Shawnee

Shawnee | East Tennessee

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I was lucky enough to not have a single regret, other than getting pregnant.

Abortion: It’s one of those topics that has been stigmatized to a point that people don’t want to talk about it. The problem is, we NEED to talk about it. We need to talk about why women have abortions, why they should be legal, what emotions are involved, how to support each other, and how to keep women safe. 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in their lifetime, yet many of us don’t know those close to us have gone through one. I want to alleviate that. I want others to know they’re NOT alone. I want others to know that it’s okay to have questions and to ask those questions.

The day I found out I was pregnant was just like any other day. I was at work, and felt cramps. I glanced at the calendar and that terrifying “I’m late” feeling crept up. My boss walked up to my desk, and I’m looking at the calendar, then at him, then back at the calendar. This went on for a few minutes until he realized what I realized. “You’re not pregnant, are you?! What are you going to do?” “I’ll have an abortion. That’s it. No question.” “What about your husband? What if he wants you to keep it?” “It’s not his body, nor his decision to make.”

Sure enough, that evening and 6 pregnancy tests later, I’m pregnant.

Contraception method failure. Sure enough, my husband wants me to keep it. Mind you, I did not want children, and our marriage was already heading towards divorce. As upset as he was, he recognized that it was my body, my decision. I found an abortion clinic, which was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I was raised thinking abortions were acceptable medical procedures. It never dawned on me that clinics were few and far between.

The first appointment was frustrating. After a trans vaginal ultra-sound, the doctor said I was too early to abort. This had nothing to do with laws, but with biology. He said I would have to come back in a week. That was the longest week of my life. No matter what you’re raised to believe, the stigma attached to abortion can affect your mentality. Was I making the right decision? Would I regret it later? Was I killing a baby? The answers followed as “Yes”, “No”, and “No”. I was terminating an unwanted pregnancy. I was terminating a non-viable fetus instead of subjecting a child to an emotionally and financially stressful upbringing. I reminded myself of this every day for a week.

The day of the procedure, I was not prepared for the physical pain that I endured. The medication never really kicked in, and I felt the entire procedure. I’m surprised I didn’t break the nurse’s hand. Emotionally, I was a rock. Would I do it again, if necessary? Absolutely.

Another thing that struck me was where the actual abortion was performed. The doctor’s office had a room, downstairs, which they locked off from any access. What other medical procedure is done where you have to lock the patient, doctor, and nurse in a room to protect them?
Procedure over, the doctor once again reviews our future contraception plan, and I’m out the door. A glass of wine, some fast food, and I’m essentially back to normal. This was on Dec 23rd. I couldn’t tell you the year, because it isn’t something that I feel the need to dwell on. The only reason I recall the date is the next day was Christmas Eve, and I had decided, last minute, to cook for 13-15 people.

I was lucky enough to not have a single regret, other than getting pregnant. Thanks to Tennessee’s state laws, I now have no choice left in the matter. I was sterilized because I did not want to run the risk of becoming pregnant and not having access to a safe and legal abortion after Amendment 1 passed. My choice was taken from me. I never want to see another generation of girls and women that have no choice. I never want to see another generation forced to back alley abortion clinics and coat hangers. I never want to see women forced into carrying a fetus to term if they do not want to, for whatever reason, to have their life taken from her during a medical emergency, or to be forced to carry a fetus to term that has severe birth defects or developmental issues. Talk about abortions. Ask questions. Get educated. Be there for others. Understand that all emotions are valid. Vote for politicians that are pro-women’s rights.


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