Abortion: Part One

When the results came back positive, I didn’t believe them at first. It was too melodramatic, too made-for-TV movie. Or worse, reality show: 19 & Pregnant. Like 16 & Pregnant except longer and lacking the mass appeal. It was news that belonged to someone else, some other teenage f-ck-up. This…wasn’t happening. Wasn’t.

But the realization that this was my life, and this was happening, and there was nothing anyone could do about it, felt like the contained panic of being strapped to a rollercoaster you hate on the verge of crying and puking at the same time. A sick weight dropped from the back of my throat to the pit of my stomach, slow and slick like expired peanut butter.

I sat in the examination room for a few more minutes and tried to process. I tried to imagine a living thing implanting itself inside of me and growing there, feeding off my energy. It was unreal. It was nine weeks old. I pictured the little alien form attaching itself to my uterine wall, cleaving to my insides. I touched my stomach and almost convinced myself I felt it gnawing at my belly, chewing through my organs; climbing up my esophagus to get a breath of fresh air. Pushing my uvula aside with its tiny red hand and sliding down my tongue like a Slip ‘N Slide.

Now what?


I couldn’t tell him. What could I possibly say? “Surprise, you’re a dad now?” I couldn’t, because he wasn’t. The expanding cluster of cells lodged inside of me was a skin he had shed; it was no longer a part of him, just like I wasn’t. It was a hangnail he had ripped off and flicked to the floor. You forgot some of your things when you left. You left something inside of me. I remembered how earnestly, stupidly, I had insisted we use a condom each time. Like it made any goddamn difference.


“You’re really not going to change your mind?”

“Mom, I can’t. I’m 19. I’m in school.”

“I was in school too.”

“But I’m not ready.”

“You were ready to do it, weren’t you? Don’t you realize that baby has a beating heart?”

“…Maybe. But so do I.”


I went to a women’s clinic where insurance would take care of it. They offered everything from pap smears to liposuction to hymenoplasty to abortions. You could get everything. Like a body supermarket. The waiting room was like one of those flimsy “What do I feel today?” magnets and the girls’ faces were all strange fusions of at least two of the emotions. Their mothers and boyfriends stared at their phones intently. I stared at the standard-issue Monet on the wall.

I was going to be put under. I couldn’t imagine how else anyone would do it. Being awake for this seemed like the saddest most sadistic thing.


The nurse smiled softly at me as she pushed the needle into my arm. I felt the strong, sudden impulse to sob.

“It’s going to be okay honey. You’ll be asleep in 3…2…”


She pressed a slip of paper into my hand as I slowly pushed open my heavy eyelids.

“This one is your antibiotic, make sure to finish all the pills in the bottle or else it may not be effective. And this is your birth control prescription.” Another slip of paper.

“Now it’s very important you get these filled immediately, okay?” She shook my shoulder lightly. “Okay?”

The room lurched uncomfortably as I nodded my head.

“The drugs should wear off in just a second. Your clothes are right here. You’re probably going to be spotting a little over the next few days, but it’s nothing to worry about. Just make sure not to lift anything heavy and don’t use tampons, as those can increase your chances of infection.” She put a hand on my shoulder again. “I’ll be right outside if you need anything.”


I pulled my clothes on with as much strength as I could muster and shuffled blankly out of the room. I felt shriveled and aged, like a scrap of leather that had been lying in the sun for days. I moved my hand under my heavy black sweatshirt to touch my swollen stomach. I was hollowed out. They had sucked it out of me.

Nothing. The nothingness was palpable.

The woman at the nurse’s station nodded her head towards me, indicating that I was free to leave. I smiled at her faintly and headed for the exit. TC mark

image – flequi


More From Thought Catalog

  • anonymous

    this was nice to read about. Not in a sadistic way, but in a way that it’s nice to hear how something actually happens without having to first listen to fanatic religious ramblings beforehand.

  • Guest

    thank you for sharing, really… so many people are not brave enough to go through with something like that, let alone write about it for everyone to see. you are brave.

  • http://twitter.com/jadika Jade Thompson

    Thanks for writing this. I hope you’re doing ok.

  • Lib

    This was fucking awful emo writing. 

    • blabla

      Don’t be such a bitch.

    • anon

      Do us all a favor and shut your mouth.

      • Lala

        a) She didn’t actually speak and b) She’s right.  

      • LALA

        whoops, wrong email.

      • Blahblahblah

        I admit that’s a harsh comment but I’m so sick of all the political discourse and shame surrounding abortion. I wish people could come out and say “Hey, I got an abortion and it was kinda sucky but I rarely ever think about it and it was a fantastic decision that I never regretted, not even once. It wasn’t a big deal, really.” But then she’d just be branded a slut who doesn’t care about precious life. So every abortion admission turns into this huge dramatic coming out story, which does make the author seem more sympathetic to people against/ambivalent towards abortion, but it also gives credence to the notion that it’s some horrific and psychologically damaging experience for every woman.

        I had an abortion at 5 weeks, I got twilight sedation but still felt everything, it hurt like a bitch but I was SO happy to have it be over. I felt like I got my future back.

      • steph

        I think what is important is being honest about the experience, so if that was how she really felt (not just a tone she used to seem less condemnable), then good for her for voicing it that way.  Also, good for you.  You are right that an attitude of being totally emotionally ok with it might go farther for de-stigmatizing it, so thanks for sharing your feelings about the experience.

  • Siorruidh

    Thank you for sharing this. You put into words exactly how I felt at 19, doing exactly the same thing. Nearly ten years later, I still haven’t healed from it emotionally, but sometimes it helps to know that someone else is right there with you. 

    • Daresmom

      I agree – she put into words my emotions and feelings when I went through the same thing at 17. I am now 44, have 4 wonderful healthy children, but that is a day that I will never forget. It still haunts me. I haven’t healed from it emotionally either.I also agree that she will get negative remarks from all kinds of people. But, it is what it is. She chose to share her story and I applaud her for that – it could possibly help many people. I am pro-choice, but I would NEVER do that again, nor would I ever want my children to go through that. People throw out the words “baby killer” and other lovely things like that, but we know what we did. We have to live with it. That itself is punishment enough. I know that God forgives me for doing that because I have asked him numerous times. However, I haven’t forgiven myself. I don’t know that I ever will. My adivce to you is get therapy if you feel like you need it, keep writing and talking about it – it will help the healing process. Thoughts and prayers to all of you who have gone through this experience.

      • understood

        I agree, I know god forgives me but I will never, ever forgive myself and I live with it everyday where everyone views me as smart, intelligent, with two degrees and a lot going for me at 24 I will just never excuse what happened to me last Spring and my trip to planned parenthood. 

  • Lise

    it takes guts to share this. to know that there are people ready to attack at with a click of a mouse and some ramblings on a keyboard and still share your story regardless. I know alot of people will thank you.

  • guest

    truly, truly, thank you.

  • Marsha

    mine was bad…abortion is illegal in my country and if you cant afford
    the fancy doctors willing to break the law for a price, you had to go to
    the ob gyn with the danky corner office where he had to do it right there, i was given shot but it did nothing but make me dizzy and vomit…and the pain…excruciating…like someone ripping my insides out..i bawled…i screamed…i looked to the side and saw a tube with blood and bits and pieces flowing through into a glass container and i wanted to faint from both the pain and the shock of what i saw…i was 20, just started university, when my boyfriend took me home my mom took it from there and gave me tea and comfort, i wish i was able to ”go under.”

    • http://twitter.com/IanDickJokes Ian Dick Jones

      I want to hear this story very much. 

    • http://twitter.com/iamthe0nly Jordana Bevan

      feel like i just got smack with a frying pan of perspective. i’m so sorry, M

  • Kirsten

    At 23 the fear is still there. I’m so sorry you had to experience it. I don’t have a mom to talk to about it and the only there was my best friend. If it counts for anything I’m one stranger who would gladly stand behind you. Thank you so much for sharing. 

  • Sammi

    Soooo, are you actually looking forward to all the ridiculous hate comments this will attract?

    • Guest


      • Sammi

        I’m not un chilled beb.  I’m just saying, this is gonna get some mega hate from the crazies and religious nuts. 

  • Anonymous

    As someone who constantly is nervous that this will happen to me, it was nice to get an inside perspective of what happens in there. 

  • S-H

    Hang on, I thought you were gay?

    • PFOJ

      No, that’s the gay guy that you’re thinking of.

      • S-H

        Nope, I’ve definitely read articles from this author about her past girlfriends/hook ups with girls but not guys.

    • Mila Jaroniec

      Wasn’t always

      • S-h


  • Aria

    You have GUTS to post this here. You go girl. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jess.hurst1 Jess Hurst

    Props for writing this; I would like to read part two.

  • Anonymous

    Hell yeah woman. Hell. Yeah. 

  • Rhailey95

    Thanks for writing this! I went through an abortion a few months back and the only difference was that I was in a supportive reletionship and had a incredible friends to confide in. Regardless of that, I still understand how devasting a choice it can be, even if at the time it’s the “right” choice for you. I feel that same sense of guilt for being selfish but sometimes you have to put yourself first. I’ll never forget the day I got mine there were atleast 20 other girls in the waiting room ranging from teens to late fourties…every background you can imagine. It was then that I realized that this is reality for many women who just aren’t ready!

    For those of you who make fun of the author…I think you lack empathy and understanding AND I wish you the utmost emotional growth in your life…

    • steph

      Very good comment.

  • JLA

    Did they really put you under? That was not even an option for me, and I was at a really nice hospital.
    I was also 19, been three years and still haven’t told my mom. Probably never will. It’s nice to hear that there are mothers who don’t give the guilt trip and are just supportive. Might have helped me get over it.

  • Cate M

    “You were ready to do it, weren’t you? Don’t you realize that baby has a beating heart?”“…Maybe. But so do I.”Those 2 lines sum up why I’ve always been pro-choice. 

  • ANA

    Wow. That takes guts to write. Thank you!!

  • Chi

    I think it’s depressing how men and women have sex irresponsibly and get rid of the child inside of them when it’s already there. I know that it is hard, too, for women, especially when they’re still young, but I don’t think we have the right to decide for the life that is not ours. Yes, we may be the mothers of these children, but their life is definitely not ours. We are not given freedom so that we can do absolutely everything that we want; we are given freedom so that we have the chance to do what is right. If you’re not ready to have a baby, then don’t irresponsibly have sex!

    For the record, I’m not judging the mothers who underwent abortion, I just do not approve of abortion. It’s sad how we take life for granted and tend to forget how miraculous it is that we’re even alive; you know the story: millions of DNA combinations from your dad, millions of DNA combinations from your mom, and countless combinations of these two just to make you! To add to these are the billions of combinations to produce your parents, their parents, and so on and so forth. 

    Life is an amazing gift from God. Other parents would do anything just so their sick baby could live. We shouldn’t be wasting life away.

    • Mars

      You’re at the wrong airport.

    • CAS

      Um, when did she have irresponsible sex? It was perfectly stated that a condom was used every time. She took precautions to prevent the need for an abortion. Yes, it failed but she tried. That’s not irresponsible.

      Also, “I don’t think we have the right to decide for the life that is not ours.” But you are exactly trying to decide for the life of others and their decisions for THEIR life when you say you are against abortion.

      • Chi

        I’m not tring to decide for their lives… Is that even possible? Yes i could rant and rant about what I think, but these people don’t even know me, they can still do what they want. I just wanted to convey what I think is right no matter what people say.

      • Blahblahblah

        I assume you’re heavily in favor of teaching comprehensive sex ed in schools, providing low cost contraception and easy access to the morning after pill?

      • Chi

        That assumption is wrong. :)

      • Inthisdayandage, really!?!?!

        You are everything that is wrong with the world. You represent pure ignorance, and obviously willfully ignore scientific fact.

      • Yuliya

        Maybe CHI is trying to make decisions on behalf of the mother but allow her future son/daughter to have a chance to experience this crazy/beautiful thing we call life on earth.   We discuss women’s rights but we never discuss the rights of the unborn.  We can’t comprehend their feelings or thoughts but does that mean they don’t have a voice that shouldn’t be heard?  The future scientist who discovers cancer could be in that mother’s womb, or the next great American author, or the person who saves someone’s life.  Isn’t every life worth defending? 

      • Bryana Gaffney

        The same goes for you.

      • Josh

        The reason we discuss women’s rights is because they exist. The unborn do not. You can’t use the argument ‘what if?’ because that could apply to “what if someone had a better education, they could cure cancer?”. It’s utterly ridiculous. Also, the unborn have no feelings or thoughts. I cannot comprehend people who believe that.

      • Dontbeadumbass

        The unborn exist. People who want their babies go to extreme measures to keep them because they exist before they are born. Also, studies show that the environment a mother is in while carrying her child has profound effects on that child’s personality and behavior later. So again, the unborn exist. 

      • Josh

        No, they really don’t.  It doesn’t matter how many times you say it, it doesn’t become true,  There is absolutely no evidence in the world to suggest that something that is UN(clue there)born, there is not not alive nor a part of the world, ‘exists’.  An unborn baby is not a person in the way that a pregnant woman is a person.  Charming name, cretin.

      • Bajumeru

         CHI isn’t trying to decide for other people’s life, he/she is just stating their opinion. And I actually agree with CHI, I don’t think you should have sex, unless you’re prepared to have a baby. I’m not saying sex is just for making babies, but I DO think there’s an inherent responsibility in the act itself.

        However, I can’t judge, and I’m not going to. Again, this post was very brave and I commend the writer for it. I’m just saying I don’t agree with abortion in general, but hey, that’s just me and I can’t, and never will, try to decide what other people should do :-)

      • Trisha

        I don’t want to dismiss your views or opinions in any way, but would like to ask a genuine question if I could. If people (a woman) should only have sex if they are prepared to possibly create a baby, how do you account for people such a myself who do not want their own children and intend to adopt one of the millions of unwanted ones? Should they never have sex?

      • kids.

        perhaps not, unless you’re ready to raise a child if the contraceptive doesn’t work.

      • Trisha

        I quite clearly said I don’t want children of my own. Did you even read what I said, or were you just completely desperate to get your judgments out?

    • Anonymous

      How can you bang on about millions of different DNA combinations and what an amazing thing that is, and then state that life is a gift from ‘God’? You can’t have it both ways, using science and religion to assert your point. Bible thumpers never cease to amaze me when it comes to issues such as this.

      • Chi

        I think I can. It’s God who created those DNA in the first place and brought two people together to create life. :)

      • Kook

        Ugh, you’re the worst.

      • Justsayin'

        Don’t be rude.

      • Jasmine

        I think it is perfectly reasonable to be both religious and scientific.  Think of Albert Einstein and Blaise Pascal for instance.  If one believes in an omnipotent God/creator then one must also believe that this creator is the source of all genetic information.  I believe that God created the primordial soup and therefore all of the ingredients needed for life on earth. 

      • Anonymous

        Of course you think it’s reasonable, you believe in God. Whatever helps you sleep at night. Doesn’t change anything.

      • 123

        I really struggle with believing that abortion is okay. I try believing that it’s all about “women’s rights” (what another poster said), but I think in my heart I don’t believe that. I think it’s about the question: when does life start? Does it start when a baby comes out of the womb? Which makes me wonder what the difference is between the baby living in the womb and outside of the womb and how is it considered a life after it’s taken out? (Side note: I once got arrested for accidentally stepping on a Swan egg. Tell me how that’s fair. The baby Swan isn’t even out of the egg yet. Life definitely starts before it’s out of the womb according to the state of California).  For all those anti-birth control fanatics, life may start at the production of semen. Which means that thechicken sandwich I ate for lunch boosted my sperm count and life started at a chicken sandwich. To go further, it also means life started from a chicken on some farm in Iowa, etc… I think life starts somewhere in the middle. When the sperm enters the egg and starts creating a heartbeat. I don’t judge the person who wrote this. I have family members who have had abortions and I love them with all my heart, but I don’t think it’s always the best route, unless it’s conceived out of rape or the pregnancy becomes fatal to the mother. It’s just something that i struggle grasping and maybe I’m wrong. I think life should be a little more important, no matter how small it is. For everyone saying that it wasn’t the right time to have the baby, as a father of three, I will tell you that it’s never the right time. 

      • Anonymous

        I can appreciate your views and also commend you for not judging the women you know who have gone through an abortion.  I also think your points are well articulated, however I’m sure you can appreciate that there are ‘right times’ to give birth and ‘wrong tines’.  Children should be brought into a loving environment where they will be cherished, loved and supported.  This is obviously much more preferable than a child being born to a mother (and father) that cannot cope and it runs a high risk of abandonment, which as countless psychology studies have shown, does irreparable damage.  I’m sure, as a father, you can think of nothing worse than your children being abandoned and unloved in state care.  I also believe that men cannot even begin to comprehend the colossal issue of pregnancy and childbirth, the effects that it can upon women both physically and emotionally, therefore rendering any arguments they have against it completely pointless. It’s something many women spend time considering right from the day they realise they can have a child and most do not take abortion lightly. 

    • Blahblahblah

       I have a three-year-old cousin who is dying of a genetic disease. He is cognizant and sweet and happy and alive. A clump of cells is not the same thing. I had an abortion at 5 weeks. I saw the ultrasound. It didn’t even look lie a tadpole. The potential for life is not the same as life. It is not a big deal. The worst part is that it hurt, a lot.

      Women own their own bodies. You don’t.

      ZOMG what if Jesus was aborted.

      • Nika

        Besides everything that’s been said about all that’s wrong with it…The “what if Jesus was aborted” theory is a logic fail in that, for those who truly believe in an all-powerful God, if Jesus’ spirit can go through a painful death by crucifixion and then RESURRECT HIMSELF, he’s probablycapable of finding a hospitable uterus.

      • Nika

        also, I’m pretty sure Jesus the Sequel would find a more original entrance than immaculate conception.  Because I sure as hell know that, in this day and age, if I were a 14-year old virgin and found out I was pregnant, my first reaction wouldn’t be “oh hey, cool, second coming of Christ”–it’d be more like “…the fuck is this shit?!”

    • SallySparrow

       Usually if  you are not pro choice you are religious almost always…note that I said ALMOST always. I wish people would stop trying to decide what’s right for other people to do to there own bodies.

    • Lindsay

      It’s really not ‘miraculous that we are even alive.’ All that is required is some sperm and an egg. It happens all the time, by accident or otherwise…..

      You have to understand that none of your points mean anything to those of us who don’t believe in God or in the ‘soul’ or in ‘life’ as some abstract concept. And either way, a cluster of cells is not the same thing as ‘a life.’

      Thank you, Mila, for writing this.

      • Checkyourfacts

        Last time I checked you are looking at whole lot more than “a cluster of cells” at nine weeks…..

    • Guest

      I always wonder how people can talk so much about how every life is precious, but don’t seem to care as much about the precious lives of those living in poverty or with serious illnesses and needing constant medical support.

    • notjudgement

      “how men and women have sex irresponsibly”  — they were using condoms, that is not irresponsible sex.

    • one

       you clearly expressed what i am feeling right now. i feel sad on how we can easily throw life away.

  • Guest

    Thank you for being so very brave and sharing your experience. It sounds so clinical to say it that way, I apologize. Telling your story in such a public forum is difficult. So very difficult. I have not told most of the people in my life that matter my story. The shame is still too great even after eight years and a year of therapy my entire senior year.

    I know that you have gotten hate filled messages, if not here then in other venues. I hope you ate able to internalize the messages here and the support of others in your life and know that you are not a bad person. You have made a very difficult decision, one out of hundreds of possible scenarios that life could throw at you which do not have a “right” answer.

    Please, for yourself and the other souls whose story you are mirroring, please continue with the next parts of your story. Thank you.

  • Leah

    Ballllz. Tough to write. I would have liked to hear more about your afterthoughts though. I had one a few years ago, and even though it was tough, the overwhelming sense of relief afterwards was stronger than the anxiety. I always knew I made the right choice.

  • http://www.about.me/tanyasalyers Tanya Salyers

    I don’t think it’s fair for this discussion thread to be filled with political and/or spiritual thrashing.  Our author here has opened her heart and shared with us this story about her life, her actual life.  I think most of us that read Thought Catalog realize that these ‘thoughts’ are very personal, and that so many of us keep coming back because we find community and something to relate to.  I think it is great that she has been able to put into words what so many women have been through and I hope that somehow she and others can find some comfort in these words.  Looking forward to Part 2.

  • Waicool

    did you go out for burrito’s afterwards?  i can hardly wait for part 2

  • Charlotte

    If you’re not ready, you’re not ready therefore not prepared to give a future child the best possible life. That’s what abortions are for, when women get pregnant and are not prepared for the HUGE responsibility of raising and providing for another human. Or perhaps they were raped and the thought of having their rapist’s child kills them. There are so many reasons why women get abortions and we should never judge them for it, they own their bodies not us. This may make me sound naive but I didn’t know you could be put under for one. I accompanied my best friend to hers at 19 and they drugged her before (she claims to have very hazy memories of it) but she was still conscious of what was happening.

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