- This story was printed in the DAWN issue.
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Photography by Ellie Alonzo
On most mornings there are only two eyes in the mirror. They are familiar and comforting, like the flesh that protects you from the world. While looking at yourself, you notice the change. This body, your body, has been yours and yours alone your whole life. When you were a girl, your body was like a garden; each mole, freckle, stretch mark waiting to be unearthed. And like the allure beauty often brings, many desired the fruits your flesh had to offer. While you continue to look at yourself you think of the transformation your body is undergoing. You have stopped bleeding, and your stomach feels heavier. Your flesh is stretching, breast plump and aching. Inside you, something foreign has made a home; has grown roots deep within you.
Um, the next day I was very drained from the experience and I kind of question, maybe I should’ve waited and gone the operation route but looking back on it now, I am glad I went the route I took. Though I found out through other people that I could’ve taken pain medication, but maybe my physician wasn’t informed well or as well as others, I’m not sure. So, that’s the only thing I regret is not doing anything like that to help with the pain. And um yeah, going back for my check up was when the people protesting really got to me because I had gone through that experience, and they were kind of harassing me, and the clinic I went too was actually right next door to a church and they had this huge wall, so right when you pull in you saw the people protesting, and once again…all men. And to the left were all these signs saying you are going to go to hell don’t do this to your baby, blah blah. So at first it wasn’t all that bad, but after going through the whole process and the pain, you know just the physical emotion draining it caused kind of got to me, but in the end, I am glad I went that route. And as I already stated, I feel like the painful thing was that my significant other at the time wasn’t there for me. I mean even though I said he supported me in a way, he wasn’t even there emotionally. I think it bothered him as well, or even in general and he just took it out on me by not being there for me at all. I don’t think I could say why he did it; I don’t really have a reason. I was just…I had another semester to graduate and I just felt like even though we had been together for so long, we were both still pretty young and had no money I was a struggling photographer going to college. He was a kind of a bum in a way, so it was just bad timing. Yeah, and I guess that was my experience.
I heard and understood the risks. I agreed to the abortion. My only condition is that Zac be with me through the two-day procedure to make sure that no problems occurred. With a medical abortion your doctor provides you with a series of pills to take at home, on the first day, you place two pills inside your tongue to soften the cervix. The next day you take two more pills to pass the clump of cells that would someday, given the right environment, become a fetus. On this day, your doctor will recommend that you have someone with you to make sure you aren’t bleeding out of experience other complications. Zac agreed to stay with me during the whole procedure; He dropped me off as soon as I had the pills and never came back. Because of the stigma surrounding abortion, I didn’t feel like there was anyone I could reach out to, so I lay in bed and dealt with the pain and the blood and the heartache alone. I did not gain the courage to speak out about it for several years. I believe that abortion is healthcare. I do not see the two as separate things. Women living in poverty have less access to abortion care, which forced them to bring children into an ill-prepared and sometimes unwelcome upbringing, completing the circle of poverty. Anti-choice legislators have realized that while they cannot overturn the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, they can prevent many women from receiving this care by doing their best to make it impossible. This leaves the opportunity for only women with a great deal of privilege to receive abortion care. I met victims of unsafe abortion. Women who have landed in the hospital after attempting to take enough drugs to induce a miscarriage, or trying the infamous “Wire hanger method.” Women are dying because they are being denied the health care they need. This is entirely preventable. My abortion was essential. There was never a choice for me. I couldn’t go through another painful and heartbreaking miscarriage due to my faulty cervix, and I wouldn’t bring a child into a life of poverty and resentment, the only life I knew I could provide at the time. I don’t feel like my abortion has fundamentally changed me, it does not define me. I do not share this story with everyone, though I am no longer ashamed of it. Abortion is healthcare. Women deserve healthcare. It’s time for the stigma to end.
The experience for me was rather traumatizing, as protesters were waiting outside the Fort Worth clinic I went to. While I was in college, I had done clinic escorts. But nothing prepares you for the long and lonely walk from the car to the front door while people yell hateful things at you. I got inside the clinic and broke down, and still to this day remember the nurse saying, “They don’t have anything better to do, don’t listen to them.” I still remember being fully awake during the procedure itself and trying so hard to keep my eyes shut. Nothing prepares you for making that choice. There’s that quote that gets thrown around on the Internet a lot that has never felt truer to me that goes something like, “No woman wants an abortion like she wants an ice cream; she wants an abortion like a trapped animal wants to gnaw off its own leg.” I wish there were more non-religious support groups for women/people who have had abortions. I wish practitioners were allowed to give more information. I hope one day, the process for a woman getting an abortion isn’t so emotionally debilitating. It doesn’t matter why a woman wants an abortion; she should be taken care of before, during, and after.”
There was like a huge wait, so I was there for like 3 hours, just waiting to see the doctor. I got my…”I’m going to start crying”… my sonogram. I wasn’t required to look at it, but I wanted to and have them print it out for me. This was at 7 weeks, 6 weeks and 5 days; it was a third of an inch long. Um, so I really didn’t want to do it after that. My boyfriend basically fed me a bunch of Xanax until I could go in the next day, and get it done. And I regret it. I really regret it. I threw up right after the procedure happened. And I could feel it gone. I could feel it when it was in there because my uterus was three times the size, it felt like a chicken egg. You know how you can tell when a person is in the room with you? I felt like that, but right after it didn’t feel like that anymore and that’s when I realized I had really fucked up. My relationship after that really plummeted, for a month I was really depressed I wouldn’t go out or anything, and he didn’t get it because he thought it wasn’t a human. It wasn’t a thing. I was being so needy it pushed him away, and basically, the only reason I did this was because he said that was the only reason he would stay, and we could do that in the future but not right now. He ended up basically emotionally leaving me after that anyway, so I really regret that decision. Having everyone else on Facebook posting their own opinions on this, on something they’ve never had to experience themselves pro or against, just seeing it all the time made it harder.
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This story was printed in the DAWN issue.
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