Thought Catalog

Abortion: Part Two

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You can read Part One here.

Relief — that was the first thing I felt. Relief and exhaustion, but mostly relief. I was myself again. Everything was still in place. The world wasn’t spinning. I didn’t feel good, but I felt better. I was out of the dark.

The physical aftermath was like any other brutal period; cramps, vomiting, the familiar ache in my lower back. The nurse recommended two ibuprofen for pain and good luck in the future.

The psychological aftermath wasn’t as easy to handle but it was also something I was ready for — the criticism, the insults, the insensitive questions; the way people tend to respond to things they both fear and don’t understand.

What killed me was I knew it could have been avoided. I knew that if I had just taken care of it alone without telling anyone I wouldn’t have had to deal with the social repercussions. And yet, some small vulnerable part of me reached out for help, for support. I still wanted to be taken care of, still wanted someone to tell me it was going to be okay. It was like walking into a snakepit and expecting not to get bitten; a dumb move, really.

But it taught me how important conviction is. How absolutely necessary it is to stand by your choices when you’re getting pulled in a million different directions, how important it is to know what’s best for yourself; to withstand pressure from people who don’t know who you are or what you’ve been through because, quick to judge as they are, they’re not the ones living your life for you. You’re the one who has to make your choices but everyone has all these opinions about them, isn’t that how it always goes?

I learned how to be stubborn.

And I learned how to be strong. I realize that’s an unbearable cliché but there’s no other way to really put it: strength is a skill, not a natural ability. The psychological survival instinct – how to not go to pieces when you’re fragile and unsupported – is one you hone, it’s something you practice; you realize how important it is to trust and take care of yourself because sometimes yourself is all you have and, ironically, all you have at the moments when you need others the most.

How to be emotionally self-sufficient.

Most importantly, or disturbingly, I realized that this is what a lot of people think being a woman means: being sacrificial. Giving up your own self, your own goals and beliefs for someone else’s agenda; reducing your body to little more than fertile ground. Spilling your own blood for some vague greater “good.” Perhaps that’s why the archetype of the Virgin, of immaculate conception, is so pervasive in our culture: she wasn’t given a choice, and yet.

But I was given a choice and I chose myself. I chose self-preservation over sacrifice; I can’t say what anyone else would have done in my position because I am myself and couldn’t have done differently. I chose to do what’s best for me so that if and when I’m ready to be a mother, I can actually be a good one. Just because you can have a child doesn’t mean you should.

And I know there are people who will always see that as selfish, but to me it’s just the opposite. TC Mark

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    • http://twitter.com/clairehennessy Claire Hennessy (@clairehennessy)

      Wonderful piece. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/06/abortion-part-two/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

      […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

    • Taylor Jane

      What kills me is that you needed to share this story in order to make yourself feel better

      • milajaroniec

        That’s not why I shared it.

        • Jenny L

          I think its beautiful and amazing inspirational. You tigger in on the parts and episodes of my life that are most painful and degrading and help me see why I chose to go through them rather than quit fighting. Thank you.

        • Kinsley Spencer

          Then you probably should not have had sex…since sex makes you pregnant. Just saying that you could have prevented all of this by a little abstinence. Babe I know sex is awesome, but its not worth having it getting preggo and then killing your child. Calling it what it is…selfish and un-loving…love = sacrifice.

        • Hayley

          So basically you shouldn’t have sex unless you want children? What about people who never want children? How do you account for them?

      • Mandy

        It seems like she posted it to help other women that might be in the same position what her thought process was and how she dealt with everything that was happening. Just because it’s a sensitive or personal subject doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be shared.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.raymond.3 Rebecca Raymond

        What kills me is that you would make such a rude comment to someone who is brave enough to write this….no not many people are going to support it…I myself do not like the idea of abortion, but I think that this is a great piece that explains it well… you need to back off… I think it should be the woman’s choice whether or not she wants to, and her choice is a personal one…

      • Palmer

        Why else do we share stories? Isn’t that the ultimate goal? I share stories to make people laugh, to help them understand me, to help them understand themselves, to make them feel better. But at the end of the day, I share stories because it makes me feel good. I love telling stories. Maybe this was a cathartic release for her, maybe she was sharing it to make other girls in similar situations as she was feel like they’re not so alone in this world. Whatever the reason, why are you trying to take that away from her? Why are you making her feel bad for sharing a bit of her life?

      • kar84

        What kills me is that idiots like you need to make useless comments like this in order to make yourselves feel better.

    • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.brazen Elizabeth Brazen

      You don’t need to justify it. Its a medical procedure, a choice you make for any number of reasons, between you and your doctor. That private choice is your right. You earned that right when you were born with reproductive organs and thought-producing brain. Nothing else matters.

      • Julie

        Well said.

    • J R

      What killed me was I knew it could have been avoided. I knew that if I had just taken care of it alone without telling anyone I wouldn’t have had to deal with the social repercussions. And yet, some small vulnerable part of me reached out for help, for support. I still wanted to be taken care of, still wanted someone to tell me it was going to be okay. It was like walking into a snakepit and expecting not to get bitten; a dumb move, really.

      Yet you still feel the need to share your not so orginal experience over not one, but two posts.

      Is there any kind of mediating to this site anymore or do you just upload willy nilly? Sure abortion is a sensitive topic and I am sure your experience was life changing, but what you’ve written is hardly life changing or inspiring.

      If it took an abortion for you to learn how to be strong than what message are you sending out? I’m happy you did get the abortion because thankfully there’s not 1.5 of you now…..

      • tht

        don’t be a dick

      • Sophie

        you have totally missed the point, asshole.

      • annonnn

        what the fuck is your problem?

      • Meredith

        can you even breathe with your head stuck so far up your ass

    • Sabethea

      “Just because you can have children doesn’t mean you should” – yes, so much. And I hope that other people who find themselves in similar situations can read this and feel that it is Actually Okay.

      • Super

        i agree.

    • Forrest

      This is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Genesis

      “Just because you can have children doesn’t mean you should” – yeah just like u open your legs to have sex, you are uncapable of opening them to give birth.

      • H

        Darling, firstly it’s ‘incapable’ not ‘uncapable’.

        Secondly, men place themselves between those open legs with no possible consequences relating to pregnancy and child birth. Kindly shut the fuck up until you’ve educated yourself.

      • http://gravatar.com/eternalraine323 Isobel

        Comments like these bother me. “If you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex.” Try it? Options like birth control and abortion are available to people who don’t want children. What’s the difference between choosing one over the other? And also, who are you to judge? Are you suggesting you have never had sex in your life without full intentions to have a child? I’m sure that does happen, but not often enough for me to assume that’s true in your case.

    • D

      ” I chose to do what’s best for me so that if and when I’m ready to be a mother, I can actually be a good one. Just because you can have a child doesn’t mean you should.

      And I know there are people who will always see that as selfish, but to me it’s just the opposite”

      I know way too many people with terrible parents and traumatic childhoods all because their parents got pregnant and decided to keep them- even though they were far from ready to be parents. I think it’s much more important for a child to be wanted and truly loved than for a child to be a mistake that parents are forced to live with.

      Someday that kid will be 17, 18, 19 and will easily see just how much ‘damage’ they’ve done to their parents lives… and they will more than likely feel an incurable guilt. If getting an abortion prevents my future children from experiencing that kind of heartache, than I would choose abortion a thousand times.

      • Kate

        Yes exactly! There are far too many unwanted and abandoned children in the world for people to condemn abortion.

    • Ellie Williams

      Mila, thank you for sharing this. Between these two articles and your piece on rape, you have made me feel less alone in the world. Knowing that someone else has experienced this and come out on the other side alive is incredibly reassuring. So thank you so so so much.

    • kimberly

      Thank you for sharing.I had one myself and it was MY decision. MY life. You should never care what anyone else thinks. ITS YOUR BODY YOUR MIND AND YOUR SOUL.

    • Em

      I don’t believe in abortion BUT this article was so moving to me, and I respect you for your decision.

      • tara

        Same here – kind of. I wouldn’t choose abortion for myself or wish it upon anyone, and think we need to do a whole lot more to educate people how to have sex responsibly before we can handily advise abortion, but I admire the writer for the responsible way in which she approached this.

        • Anon

          While you’re entitled to your opinion, this happened to myself and my girlfriend when she was 20. It was exactly the same, she was 9 weeks pregnant, she went under anaesthetic. She was on the pill at the time and I was using a condom. I don’t think anyone could be more careful, but sometimes people are incredibly unlucky. The pill and the condom failed but I think that any doctor would say that adding another contraceptive would be a waste of time and money because the chance of getting pregnant would be almost non-existant. Yet it happened.

          The emotional aftermath wasn’t awful because we put it in perspective. It happens to people and the more significance you assign to it, the more it will affect you. We were scheduled to take a vacation just after it and I think that helped take our minds off it. Plus we were both clever students enrolled at good colleges with good prospects. Having a baby would have forced one of us to drop out with no real skills and get a badly paying job to support the kid. We’re both out of college now, still together, with decent paying jobs that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

          I think abortion needs to be an option because of things like this, not to mention the old rape arguments. I know dozens of girls from school who are pregnant now or have had kids and I wouldn’t trust them to hold 5 dollars for me, let alone be responsible for a child. And I know that there’s probably thousands of girls who were just as careful as me and my girlfriend were and made a choice to have an abortion now so that when they do eventually have children, they’ll be able to give the baby the life it deserves.

    • Super

      amazing article.

    • Gra

      Still murder though regardless of any poetic spin you decide to put on it.

      • Mandy

        You’re entitled to your opinion.

      • dian0saur

        by your standards every time a woman has a period, it’s murder. fuck off.

        • Sara

          What?!

        • webster

          And how did you come to that conclusion? It’s an unfertilized egg. Why don’t you learn a little bit more about basic anatomy before making such brilliant generalizations for other people.

      • Alex

        Get an education.

      • No Light

        No. Murder involves killing a living, breathing person. Someone who had a past and future, friends and family, ambitions, dreams, hopes and fears. Someone who’d touched the lives of others.

        Embryos have none of that. They can’t think or feel, they don’t have a social circle. They don’t live and breathe, don’t move through our world.

        It makes me fear for the future of humanity, reading comments like yours. Your abstinence-only, science-free education that places a myth above all other things and equates products of conception with real, loved people.

        Terrifying stuff. Are eggs the same as chickens? If you paid for an apple and were handed a seed, would that be ok?

    • Sam

      I’m sorry people gave you shit for it then, & I’m sorry people are giving you shit for it now. This is wonderful & I couldn’t be happier you shared it.

    • Alyssa

      As someone who is unsure of their stance on abortion, this was very eye opening and moving and I appreciate it. Thank you for sharing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mizzraynay Renee Aisha

      i’m glad you wrote this story, i’m glad you continue to share this story. frank discourse about abortions are necessary and people need to also recognize just because you may abort, does not mean you are heartless and doesn’t mean you don’t feel guilt or emotion afterwards. it just means you made a hard choice that you deemed necessary and that you need people to be understanding.

    • http://fattyfatty2x4.com Carrie

      I don’t know you, but I support your decision 100%. Nobody should be forced to be a parent if they’re not ready and nobody should tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with your body.

    • Angeline

      Thank you, Mila, for sharing your story, despite the fact that you must have known what hateful comments people would leave behind the safety of anonymity. With the guilt and shame that burden women who have experienced this, I think it’s important to share stories that can let women know they’re not alone – that they don’t have to sacrifice themselves. So again – thank you. I always enjoy your posts.

    • Peeks

      You’ve honestly changed my very closed-minded opinion on abortion. I don’t think I will ever forget the lines: ” ‘You were ready to do it, weren’t you? Don’t you realize that baby has a beating heart?’ ‘…Maybe. But so do I.’”

      You are incredible for sharing this. You may be finding your strength through this process, but it is clear you already have courage that so many women lack yet need. Much love, sister.

    • Guest

      I don’t think anyone would have WANTED an abortion, it’s not something like “I wonder how painful is it to get a tattoo so I’m gonna get one done on my ass” She felt the NEED to do it and I respect her for it even though I never felt it was right to do so.

    • Georgia

      I appreciate your candor, but feel blessed that you at least got to make the choice. My boyfriend stole mine, by effectively rendering me baren with his abuse. I’ve been pro-choice for as long as I’ve known what that term meant, but reading both parts of this just elicited a now knee jerk reaction of envy. I wish I could get pregnant and be forced to quarrel with myself and society. But I can’t. I just hope you go on to accomplish whatever it is you felt you otherwise couldn’t have with a child at 19.

      Was that insensitive? I’m sorry if it was.

    • ShelbilitaHernandezFigueroa

      I totally agree girl, thank you for sharing! I chose that path for the very same reasons, not selfish, just considerate and smart.

    • xx

      I I I I me me I I I me myself I I I unbearable cliché I I I I self I I I I I I I

      • Gabriela

        do you want her to write an article about you?

    • Lola

      UGH. These comments remind me just how baffled I am by the way people talk about abortion…like it’s some sacred rite of passage, shrouded in mystery. Please. Every conversation about abortion has to turn into a fucking drum circle of feeling-sharing and back-patting.

      I don’t get why it takes “bravery” and “strength” to talk about an elective (if socially unpopular) medical procedure. The only reason it does is because people keep saying it does.

      When I had an abortion, I kept waiting for some transformative experience to happen. I was like, did I miss something? Where are these “feelings” that my “support system” told me it was “okay to have?” I felt some cramping, and I puked from the anesthesia. The doctor was kind of impersonal, but that was to be expected since I went to Planned Parenthood. Whatever. Was it fun? No. Traumatic? No. Enlightening? No. It was a trip to the fucking doctor. An inconvenient, slightly unpleasant one, yes. But nothing worth thinking about, much less “mustering the guts” to wax poetical about.

      I also had a nose job when I was 16. Would it be “brave” of me to talk about that? Then again, at least that might be an interesting read, since not that many teenagers get plastic surgery. 1 in 3 women has an abortion, and 1 in 6 writes some long-winded poem about “her experience,” pulled straight from those pamphlets they give you about how it’s “okay to have feelings after an abortion.” Sorry to be an asshole, but I’m so bored of reading this type of crap….and the corny, cliche responses to it.

      • Peeks

        I respect your opinion, but I think each individual processes certain events in their own way. Abortion is something that is so gray in our society, in my opinion at least. Some will walk away feeling as if it was just a small procedure to remove a small lump of cells, while others feel as if they have just destroyed a soul that should have had an opportunity to live.

        The reason I think bravery is linked to speaking about this subject in a personal context because of how many people feel that it is their right/duty to speak on behalf of the child that has no voice. Not saying those people are wrong or right, but by openly talking about having an abortion is like saying to the public, go on, make an example of how I am a murder so other lives will be saved. And I have to say, to endure being call a killer, selfish, a slut and all the rest of it for the sake of expressing one’s emotions is courageous in my books.

        I never had an abortion, but I do struggle with how I feel about it and how to appropriately voice my opinion to ones who are struggling with this decision. Hearing stories like this helps me better understand how friends and other women feel in this situation and allows me to further develop my opinion on where I stand on the issue, and for that I think it is good she did have the courage to share.

        • Lola

          “The reason I think bravery is linked to speaking about this subject in a personal context because of how many people feel that it is their right/duty to speak on behalf of the child that has no voice.”

          True.

          I guess I just take it for granted that intelligent women will ignore people like that. I also think the more we treat abortion like a normal topic of conversation, the more socially acceptable it will become to talk about it. It’s frustrating that most “stories” in the media about abortion come from women who consider it a painful & deeply personal experience, when not everyone who’s had an abortion feels that way.

        • Peeks

          @LOLA That is actually true, I never really hear stories of women who walk away from the procedure without having strong emotional reactions to the whole ordeal. I guess it may be that those are the ones that need to write and talk about their experience the most. But Mila did talk about the feeling of relief afterwards, and not just the sadness, which is refreshing from the many stories I heard in Catholic school of plain regret and shame.

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