The Unspeakable

WARNING:  THE FOLLOWING POST IS ABOUT ABORTION.  IF YOU ARE STRONGLY ANTI-ABORTION, PLEASE MOVE ON AND DO NOT READ THIS POST.

I have idly sat by and heard so much political bullshit on the topic of women’s rights.  It’s absolutely mind boggling to me why, we as a society, would want to return to the dark ages where women were worth nothing and our bodies were something to be governed by anyone other than ourselves.  The biggest, most disturbing agenda on politicians plates today, in my opinion, is a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy or not.  Many states are beginning to take steps in order to take this right away from women and in turn are taking away something so precious… I am beginning to feel like an object, not a person.  I don’t have a mind of my own to make these types of decisions because I am just a little woman?  I am tired of hearing about these states trying to regulate our reproductive organs and our minds.  I am also tired of the war waged upon Planned Parenthood.

Without Planned Parenthood, I’m not sure where I’d be today.  Most likely, on welfare and caring for many children.  Without their guidance and distribution of contraception through my teen years and later into my twenties, I am pretty sure I would have a slew of children and I would be sucking from the taxpayer nipple.  I would not have gone to college to earn a degree and I would not have tried to further my career, I’d be sitting on my ass collecting welfare and food stamps.  At least, that’s how I picture it in my head.  And I am sure I am not alone.  There are millions of women out there that were and are in my boat.  When people bring up the topic of abortion, it makes people cringe unless it is a life-saving procedure.  No one wants to have to make that kind of decision under any circumstances.

I had to.  I had to make a fateful decision.  It was heartbreaking and difficult, but felt I had no other choice.  I am glad I had a choice.  I know there are many women out there that use abortion as a form of birth control, and I do feel this is wrong.  This, I assure you, was not me.  I always took precautions and used protection during sex.  One slip up changed my life, though. This is my story.

.   .   .   .

J and I were living in a tiny studio apartment in San Francisco.  I was about to graduate from college and did not have a job.  My relationship with J was becoming burdensome and quite abusive.  He stayed out late, drinking, partying, and drugging it up.  I was left alone much of the time.  I had friends over on occasion, but was generally depressed during that time.  I wanted to leave him, I had threatened to leave him, but I couldn’t seem to take that step out.

One night, I told J that I thought I was pregnant.  He was overjoyed at the prospect.  I remember that night like it was yesterday.  We both walked in the direction of his second job.  He was a bartender at a bar in the Tenderloin, the worst neighborhood in San Francisco.  After reaching the bar, I continued on to Walgreen’s to pick up a pregnancy test and took it straight to the seedy bar where J worked.  I went into the restroom and took the test.  It only took a minute for that positive sign to come up.  I went, wearily, to sit at the bar and talk to J to give him the news.  He was delighted; I was depressed.  This was going to take a huge change for both of us.  I needed to stop smoking and he needed to stop the drinking and the drugs.  We made a commitment together and decided that we were happy for this newcomer to enter our lives.

A week went by and I grew increasingly anxious at the idea of having a baby.  I wasn’t ready.  I didn’t have a job.  We had no money and a teeny studio.  What were we going to do and where were we going to go?  J showed no signs of sobering up and the abuse continued.  That Saturday, J decided he didn’t want to come home at all.  He stayed out all night and when I woke up and he wasn’t there, I panicked.  I didn’t know if he was face down in some gutter somewhere or what.  I repeatedly called his cell phone and there was no answer.  I went walking through the streets of the Civic Center and Tenderloin districts of San Francisco to see if I could find him passed out somewhere.  I was frantic when I didn’t find him.  All I could think is that OD’d again and I was going to hear that he was dead or close to it or something.

I went back to the apartment and called his parents.  I told them that he didn’t come home and he wasn’t answering his cell phone.  They were scared also.  The same thoughts going through my mind were also racing through theirs.  Ten minutes later, they called me back.  J arrived at their place with no care in the world.  He didn’t understand why I was so upset.  I was upset because I had gotten terribly sick the night before and still was very sick that morning.  We had no water left in the house and I refused to drink the tap water, worried that it was laced with some sort of trash and carcinogen.  I was vomiting and had diarrhea.  My dehydration was off the charts and could barely get out of bed.  I found the energy to walk around the neighborhood due to my overwhelming worry for his well-being.  I was frantic.

When he finally, nonchalantly, walked through the door, I was exhausted and furious.  I was too tired to fight and all I could do was cry.  I knew he wasn’t going to change.  I knew that this was the life I would be living if I did bring a child into this world.  I would hate him for doing this to me and resent the child for putting me in this predicament.  When I envisioned the future with this child, I could vividly see me beating it to the brink of death or neglecting it to the point that he/she would become a part of the social services system and I would most likely end up in jail.  I took a week to think about it.  I talked it over with my mother and a friend and my art professor.

The following week, I walked down the aisle to accept my diploma (actually, just the case) at San Francisco State University.  I had friends and family in from all over the country.  My best friend came in to town and presented me with a present for the baby.  It was difficult to tell her that I made the decision to not keep the baby.  I told her about what I was facing and the abuse and neglect I received from J.  She was shocked.  She told me that she doesn’t believe in abortion.  “I wish you wouldn’t, but I understand.”  I could see the disappointment on her face.  I felt it in my heart.  My heart was broken.  After the graduation ceremony, I had a level of anger that is only caused by hormones.  I hated everything and everyone around me.  I made my entire graduation dinner a living hell.  It was supposed to be a moment of celebration and all I could think about was what was happening to me and what I was about to do.

The next week, all was settled down and everyone had returned to their respective homes.  I made a call to Planned Parenthood to schedule an appointment to discuss my options.  I scheduled the appointment in Southern California so I could be surrounded by family and friends that I knew supported my decision.  I left and drove the seven hours to my mother’s, alone and in silence.  When I arrived, I found out that my sister was disgusted with me.  I tried to explain why I had to do what I had to do, but she didn’t want to hear about it.  She didn’t care that J was addicted to drugs and abusive to me.  She just heard me saying that I didn’t want to be like her, a single parent.  In all truth, I didn’t.  Not because I didn’t have respect for her, but because I was not as strong as her.  I never envisioned myself with children.  I never wanted children, she did.  Her and I didn’t talk for months.  When we did begin speaking again, the topic of abortion was not to be brought up and I have never (to this day) gotten to explain my side of the story to my sister.

I went to my appointment the next day and I received an ultrasound at Planned Parenthood.  They needed to make sure I was still within the gestation period of 22 weeks.  I was well within the non-viable fetal period.  They counseled me to ensure I knew I was making the right decision for me and then they scheduled the abortion for the following day.

The next day, my mother drove me to the clinic that solely provided women with abortion services.  The check-in point is completely cordoned off so one could not see into the waiting room or the clinic itself.  I had to check-in and my mother, my driver, had to check-in and she had to leave immediately.  I entered the waiting room to sit with all of the other women waiting for the same thing.  I was deep in thought and tried to distract myself by reading a magazine.  It didn’t work.  I immediately observed the women around me.  We all sat separately even though we were there for the same thing.  We were united at that moment.  But as I looked around and looked at faces….some were sad, crying even.  Others didn’t look phased, as if they had been through this before.  Then there were others, like me, trying not to think about what was about to happen.  Thoughts were racing.  I thought about the woman I used to work with that was unable to have children.  I thought about J begging me to keep the baby, that him and his mother could raise it.  I thought about how selfish and guilty I felt.  I thought about the anger at everything surrounding this decision.  I thought about being constantly sick, vomiting at the disgusting smell of the city.  I vomited at the smell of our apartment that was situated above a dirty little Chinese restaurant.  Every time I stepped into our apartment, I vomited.  And that made me angry too.  I thought about how I was not strong enough to have a baby.  I thought about what a terrible mother I would be if I did have it.  I thought about what a terrible father J would be if I had it.  All of my thoughts still led me to this decision.  That this decision was the right thing to do for me.

Finally, my fictitious name was called.  I was led back to a room where they did another ultrasound.  I tried to get a glimpse of the baby but the technician had turned the monitor off right at that moment.  I was then led back to another waiting room where another girl sat.  She tried to start up a conversation, but I didn’t feel like talking.  To her, this was “old hat”.  I could not take the decision so lightly.  She made it very apparent she had been here and had done this before.  A nurse came to fetch me.  She inserted a needle into my arm for an IV.  I decided to be completely sedated for the abortion.  I just wanted to wake up and it be all over.  I returned to that room and thankfully, the girl was gone and I was alone.  Alone again with my thoughts.

How would it be when I returned to San Francisco?  Would it be over between J and I?  There surely was no way to repair this hurt I just brought upon him.  What was my next move?  I didn’t have any answers.  I could only enter this situation that was created and deal with it as it came.

After about 45 minutes, they came to get me for the procedure.  I was escorted to a cold room.  I removed my clothing, neatly folded it and put on a hospital gown.  The doctor came to administer my anesthesia, I counted backwards and the next thing I remember is waking up in a recovery room.  It was a white room with windows.  It was lined with hospital blue seats that reminded me of a dentist chair.  It was quiet and when I began to wake up, a lovely woman was there to sooth me.  So far, she was the only one that provided comfort throughout the ordeal.  She handed me my clothes, a sanitary napkin and told me what to expect after leaving the clinic.  She was gentle and caring and kind.  My mother was called in to pick me up and off we went.

It was over.  I had done the unspeakable.  I felt terrible and relieved.  I stayed for another week with my mother before returning to the tiny studio in San Francisco and to J.  When  I walked in the door. he was there waiting for me.  I didn’t know what to expect.  I put up a cold front because I was already hurting, battered and bruised by the decision I made.  I felt alone.  He felt alone too.  We didn’t say much to one another.  We just sat on the bed, exchanged “how are you’s”.  The sadness in that room was so thick.  I cried.  J cried.  We held each other.  There was nothing to say.

Two weeks later, I left J and moved to Southern California.  I found a job and a nice apartment and began to heal.  Then J showed up.

.   .   .   .   .

You see, I need to tell this story.  As the lawmakers are talking about governing our bodies.  And Planned Parenthood, as much as I owe them, are only speaking of individuals that medically need an abortion.  I had no medical need, you see.  I had a mental need.  Yes, I made a mistake, I should have taken responsibility for that mistake.  Maybe even chosen adoption.  But I wasn’t strong enough.  And, honestly, if given the same exact circumstances, I would make the same decision.  As heartbreaking and difficult as it may have been and still is today, I still feel I had no other choice.  Do we, as a nation, want to put women like me in a situation where back alley abortions become commonplace, or do we want to give women like me a safe place to have an abortion?  It doesn’t matter if you agree with abortion or not, it will happen.  Let’s make sure it will happen safely.

And another thing, I still think about that day.  It’s etched into my memory for the rest of my life.  If I continued with the pregnancy and had the child, he/she would have been 8 years old.  I think about that everyday.  I mourn that baby everyday.  But in my heart, I know I did the right thing.

If you are reading this and think that I am a horrible person, so be it.  I cannot help what you think and feel.  But if you are reading this and don’t judge the decision I made, please share my story.  I want others like me to come out and speak up.  We need to end this war on a woman’s right to choose.

Resources:

There is an enlightening chart, state by state here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_States_by_state

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About smommy

I am a single mom, by choice. I decided to separate from my husband and an unhappy marriage over three years ago. My son was two at the time. I am pretty much raising my kid on my own with occasional support of my family when I need it. (I don't like to admit I need it, ever!) My soon to be ex-husband (STBX) is an alcoholic and after we separated and he moved back to San Francisco, he became a drug addict also. Life is a struggle, but a sweet one since I have this awesome boy and we love each other sooooo much! Now, if I could magically be divorced, that would be great...but alas, I cannot force him to sign the documents. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there are moments when it seems so far away and unreachable.
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16 Responses to The Unspeakable

  1. cassee01 says:

    you are not a terrible person – you made the right decision for you. That is what it is all about – that everyone can make their own decision not having others make it for them.

    • smommy says:

      Thank you for reading and thank you for your support. I was really expecting to get some haters on here since it’s such a hot-button topic.

  2. cobyjean says:

    Have I ever mentioned how brave and inspiring you are? What stoop…..:) xoxoxo

    • smommy says:

      No, I don’t recall you saying that….ever. 😉 This is going to be a rough month or so…quitting smoking, moving, looking for a new job….I need to muster all the strength I can and you help me do that! Thank you so much for your support and awesomeness!

  3. Chelle says:

    I, too, also support your decision, and applaud your bravery to share your story. It was a compelling story, and I was disappointed by your ending: “Then J showed up.” What happened next!? lol Then again, I found the story to be about a woman, not a procedure, and so felt the story incomplete. 🙂 At any rate, I hope everything worked out amicably. Again, thank you for your story.

    • smommy says:

      Thank you for your comment and your supportive words… The rest of my blog contains the rest of the story. This story was an elaboration on another post… But thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading and taking the time to comment.

  4. RockheadedMama says:

    I really like Jane Fonda’s remark — “The challenge is not to be perfect…it’s to be whole”. There is no one on this earth, not a one, who is perfect. It is an un-obtainable and un-realistic idea. And, people must handle their imperfect lives the best they know how and not according to some other messed up and imperfect person’s IDEA of how it should be handled.

    • smommy says:

      Thank you for your comment and thank you for reading. It’s good to read all of these supportive words and glad that women can unite in one effort!

  5. Helene says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I have to disagree with you on this, though:

    “Yes, I made a mistake, I should have taken responsibility for that mistake. Maybe even chosen adoption. But I wasn’t strong enough.”

    Making the decision not to bring an unwanted child into the world IS taking responsibility, and takes an incredible amount of strength to do so. It’s a decision that’s complicated and painful to make, but also a decision that must ultimately be made by the woman alone. I applaud you for having the courage to share this story, and think you are much stronger than you know.

    • smommy says:

      Wow, thanks for your words. I do see it from your point of view…but I also saw it from my sister’s pov where she did have a baby, raised him, went to college…I guess I tell this story from my pov, while also offering up other pov’s as well. This is just how I felt and still feel about that moment in time. It’s how I felt about myself as well as the decision. I do feel there is a certain amount of strength to make the decision….and to follow through and deal with the aftermath. I know there are other women standing there with me…voicing how much strength it took. I won’t take that away from them or from myself. Thank you again for reading and understanding.

  6. Erin says:

    I was where you were. I thought about abortion. My friends all vowed they would never speak to me again if I did it. When I decided to go with an adoption, they still didn’t speak to me. I was the bad guy. That pregnancy made me sicker than I’ve ever been, and more than once I could have died. I don’t regret the decision, though. And like you, I think about my child always. But I won’t have any more children because the risk of dying is too high. Now, they’re passing laws that would let me die rather than terminate a pregnancy. It’s scary.

    I support your right to choose when to become a parent. I support your decision to do what was right for you. I’m glad you had people who supported you.

  7. smommy says:

    Erin, I am so sorry you had to go through that and in such a lonely way. It’s difficult enough as it is and for friends and family to abandon you says more about them than it does about you. I wish you the best and it took strength to make the decision to adopt. I am glad you made it through and I sincerely hope that lawmakers begin to listen to people like us…the women that will be effected by these laws they are trying to pass and are passing. It breaks my heart.

  8. D says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. As someone who’s worked in an abortion clinic (I was a counselor and a hand-holder), I heard at least a thousand stories very much like yours. And when I tell people now about my work, I find they are often more open to sharing their own stories of an abortion decision with me. (Some of the most heart-wrenching have been from men’s perspectives; they do feel it as much as we women do.) I often wish more people could see the side of this issue that I’ve been able to see, the human side: how incredibly difficult and life-changing this decision can be, and how much courage and inner strength it takes to follow it through. What the “abortion issue” needs is to be addressed with love, sympathy, and kindness for our fellow human beings who are going through loss; not with hate-speak and cold politics. Many blessings to you as you continue your journey through this life; may you continue to face your challenges with bravery like you’ve shown here.

    • smommy says:

      D, thank you for sharing that. It takes a strong person to be in that line of work. While in the clinic, I wondered what the people that worked there thought about the individuals, like me, that came in for “that” visit. I know so well how heart breaking it is for men. My brother had to experience a similar situation and he agreed fully that is was up to the woman and was upset, but accepted the decision was her’s and her’s alone. My husband, on the other hand, never did or will forgive me and not quite sure why he wanted to marry me in the first place. Thank you for your words of support to me and to all of the other women (and men) that you have been there to support. We needed you and you were there and we will forever be grateful to you for that.

  9. j says:

    I was in the same position. My boyfriend hadn’t showed his true colors yet but would not long after this. Verbally abusive, into drugs (selling & taking) & threatening to kill people. I knew for all the care I’d taken to prevent a pregnancy, I’m thankful to this day that I had this option. If I had stayed, my child or I could be dead. My two best friends are catholic & they stood by my side the whole way. They are still my best friends 9 years later. I don’t want my children to grow up in a world of darkness. Thank you for your story.

    • smommy says:

      Thank you for sharing your story j. It takes courage to share it and to opt for an abortion. It’s so difficult to process emotionally, but we all have very good reasons for making the decisions we do. No one, ever, should take that away from us. Stay strong and brave. Fight the good fight! You are a great mom!

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