There are sometimes moments in our lives, where we find ourselves faced with a situation that we never really anticipated being in.
You know, those things that happen to “other” people — but not us.
The thing of things that are too world-shaking for us to accept could possibly happen to any of us, at any time. Even thought they can happen to any of us, at any time.
My brother’s sudden death was one of those moments for me.
I never thought I would be faced with the stark reality of having to process the sudden death of my little brother, through a fucking freak accident when he was just 21 years old.
Another one of those moments for me, happened just a couple weeks ago, when I came to find out that a missed period was in fact pregnancy, with life that I would not be bringing into the world.
I looked at the positive pregnancy test, as a sense of numbness flooded my body — one of my closest girlfriends looking on at me, while I was sitting on the toilet, staring blankly at this plastic stick, taking in the information in front of me with a sense of disbelief.
I’m pregnant and I won’t be having what would eventually be, a baby.
All I could think of doing was to make jokes, to avoid processing the overwhelming amount of emotion that was ready to wash over me.
At first, that’s exactly what I did.
I made jokes and tried to numb myself from reality, because I knew almost exactly what was ahead of me, having witnessed so many other women I know, experience exactly what I was in the midst of.
However, the first moment I had alone, reality struck me like a ton of bricks over the head.
I’m pregnant and I won’t be having what would eventually be, a baby.
I was awash with grief, confusion, anger, anger, and more anger — shame, shame and more shame.
Grief, because here’s a woman carrying life inside of her that she will be releasing and whether the life is wanted or not in our bodies, there is innately grief in letting it go.
Confusion because, here’s a woman that has no idea this was the next step of what she was in for on her life journey and, how did I get here? Is this really happening? Am I dreaming right now?
Shame because, here’s a woman who has only had casual sexual partners in the last several months, is not in a committed relationship and is pregnant with life inside of her that she will not be birthing.
Shame because, here’s a woman who knows better how to take care of herself and her sexual health so how did I get myself here.
Shame because, here's a woman who’s now ripe for slut shaming because that’s how society views women who are in the exact place that I’m in right now — context unimportant because it’s a blanket statement, generously piled onto any woman who also stands in my position, choosing to take lovers and exercise the right to use her sexuality.
Shame because, I will never know for sure exactly who was the source of other 50% of the position I'm in and can only ever have a relative idea of who it was, who themselves may never ever know what happened.
Anger because, here’s a woman who’s going to be going at this without a partner of any kind, and yes she’s 50% of the equation that’s arisen but there’s another 50% that’s responsible for this and will bear not a single ounce of the burden.
Anger because, here’s a woman left to choose whether to protect the other 50% by not sharing because if she did, it would potentially be leaving her even more ripe for possible slut-shaming, drama-causing, crazy woman kinds of labels.
Anger because, here’s a woman realizing how she’s really just gotten lucky that this hasn’t happened to her until now and that so many men have the luxury of being irresponsible with their sexuality because so many women, like myself, will hold this quietly and they will never have to shoulder their part of the burden of terminating a pregnancy.
And finally, anger because, here’s a woman who will soon be going through the wringer physically in navigating this experience, while the other 50% will never even feel a twinge of anything around it.
The weeks following that were full of fear, discomfort, and a myriad of emotions including everything I stated above, on repeat — amongst other feelings.
I felt out of control of my body because the changes in hormones were so drastic and intense that it was throwing me all over the map.
I was constantly nauseous, exhausted through every moment of the day, and concerned about what the coming weeks would hold.
My body did not feel like mine, and this was one of the most jarring aspects of the experience because normally, my body and I get along really well — we usually work together, and it felt like we were suddenly on opposing teams.
I had the privilege of having one of my best friends by my side through all of this, the last two weeks — but not every woman is so lucky.
There are so many of us women who will go through experiences like this entirely alone, whether a pregnancy is aborted or carried out to full term, they will walk that path solo without the support of the other 50% that contributed to the position they’re in.
Because I was so blessed to have this incredible friend by my side every step of the way, I was not entirely alone, and she was there through the appointment with me as I had an ultrasound and saw the life growing inside me that was just six weeks old at the time.
She was there at my side while I got shots, was given various medications for the process, took the first pill at the clinic that begins the process of the abortion, as well as the second pill at home that in some cases, causes a level of cramping and nausea that is unimaginable to the average male, which was in fact the outcome of my experience with this abortion.
She was up with me through the night, staying close the whole time in case I needed help, as I navigated my way through the utter agony of cramping, nausea, and pain that was so intense, that in my altered state of pain medication and the pain itself, I thought could possibly consume me altogether.
She was available and continues to be available to me constantly, as I processed the experience itself, as well as now, the aftermath of what an something like this brings to a woman. I am so blessed, and so grateful for her.
Because the abortion doesn’t end with the abortion itself.
An abortion has physical and emotional ramifications that are with a woman, to greater or lesser degrees, before, during, and after the experience itself, for quite some time.
And this is just a taste of some of the things we as women, will carry in our lifetime.
I don’t need to explain to you what my takeaways were with this — some of those takeaways will likely be self-explanatory, while others are very personal to me and my life experience.
I see myself so clearly in this and I am so completely clear in the decision I made. I was clear in that from the moment the pregnancy test showed that it was positive, but that wasn’t without a heaping dose of self-loathing to sort through first.
This experience forced me to look myself in the eyes and regardless of the context, specifics, details and everything else — to love myself thoroughly through the whole process, understanding that this is something that many women go through and regardless of the circumstances, we do not have to choose to take on the heavy shame that many others might insist we carry.
Loving ourselves cannot be circumstantial.
Loving ourselves must be unconditional, and I’m currently choosing to love myself unconditionally through all of this.
Going through this experience rattled me to my core, because it asked me to put my morals and values into action, right away.
The heavy burden that society puts on women with regard to their bodies and sexuality is so fucking burdensome, and I could feel the full weight hanging over me as I walked this out.
Today, I feel brighter and the desire to write is flowing through me.
My hormones are beginning to stabilize, my body is starting to feel like my own again, the fog of depression is slowly loosening it’s grip on me, the self-hatred has faded out so it’s hardly even background noise any longer, and I feel closer than ever to the truth of who I am.
I process and assimilate experiences quickly, and writing about those experiences is a very important part of that processing and assimilation, which brings me to this moment, of writing this piece.
This experience is not over for me, but I will continue to learn how to integrate it into the vastness of this very wild, unconventional, crazy life I lead — just like I do with everything I’ve gone through in my lifetime — that most people don’t even know the half of, and that I wouldn’t trade even a second of it because it has all contributed to the making of the woman I am today.
The good, the bad, the ugly, the ecstatic, and everything in-between.
And I am very proud of that woman I’ve become.
This story wanted to come out, so I’m letting it do just that.
So, why am I sharing this with the world?
Because transparency and vulnerability are how I walk in the world and I choose to share my own stories so that other women can feel less alone in theirs.
But even more than that, I choose to share this because I refuse to allow this experience to turn into something that I’m ashamed of.
I’m not ashamed of my decision, I’m not ashamed of the fact that I conceived life while outside of a committed relationship, and I’m not ashamed that I’m a sexual person and this is one the innate risks in allowing myself to embody and enjoy all of my sexuality.
I share this story with the world because women are so often scared into silence, as so much of the world spins an idea of what they will be if they let the truth of their experiences out into the light for others to see.
I refuse to hold the stories of my life quietly in the shadows, in order to protect the fragility that certain people and overarching culture holds around women being empowered in their rights over their bodies and sexuality.
I will not entertain the emotional burden of others taking issue with my choice to have an abortion, or any of the finer details in my story that other’s might find a problem with.
I choose to celebrate the fact that my body can hold life and that one day, it will hold life again which I will carry in it’s fullness so that I have children of my own sometime.
I choose to celebrate the fact that I take responsibility for myself, my body, and my choices like an adult, empowered woman who knows and loves herself.
I choose to celebrate the fact that it’s innately a woman’s right to choose what she does with life that grows inside of her, and that my body is mine and only mine at the end of the day.
I choose to celebrate that fact that I’m loving myself regardless of any passing thoughts of my own, opinions of others, or social constructs that tell me to do otherwise in a situation like this.
Perhaps some sets of eyes that find themselves reading this, may wind up holding the opinion that this story is too much.
Too much information, too much intensity, too much honesty.
While I realize that by sharing this publicly, I’m innately subjecting myself to reactions, this story is not about you.
This story is about my experience, and it is mine to tell.
To those holding the judgement of too much-ness heere, I tell them that I do not care what you think and your opinion does not concern me.
I tell the too much-ness to royally fuck itself.
What does concern me, is the shame and burden that so many women do carry around their choices to terminate pregnancies in their lifetime, and so I share this story in honor of us all who have walked this path.
I share this story to honor all of the women who have chosen to hold silence around an abortion they’ve had.
Whether it be one abortion or multiple abortions in their lifetime.
Whether she was supported by the other 50% in her choice and process, or unsupported.
Whether she felt shame about her decision or felt zero guilt about it.
This is for you, this is for us, and this is for all women.
When light is shone on breeding grounds for shame, it cannot survive. It can no longer steal our energy, detract from our life, or make us feel anything less than the beautiful, whole, woman we are.
My story is so many women’s story, regardless of the varying details, we are in this together and I share this in honor of erasing some of the collective shame we as women are have carried for far too long, surrounding our bodies, our rights, and our sexuality.