It's been 5 years, but I'm back. [VERY Long..]
posted 21st Sep
5 years ago today, I had an abortion. In the turbulent days following, I found Baby Gaga, specifically its 'Suffering & Loss' section. One post later and I was skewered immediately. Straight to 'The Drama Corner' with that one. But the response I received has been something I've often thought about over the years when looking back on my abortion.. There is even more to my story than I was able to tell and with the addition of an 'Abortion Survivors' section since that time, I feel that what I have to say might help another person feel less alone. I would love nothing more.
The following is going to be quite a wall of text, so I am warning you now..
Anyway, rewind back.
I had briefly skimmed the first few pages of S&L and riddled among the tragic posts of miscarriages and loss, I saw a few threads posted by young women in the same situation I was. At this time, there was no "Abortion Survivors" section, so there were obviously a few pro-life individuals who'd made their way to those threads.. But for the most part, there were some pretty supportive responses to these girls. It gave me a small glimmer of hope. You see, there were only a select handful of people who even knew about my pregnancy and the decision I'd made to terminate.. My friends swept the whole ordeal under the rug as though it never happened and while my boyfriend was as supportive of my choice as possible, he was hurt and handling it in his own way by bottling those emotions. I was left feeling entirely alone in the world with this burden of a choice I'd made.
In my emotional tangle and naivety, I sat down and made my peace in S&L. I will not repost what I wrote in its entirety as this will be long enough without it and you can still read it by going to my profile.. But the responses that followed are literally sickening. Not to mention completely misconstrued. Maybe the particular section in which I posted was not the MOST appropriate, in retrospect, but it was the closest on the entire forum to what I was going through at that time. I was truly and deeply suffering over my decision. I had not come to downplay the tragedy of others' miscarriages and stillbirths to selfishly seek sympathy and pity like I was accused.. I only wanted a brief moment in that pain where I might be able to relay my story and perhaps find even a single person who could understand what I was going through and tell me,
"You are going to be okay."
I did have a few amazing women, including Mara and God, who came to my defense.. (To this day, I am touched by it.) But as an 18-year-old young woman who was already at her lowest, the fact that I had GROWN women telling me that I deserved my grief, that my boyfriend should leave me, and laughing over the fact that they had completely run me off the forum was more than I could bear. It was as though a single post on my behalf was enough to judge me and to know my entire decision, my life, and the intricacies. How bold. There was more behind my decision to abort than I relinquished in that one post. Much more.
I was born to fairly young (22 and 20) parents with no college education. But they provided me with a fairly decent life into my toddlerhood and we lived in a beautiful home. Then my father became ensnared by the allure of recreational drugs. His addiction ruined not only the course of his life, but that of my mother, my siblings, and my own. He began to steal whatever money my mother had put aside for bills and he also began to beat her mercilessly. As young as I was then, I will never forget him standing over her, the swing of his arm, or her screams.. When left in his care as my mother struggled to keep our family afloat, I was often given what I now believe were hallucinogens, so that his friends could have some form of entertainment. I remember being 3 years old and having the most terrifying trip, while his friends were surrounding me, laughing hysterically. The contents of that trip are what have become some of my biggest and most irrational fears.
We finally lost our home when our landlord could no longer stand the beatings and the lack of rent being paid. For years after, we (the children) were seperated and bounced from relative to relative, whoever would care for us at the time, while my mother struggled to gather some semblance of herself. She also ended up going to jail during that period for trying to protect my father and taking blame for something he'd done. (I have only recently stopped blaming her for "passing us off." Some of the relatives I lived with gave me what have gone down as being some of the most normal and carefree times of my childhood. I am now grateful for them..) While we were being handed off between relatives, my father was in prison for drug offenses and larceny (to fuel his habit). I lived with relatives from age 4 to 6 before my mother was out of jail and stable enough to take us back. By that time, my father had gotten out of prison and swore that he had changed. They reunited and we were a "family" once more.
We lived in a constant stream of bad neighborhoods from then on, often kicked out when ends just weren't being met. In one of earliest we moved to, my brother (4) and I (6) were molested by an elderly neighbor that my father blindly trusted. (I have no actual memory of this. I only know because my brother recently divulged to me that he does have that memory.. He is haunted by the sound of my screaming and his frantic hammering on the door that came to seperate us. I can't tell you how disturbing it is to not recollect this at all..) My brother told my father afterward, but he merely went and had a talk with the man. No charges were pressed and nothing came of it. Shortly after moving, we ended up finding out that our neighbor had gone to prison for raping my two best friends/neighbors (also 6 and 4) for months. (I was entirely numb to this when my mom tried to explain to me what happened. Now, I understand why.)
As we bounced from rental to rental, my father got sucked back into heroin and beating my mother. Only she wasn't having it anymore and she fought back. They had some of the most knock-out, drag-out fights I've ever seen.. Why she continued to stay with him, I will never understand for the life of me. My mother still ever struggled to support us, while he was gone more often than not. He would come back when he ran out of money for drugs. My brother and I would be so excited whenever he'd come home.. The absolute and hungry love of a child is such a sad thing here. He'd con us into getting my mother's purse out of whatever hiding place she'd hidden it. Little did we know that was our money for rent, bills, food.. He'd be out the door again and more bouncing between rentals and skimpy meals for us. He was in and out of prison for pretty much my entire childhood from then on, always with similar charges.
During one of the brief times he was out of prison, at the age of 7, he took to coming home in the middle of the night after a drug binge and sneaking into my bed. I still occasionally wake up at night and feel his hands touching me or experience flashes of memory.. It makes me eternally grateful that I don't remember what happened with my elderly neighbor. As much as I didn't understand the nature of what happened to me with my father, I knew it was bad. I knew it was bad enough to truly devastate my mother who was already troubled. As much as it scared me and confused me beyond belief, I wanted a family and he was my father. I was so desperate for his love and attention that I buried it deep down inside myself. It was only a few months before it stopped all together.. But not before he callously allowed one of his homeless friends to "babysit" me while he was out. That man performed forcible oral sex on me in my bed. It wasn't long before my father was off again to prison for more theft and drug charges. We became nearly homeless for a year, living out of my maternal grandfather's busted up old motorhome in random RV parks.
I was truly a broken child from that point on. I retracted inside myself.. I was bullied all through elementary school because I was painfully shy and rarely spoke. I was an easy target because I would not stand up for myself. It did not help that during this time, my father made sure to make a pit stop back in our lives after his most recent prison sentence and he left my mother with a third child before cruising back out again. By the time I was 9, my mother let go of my father for what seemed to be for good. They had been together since she was 13 and she had stayed with him through the poverty, the drugs, the beatings, the jail and prison sentences.. But she could not accept that he had betrayed her by having tons of unprotected sex with numerous women over the course of their relationship. When she learned that, she emotionally checked out. The rare times that I attempted to seek comfort with her were thwarted with cold words. Being told to leave her alone or that I was a mistake that ruined her life was regular. She made sure that it was no secret that we tied her to my father and how much she would rather be dead.
I hid behind books and a solemn face up until my young teenage years. School was unnaturally easy for me throughout my life and I rarely had to try to get good grades. I was just incredibly bright. The relatives who raised me as a young child (mainly my mother's side of the family) were thrilled with me. They had such high expectations of where I would go and where my life would lead.. On top of my childhood memories and all the adolescent angst and hormones, the pressure was stifling. I became intensely preoccupied with death and suicide. I had taken to cutting my thighs, starting in middle school. The physical pain blocked out the emotional and mental. It made everything easier to bear.. Until I finally cracked.
My mother and my father got back together when I was 15. He swore that he was a changed man. I became a nervous wreck having him back under the same roof. I had a complete breakdown. It shocked my entire extended family because they thought I was just withdrawn.. They had no idea what was churning beneath the surface. When I revealed that my father had molested me, my life changed forever. (There were many times afterward that I wished I'd kept it inside.. But I know now that it was for the best.) His family, ever loyal to him despite all his wrongdoings, refused to believe that he would ever do such a thing.. After all, I had to be lying because I had always been such a "daddy's girl." I was completely cast out and blacklisted by the majority of them. An entire side of my family that I had loved and adored believed that I was just a conniving, attention-seeking bitch. They were blind to the fact that this was the very reason that I had kept it a secret all those years.. And as incredibly painful as their response was, it was no where near as painful as my own mother's reaction. It was as if she blamed me. She frequently belittled me and called me a whore, especially when I began dating. She and my father eventually split for good some time shortly after this. As poorly as she treated me in those following months, I found out that every night until they finally seperated, she slept on the floor in front of their bedroom door. (I still don't understand how she'd managed to stay with him and allow him under our roof for as long as she did after all of this, but I have never understood her.) The reaction from everyone made me feel like no one believed me and if they did, they hated me for it. I pushed everything back down and tried to forget.
It was during this time that I began dating my boyfriend that I would eventually get pregnant with. He was so incredibly supportive during this wretched time in my life. After a lifetime of feeling so disconnected from everyone, so unloved, he stirred something inside me.. His attentions and affections broke down the wall I'd spent years building. If everything I was going through emotionally wasn't hard enough, there was always high school (which I despised) and the fact that I was still regularly picked on. But everything seemed to hurt a little less when I had him by my side. It made things easier.. Despite the fact that I was happier than I felt in years, my depression could be ruthless and my anxiety came to a teetering level about 4 months before graduation and 2½ years into our relationship. The small group of friends that I'd managed to accumulate over my high school years (probably the first group of friends I'd made since I was a young child) had begun to fracture and the pressure of my maternal family over college wore on me dangerously.. My strange preoccupation with suicide was back. One weekend, I was literally 5 seconds away from swallowing a bottle of pills (the open bottle was clutched in my hand) when my boyfriend called, telling me how much he missed me and that he wanted to hang out. It was like a sign from God.. I found out the following Monday at school that a boy that I'd known who had graduated the previous year had commit suicide. Attending his funeral service was the most humbling thing I have ever been a part of.. I have not self-harmed or made a suicide attempt since.
I decided to live my life to the fullest after that and the next 6 months were the best of my life. My relationship was as amazing as ever, I graduated high school, I had new amazing friends, I strengthened my relationship with my mother, I got a job to help her out with her insane bills, I started college, and my maternal family was freakishly proud of me. I was at the top of the world. And then I found out that I was pregnant.
And there you have it. What is essentially my life story and the entire series of events that led up to my decision to have an abortion.
So yes, I aborted my potential child because I was naively afraid my family would disown me. The little family that I had left that had taken turns raising me during my childhood, the few that were still proud of me and I still existed to.. But my family was not the only determining factor, though it was all I cited 5 years ago in S&L.
I had grown up not knowing safety or security. I had grown up being unsettingly aware of money (or the lack thereof) and what it was like to be hungry. I had grown up feeling unwanted, unloved, and absolutely broken. Maybe I could have raised that child and done just fine.. But even the barest possibility that my child would ever come close to thinking or feeling the way that I had was more than enough to make my decision. I believe that every child should come into this world being wanted and loved. I believe a child deserves the security that will allow them to grow happily and enjoy their childhood. I believe every child deserves a stable and well-adjusted parent.
While I could have provided them more than enough love, that was just not enough for me. I was somewhat naive at 18, but I was intelligent enough to weigh it out.. I was financially unfit and I had nearly commit suicide 7 months prior. I was in no position to carry or raise a child. Abortion was the best option for me.
But abortion is not cut and dry. The decision is not easy. It has been something that has hurt me even more deeply than some of my worst childhood memories.. Because this was something that I chose for myself.
When I came here years ago, I was not looking for sympathy or pity. I'm not looking for it today. When I look back on my old thread where it now lives in TDC, a certain post from Mara reminds me of one reason why I wanted to return. She wrote, "I don't know if this makes an iota of difference to those of you who're angry with her, but I suppose I'm just letting you know that you never know the whole story."
She's right. You don't. With as much or as little information that one person provides in a single post, you will never know entirely what another person has gone through in their life. That was just a synopsis of mine.. One that you weren't owed, but I was willing to share with good reason. I've had a very smurfed up life and I know it. Imagine how much worse someone else's could be! And when it comes to abortion, you don't get to decide whether some words on the internet bear enough reason or grief. You can be against it all you want and you are more than welcome to feel that way, but in the end, you can only decide what is best for yourself.
5 years ago today, I had an abortion. In the following days and months, I was grieving and regretful. But now, I am happy to say that I am no longer at odds with my decision. You cannot help being wistful about the "what-ifs," but I know that the choice that I made was for the best in my circumstances. I have been able to grow as a person and to find peace in myself. The peace that I justly deserve. I have been able to get the education that I wanted (I have my AA and I am in the process of finishing my pre-major work.. It was such a brain scramble trying to decide my major.) and while I took a break due to financial problems, I am one prerequisite away from applying to nursing school. As bleak as things may still seem sometimes, I am able to look back and see how far I have come.. I have so many dreams and hopes for the future.
And while some wished on me that my boyfriend would leave me, I am deliriously happy to say that we just celebrated our 8th anniversary and we have been engaged for 2 years. (I know, I know! We definitely need to take the plunge.) He has been my absolute rock and he makes life so bearable. I truly don't know where I would be without him.. We are able to talk freely about the abortion now. Today, he admits that he was extremely naive back then and he believes what happened was for the best. We would have struggled so much and we likely would have fallen apart from the stress at that age and stage in our relationship. Though we are by no means ready just yet, I love that when we talk about our future children now that it is with joy and excitement. Having the abortion really sensitized us both on the subject of children.. It made us realize what a blessing it will be when we finally choose to be parents. We will be able to give them everything we feel they deserve.
To those who have chosen abortion and are struggling, you are not alone. It may seem hopeless and like the emptiness you feel will never be filled.. But it will get easier. As much as we are made to feel as though our grief should be stifled, you should express it as much as you can. Bottling it up is only going to make it worse in the long run. I know.. I've definitely been there many times. Take whatever support you have in your life and hold it close. You don't have to hide. You are not as monstrous and horrible as some people might make you feel. You made what you felt was the best decision for you. Whether the amount of obstacles you've overcome are many or few, you are the only one who can say whether your reasons are enough.
You are going to be okay.
It was brought forward 5 years ago how "formal" and "scripted" I sounded. "Like a magazine article." But I'm not the troll that everyone seemed to peg me for. It's just the way I write a lot of times, especially when I am trying to get a point across.. But I can loosen up. I'm a great listener. Now that I have reached a more stable place with my abortion, I would maybe like to stay around, especially in AS.. It's hard to find people in our daily lives who can support us during such a difficult time. They simply don't always understand.
If you made it this far in my writing, you are a saint.. And even if my post ends up being just another batch of nonsense to most, just a handful of people finding comfort in it would be enough.