Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One Year Later

Maybe everyone does this trick, but I do it regularly and always have: I think about where I was a year ago, two years ago, three, seven, twenty. Where was I? What was I doing? I think of my past selves in unison with me now--all of us on this day doing the thing that we have done or the thing that we will do.

March 14 and 15 will always stand out for me. It was on these days a year ago that I had my abortion.

Me now, I am sitting on my back porch. It's unusually warm in my northern city tonight, and I'm wearing a sundress and flip-flops. I had Mexican food and margaritas with a friend tonight. I came home to my boyfriend, who is hunched over his computer inside, hard at work. I pulled a beer from the fridge and came out here to clear my mind and think.

A year ago I was curled up with my boyfriend watching Cool Runnings as a cool early spring night blew against the windows. Earlier that day, I had had laminaria inserted in the first of a two-day procedure. To calm my nerves for the surgery day, I had requested this film from my childhood. The last time I had watched it, I realized, was when I had my tonsils out. Do I have go-to, pre- and post-surgery flicks? Apparently.

I think about this blog regularly. I mainly think about the women who land here, who send me emails and who comment. I hope that this blog has been helpful to anyone going through an abortion. I think about you and my heart is full of love and support for you. What you are going through is incredibly difficult, and you are so strong. You probably don't know how strong you are. If you ever need to ask me anything, as a woman who has been through this procedure, just as another lady out there in the world, or whatever else, please do not hesitate to email me.

As for me, I'm doing well. I'm here on my back porch tonight, taking a break from my life to return to this blog that I once needed to share my story. My abortion isn't my day-to-day world anymore. I think about it sometimes. I think about what my life might be like had it not happened--in that "What If?" kind of way. But the moment is always fleeting, and I never doubt my choice.

These days my focus is on my career, my future with my boyfriend, my friends and my family. Talking with friends and family about my experience has brought me closer to them. The abortion helped my boyfriend and I acknowledge our differences and, in many ways, work through them. I can't imagine the people we were then bringing a child into the world. These days, when we talk about our future, there are children, but our relationship is stable and the pregnancy would be planned.

I have been off hormonal birth control since June, when the dreaded Depo-Provera shot finally wore off. I have been waiting for my menstrual cycle to regulate to its own normal before I pull the trigger on a Paragard IUD. The boyfriend and I have been using condoms in the meantime. Both condoms and humans are faulty, and we've had a couple trips to the pharmacy for Plan B pills. I'm pretty certain these huge doses of hormones helped further throw off my system, but my period seems to have finally regulated. I'm planning a Paragard insertion closer to summertime. Some of my ambivalence about Paragard remains. The longer and heavier menstrual bleeding with the Paragard sounds pretty blech to me, but I'm willing to put up with it to avoid hormones for now. If and when I get it inserted, I will update here as I know a lot of women wonder about IUDs.

There is no doubt that deciding to have an abortion was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but it was the only choice that was right for me.

If you are facing this situation and scared, I understand. I know. If you are ambivalent, I know. If you are conflicted, I know. There are so many women out there--1 in 3 of us--who know. And it will be okay. I, someone who never thought she would have an abortion--let alone a second trimester one, someone who was unwillingly shown her ultrasound, someone who experienced a rare complication post-op, I promise you that it will be okay.

If you are making this choice for you, without pressure from a significant other, a doctor, a friend, a parent, or anyone else, if you are doing it safely, and if know this is what you need, you are making the right choice for you. There are so many of us who can assure you: It will be okay. You will be okay.

If you ever want to ask me anything, again, please email. I have posted links on the sidebar that are meant as resources for women going through this experience. I used many of them when I was in your shoes. If you have a blog you'd like me to link to, or a resource you've found that you'd like to share, please email or comment, and I will post it.

I am 27, pro-choice and was (for a short time last year) pregnant. I conceived during menstruation, took oral contraceptives for three straight months afterward and then learned of my pregnancy at 13 weeks. I had a second trimester abortion at 14 weeks. I had a post-operative complication 10 days later. The odds of conception during menstruation is nearly* 1 in 1,000. I was one in one thousand, I'm okay, and you will be too.

Lots of love to you,
One in One Thousand