I've never written about this. I barely talk about this. This is easier if you don't know who I am.
I was an adult when I had an abortion. An adult who was fully capable of raising a child. Capable of caring for a child. Capable of bearing a child. But I did not want one.
I was in a committed relationship. We had safe, consensual sex on multiple occasions; we used condoms, the morning after pill, safe days, and contraceptive pills. I knew my body, knew all my options, understood what getting pregnant might mean for me in a country where women die getting abortions, where we have to subject ourselves to incredibly unsafe circumstances to access choice.
If we lived in a matriarchal world, I wouldn't have had to make that choice. Birth control wouldn’t be a choice between forcing my body to undergo severe and traumatising hormonal imbalances, or unpleasurable sex, or invasive surgeries, or life threatening implants. There would be more options available to everyone involved. The burden of protection and family planning wouldn’t lie so disproportionately on the person with the ovaries. But it did. And when I found out I was pregnant, I chose to have an abortion 2 days later.
My period had been late. This wasn’t new. I’d been on and off birth control, I’m athletic, and my body has been through trauma that’s affected my cycle in so many different ways. So when I was rushing to the bathroom to throw up every morning, I thought I was sick. And when the doctor tested me for everything but pregnancy and sent me home with mouthwash, I looked up my persistent symptoms; my fatigue, morning sickness, and general aversion to all things minty fresh; and I realised what was actually going on.
I didn’t need to go back to the doctor who didn’t bother to ask me if I was sexually active. I could feel the panic set in, the sheer dread, terror, and horror. I knew I was pregnant. I didn’t need the pregnancy test they did at the abortion clinic. I needed a plan. I needed to act. I needed to not be pregnant.
What I didn’t know, is that I was 10 weeks pregnant.
When I found out how far along I was, I couldn’t go through with it that day, there and then, like I wanted to. First of all, I just didn’t have that kind of money lying around. I didn’t even realise that the further along you are in your pregnancy, the more expensive it is. But that’s not the reason I didn’t do it then. I did the test on Friday and set my appointment for, ‘excavation’, for the next Monday; the money would be found if I needed to sell my possessions. I waited because I wasn’t ready for the trauma I knew I was about to endure.
I was alone. The only person who knew I was pregnant, was the doctor I’d scheduled my procedure with for Monday. I couldn’t bear to tell my family members, or my partner, or my friends. I didn’t want to be judged, exposed, or dissuaded. I was alone and I didn’t think anyone would understand or be supportive. I didn’t believe anyone could understand.
So on Monday morning, I went to class, like any other day. After class, I withdrew the last 10,000/- from my bank account. I went to the clinic, and the doctor gave me a pill. And there was pain, a lot of it. And then there was blood, a lot of it. And after the procedure I went home, and lay in bed. There was more pain, and more blood for a week. And I was relieved by it.
I was an adult when I had an abortion. An adult who was fully capable of raising a child. Capable of caring for a child. Capable of bearing a child. But I did not want one. I'm not weighted with regret. It's a choice I made years ago, and I would make the same choice today.
But I might make it differently.