For those of you who think it’s an easy thing to walk into an abortion clinic, those of you who think we walk in and leave an hour later like nothing happened, those of you who think women aren’t personally responsible enough to make decisions for our own bodies, here’s what a day at the clinic really feels like...
6:00am – We pull into the driveway; my boyfriend drops me off and tells me to call him when I’m done. (Um, yeah, thanks babe)
6:05am – I’m greeted by a wall of protestors, yelling at me, judging a situation they know nothing about, calling me names, shoving pictures in my face, making the whole experience much worse than expected.
6:10am – along with 10 other girls, ranging in age from 16-40, we check in and are told to wait until we hear our names called.
6:15am – as we sit in a cold waiting room, we’re reminded what we’re here for. Looking at each other, wondering when and where our life stories took a turn and how we got here, by ourselves.
6:45am – my name is called and I’m taken to a cold room, with lockers, hard tile floor and hanging sheets for us to change behind.
6:50am – I’m told to put on a gown and wait to hear my name called.
7:05am – I’m brought in for an ultra sound, I hear the heartbeat, I see the photos. My heart breaks all over again.
7:15am – I’m brought back into the cold room with lockers and tile floor, yet again, waiting to hear my name called.
8:05am – my name is called. I’m walked down a short hallway and taken into the procedure room.
8:10am – I’m asked to confirm my name and birthday. I’m then asked to lay down on the table, all the while, they are still in the process of wheeling out the girl before me. I lay down on my back and I’m asked to place my feet into stirrups. Not the kind we’re used to at the Gynecologist. These ones are higher, colder and would make any person feel horribly vulnerable.
8:15am – An IV is administered, a mask is put on my face to put me to sleep and a machine that sounds like a vacuum is turned on before I fall asleep. In that moment, tears run down the side of my face onto the pillow I’m lying on, in this moment I realize these are my final minutes with my unborn baby.
8:45am - I wake up. I’m in horrible pain, I’m bleeding, I’m disoriented, I’m sick, throwing up on myself from the anesthesia and I’m left there to wait because they only have 1 nurse to tend to 10 women.
9:15am – I’m cleared to leave, out the back door as to not be bombarded by protestors…again. Bent over, holding my stomach, I’m able to get in the car with the help of my cousin. I immediately start to sob.
1 month later – depressed, still recovering and in constant pain, crying all the time, feeling worthless, feeling alone, dirty and like I can never take enough showers to wash off the pain of that day.
2 months later – still depressed, crying in the shower everyday so no one will hear, having recurring nightmares of that day and the sound of the vacuum.
3 months later – even more depressed, questioning my decision, knowing that I made the right one, but still wondering if I could have made it, knowing I couldn’t.
6 months later – those damn nightmares still taking up space in my mind
1 year later – I still cry, every time I see a baby or one of my friends becomes pregnant I immediately go back to a depressed state. Why do they get the fairy tale? Why didn’t their boyfriends leave? Why, just why?
Almost 7 years later and I still remember every moment from that day. Every. Single. Moment. I can tell you what I was wearing, I can tell you how I felt, I can tell you how cold the metal was when I laid on the table.
But I can also tell you that it was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. At 23 years old, I wasn’t strong enough mentally or physically to bring another life into this world. My life now is full, I accomplished things I never dreamed that I could do before, because I decided to be selfless instead of selfish.
Some of you may not agree with abortion and that’s fine. What’s not fine is judging someone, calling them names, making them feel like less of a person because they decided to put themselves first. Until you’ve felt that cold metal on your back, gone through the months of recovery and had to pick yourself up and hold your head high, you don’t get to judge me. You don’t get to say that what I did was wrong.
What is currently happening in our country is embarrassing. When did it become okay for a room full of men to tell me, my mom, my sister, my cousins, my aunts, my grandma, my friends or any other woman, what she can and cannot do with her body? One of the alternatives to abortions is death. Women all over the US and the world will be forced to carry babies to term, even if it endangers their lives. They’ll throw themselves down stairs, leave babies in trash cans, abandon them at fire stations or hospitals, and they’ll be forced to find health care that can and will endanger their lives. If we have enough money as a nation to pay for a “Wall”, then we have enough money to fund these treatment centers that offer a wide variety of treatments. Don’t forget, no government funds go towards abortion services, they do go towards birth control, STD and STI tests, pregnancy tests, mental health care, and here’s the one that might shock you, some people use Planned Parenthood as their main health care provider, not because of money, but because they offer amazing services and care.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, until these men grow a pair of ovaries, they most certainly are not going to tell me what I can do with mine.