About 1/3 of all women will have an abortion in their lifetime and 50% of unplanned pregnancies end in abortion yet most women are too shamed about the process that they don’t speak, leaving women feeling very alone and highly traumatized with no one to talk to but a therapist or their family. I’m just as guilty about keeping it a secret as much as it infuriates me how completely isolated I felt during this period of my life.
This is the story of how I continued to punish myself long after I had an abortion.
I’ve since healed from the trauma and have a changed perspective about the whole thing, but I think it’s good to let people know that woman who have abortions often do not take it lightly and struggle with their choice at times for years.
The harsh sunlight pierced through the floor-to-ceiling windows and cracked open my eyes. I became immediately aware of this mass smothering me as I was wrapped in his arms and legs making it hard to move. I wiggled my way out and rolled over in the bed. His sleeping face was only inches away from mine.
The sun illuminated every crease as rage started to boil starting from my feet. I noticed the two stray hairs that oddly sprouted from the tip of his nose. They were infuriating. The muffled snoring sound that struggled in and out of his nostrils made me fight the urge to smother him with my pillow. He had a constant 5 o’clock shadow that swept over his face making him course when he forced his kisses on me. “I fucking hate you,” I mumbled too quiet for him to hear.
I did. I truly hated this man. I fucking hated him.
When we would go out to dinner I would stare at him as he grazed on his meal like a cow chewing cud. It was this slow motion gnawing that drove me utterly insane. Chew. Chew. Chew. I fucking hate you.
Couldn’t he smell the stench of hatred that felt so palpable to me?
I would sit stiffly as we watched TV on the couch. The glow would light the room enough for me to send death rays from the sides of my eyes. I darted them at him as he mindlessly watched the screen. Why can’t you tell how much I fucking hate you? Why are you here sitting next to me?
Six months ago I killed his baby.
I really have no idea how I got pregnant. I never remember consciously having sex without a condom, but several times I would wake up in the middle of the night with him inside me while I was in a half-asleep daze. I didn’t fight him off, he was my boyfriend of a few months after all, but it wasn’t actually consensual and it never felt quite right.
So there I was finding myself pregnant at 20 years old trying to finish my senior year of college. I was very young for my year. The good Catholic girl I was, I committed to having the baby. I even told my mom and my best friends. Twenty and pregnant. Awesome.
I should’ve known he was fucked up when I found out he lied to me about his age by eight years, but by that time I was already pregnant and it seemed like a little thing. I really should’ve known when he got on one knee after dating me for two months, before we even knew I was knocked up.
Things started to get really twisted. He started showing up announced at my work and in my lecture halls. I would mysteriously find my parking tickets paid — by him it turns out. I can’t completely explain it, but he felt very, very off.
Meanwhile, depression hit and it came hard. I was scared shitless. I didn’t want to be a mom. I didn’t want to be tied to this man the rest of my life. I didn’t want to grow up just yet. I prayed for a miscarriage, a car accident, even death. Death seemed easier than going through my future.
One day I walked into the Baby Gap and literally hyperventilated. My face and arms went numb and I couldn’t even pull it together enough to leave the store. I called my most liberal friend after I recovered. “You don’t have to have this baby,” she said. This was the first time someone validated what I was thinking.
I cannot have this child.
I asked him to meet me in my favorite restaurant. I needed to break this to him in public. As I matter-of-factly explained my desired course of action his teeth clenched and his face turned beet red. He was too livid to speak and his words were percolating. I had to get out of there before he caused a scene, but I didn’t want to be at the brunt of his backlash.
I threw cash on the table, sprung from my seat and started walking very quickly to my apartment two blocks away. Stunned, it took him a few seconds to come after me, giving me enough time to race home ahead of him, so I thought.
I fumbled for my keys at the front door, which gave him enough time to catch up. I flung the door open and he followed me into the stairwell. I was cornered. He grabbed my arms and pinned me against the wall screaming obscenities in my face. Pellets of spit landed on my face as he started shaking my violently. I never felt scared that someone was going to hit me before, but I really thought he was going to pound me.
Luckily, a neighbor heard the scuffle and peeked his head out the door. I yelled for my attacker to leave and with a witness he was forced to go.
During the weeks that followed I finished my classes, moved from my college town into the city and terminated the pregnancy. Honestly, I had never felt more relieved.
After literally hundreds of unreturned calls and emails I decided to answer when he called and he convinced me to come to his new loft to get closure. I felt really weak and lonely and somehow the comfort of someone, even him, seemed better than being completely alone.
I ended up staying with him almost every night from that night on, even though he disgusted me. Night after night, day after day, I hated myself for being there. I hated him for just breathing. I hated everything about my life.
But I was punishing myself. I killed his baby. The least I could do was pretend to love him. It was my penance. After all, doesn’t a murderer deserve to suffer for her crime against nature?