that news, someone else that was pregnant, someone else that had some hard decisions to make.
The nurse was the one who mentioned that I had options. She told me she could recommend a clinic, if I didn't want to go through with the pregnancy. She could see my desperation, although I never let on that there was something sinister in the way I got pregnant. To me, it was what it was. It didn't occur to me to tell someone.
Almost right away, after she mentioned it, I knew what I was going to do.
I'd never believed in abortion. I always thought that girls who had abortions were promiscuous or uncaring. They had no feelings and could easily just get an abortion, then go on about their lives as if nothing different happened. Now, that person was me. It gave me new perspective for sure.
I went back to work after lunch and got out the Yellow Pages. I think I may have even called the clinic to set up an appointment right there at the front desk at the office. Honestly, I don't remember this part. Dissociating and distancing myself from things that were too difficult for me to deal with was becoming the norm.