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The story of my abortion – Albany Rose
This Blogentry was republished with permission.
I’ve heard it all.
“You knew what you were doing.”
“You just wanted to kill your baby.”
“Unless you were strapped down you have no one to blame but yourself.”
“You wanted that abortion.”
It’s remarkably easy to throw stones from the outside. It allows you to keep a distance from emotion and understanding. You can hide safely within an echo chamber when you believe you know everything, and can speak for everyone.
The night I told my dad and step-mom I was pregnant is as crystal clear now as if I was in that moment. How abruptly I blurted I was pregnant. The slow, quiet walk of my dad as he set down his work bag and walked into his bedroom.
Every person has a “thing” when you they want to rage. A tick; a tell. His was eerie and made my skin crawl every time. He would cross his arms, then as a shrink would remember that was a “defensive position,” and place his hands on his hips. Then he would quietly laugh with a sneer. An uncomfortable, quiet chuckle that made you feel worthless and made your soul beg to be invisible.
He asked what I was going to do, though a rhetorical question entirely. Almost emotionless, like if I felt anything my world would cease to exist, I said I was keeping it. His and his wife’s response were abundantly clear… there would be no baby. It was repeated what a failure I would be (and on top of the one I already was we couldn’t have more) and if I dared have a child, I could guarantee I’d be homeless. I replied with the offer of adoption, but that was turned down with barely a passing glace. One of the greatest problems here wasn’t just to lack of love that is supposed to come from grandparents, but the lack of knowledge that I had options. It’s convenient to tell women how they should have known better because it takes any sort of thought off you. It also ironically supports the abortion industry just as much as my pro-abortion parent because it feeds into the destruction of self and soul. One cannot talk about the manipulation and lies of the barbaric industry that is abortion and then pretend as if women everywhere are not victims of those lies.
I was made to make my abortion appointment.
In home, in school, through friends, there was no mention of resources outside Planned Parenthood. That was the ‘it’ place. I had no idea what a Pregnancy Resource Center was until years later. Often I will hear, “you had the internet, you could have researched.” This presumes that every person when faced with terror and a shock that leaves their world paralyzed, has the sensibility and rationality to do what they’ve never done before. I wasn’t just scared out of my pregnancy, I was scared out of telling anyone. I was convinced my mother would hate me (though now I know she would have been our savior) and I could barely make eye contact with anyone I knew from what felt like a thousand pounds of shame hanging over me.
I was made to make my abortion appointment. I called and canceled the first one, only to be infused with more fear if I didn’t get this done. The first Planned Parenthood I went to did not perform abortions, you simply went there so they could determine your gestation (and maybe counseling but I wouldn’t know) to direct you to the proper clinic.
The woman performing the ultrasound was quiet.
After a while I asked her if I could see the monitor, and she casually told me, no, and that while they’re not allowed to do that, I would not be able to see anything, anyways. I was 8-9 weeks along. Through most of our lives we’re told to trust specific people, even if that statement from our parents isn’t well thought out.
“Trust adults, trust doctors, trust police, trust teachers.”
From everything I was told by adults, teachers, and doctors, this woman worked in the medical field and I was a dumb, barely 16 year old girl. I scraped by in school and couldn’t make any of my parents proud.
I was scum.
I was a stereotypical bad kid.
All I wanted was for once to be one of the smart kids and I could achieve that by listening to a woman who obviously knew far more than I.
Years later I would find out that the woman checked every box, stating I requested to see my ultrasound, that it was shown to me, and that I received a print out.
“You have a choice”
My abortion was scheduled for the next week at a Planned Parenthood in Denver. The only part of my testimony that is fuzzy is the car ride to the clinic. I clearly remember the 15 seconds pulling up to the clinic, staring out the window and feeling numb, but nothing of that morning. As we got out of the car, my dad became a human shield to the single “protester.”
A man who had to have been 65-70 years old.
A man who held an image of The Sacred Heart and only wanted to wrap me and my child in love.
I cannot, in these almost 12 years, forget his face. I remember his eyes and their desperation. I remember he never looked at anyone but me. I remember his walk and the way his feet shuffled with a limp. I remember his voice.
“You have a choice”
That was all he said, as he was cut off by my father who broke out his tell. With a soft sneer and a for-sure attitude, he responded, “you always have a choice,” as he hurried me around the black gate and up to the front door. How the irony rings deafening.
This was not your typical Planned Parenthood building. It looked like an old ranch style home from the outside, completely hidden by trees on the outskirt of busy Denver. It’s no wonder it was one of the few torn down to create the monstrosity Planned Parenthood hotel that now resides off Quebec with its welcoming 8 foot black walled fence. When we entered, we were greeted by an unhappy, frumpy woman behind thick glass in a room barely 4ft by 4ft. She told us the cost ($350) and after she had received the cash through a slot, she told us there would be no refund if I changed my mind. On top of my failings, I can only stress how much this added to the thousand pounds of shame on my shoulders. A worthless kid who now would be even more humiliated and bring it upon everyone else if I cost my dad that money.
We sat in the waiting room with the paperwork handed to me. Standard questions about family history, if I had allergies, when was the last time I had sex, was I on birth control, etc. There was even an optional section asking why we were choosing an abortion. I remember feeling as though I was watching someone else live my life; marking boxes and writing down that I wanted to keep my pregnancy. I never felt like it would change everything, but I held on to the smallest, weakest hope maybe it would do something.
When my name was called for my “consultation,” I was taken to a small bathroom between the waiting room and their break room. My consultation consisted of an older, chipper woman telling me I can have the procedure there today in office, or I could be sent home with the abortion pill. My brain came to a quick conclusion that I was a screw up and I needed this part of my life to end, and that I’d ruin everything if I tried doing this at home.
So I opted for the procedure.
And that was the end of my consultation. When I was finally called back, I stripped from the waist down and sat back on the table. I never saw the same person twice, and never met the one performing the abortion. As the drugs I requested to knock me out were being administered, a woman opened the door and asked if three medical students could quietly watch for class. I laid there, legs in stirrups and my most intimate body part lay bare for the world, she ushered them in before I could answer. I began passing out, and felt the most intense, unbearable pain of my entire life. I know I began to scream because it echoes in my own ears, and then my world went black.
“One of the women let me see it, there was a hand/foot.”
I woke up not long after in a fog, and a woman helped me into a wheelchair. I was brought into the recovery room and it was like nothing existed, not really. As I sat there with my crackers and juice box, I listened to two girls quietly talk as they waiting for their time to leave. The words stated by one of the girls were so clear, but it was like I was dreaming. It wasn’t until years later I realized the accuracy and honesty of it. “One of the women let me see it, there was a hand/foot.” I wish I could say I wanted to throw up and run and beg forgiveness, but there was nothing left inside my soul. I was the embodiment of emptiness, in every way.
When it was time to leave, I was given a brown goodie-bag with a pamphlet and a one month free supply of birth control pills. What a lucky girl I was to be so thought of. For two weeks all I did was sleep and occasionally go to school. As my loneliness and emptiness faded, it was replaced by pure rage and hatred. I loathed the world, myself, and everyone in it. I picked fights and said things I can never take back. I couldn’t have cared about anything. From a relationship with a rapist [diagnosed] sociopath to endless cocaine and Triple C’s, I began to convince myself, with very minimal effort, that my abortion was the best thing that happened to me. Without that I couldn’t screw anyone I wanted and party to my heart’s content. I couldn’t make my dad proud by being a bleeding heart liberal and demanding that everyone with a Bible get bent and stay away from what I wanted with my body and my life. I was reborn in hatred, and it was the greatest defense and self-preservation technique of my life.
At 19 I became pregnant with that same anti-choice Catholic. I never considered abortion; I was happy with him despite so many of our disagreements.
For almost four years I raged against the anti-choicers. The disgusting self-righteous bigots who dared challenge woman’s right to her own body. The loathsome Christians who wanted to force women into keeping babies from rape that they would surely only grow to resent. I was fearless and no one could stop me. Not even my new Catholic boyfriend and his friends who tried to have civil discussions. There was no explaining top these people. They just couldn’t understand. They were men after all, what could they possibly know? Of course… the greatest joke was not what could they know, but what did I not?
At 19 I became pregnant with that same anti-choice Catholic. I never considered abortion; I was happy with him despite so many of our disagreements. When I came clean to my dad, that arm crossed sneer of a laugh came back as my boyfriend and I sat in the basement. “And why is abortion not a question?” I really didn’t have an answer, and before we could respond, my dad bluntly told us how having an abortion would be the most unselfish thing we could do. Like he promised years before, I was removed from the home. I lived out of my car for a short amount of time until my boyfriend could find a place for me. I temporarily was able to stay with an old high school friend, until shortly after we got our own apartment.
I called a local OBGYN and set up my 8 week appointment. I was told it’s important to have one early, and remembered thinking how silly it was. I never forgot the woman from the first Planned Parenthood and her echoing voice telling me there was nothing to see. The OB prepped me and situated everything to view the fetus on the monitor.
This was no dingy little black room however. The monitor was a decent size TV screen that I could clearly see a few feet away. After a few minutes, she stops and turns up the volume… for the heartbeat.
A strong, healthy, 160bpm heartbeat. Everything in the world vanished as I stared at the smallest human I’d ever seen. This chunky head and little body with nubs for arms and legs, wiggling around without a care in the world.
After my 12 week ultrasound and check-up, I began to spiral. I was in a depression that was unlike anything I had previously experienced.
You’d think everything changed in an instance since it felt like my psyche shattered and everything around me fell apart, but denial is strong. If you really believe all women happily abort and know what they’re doing, then you live with the exact same denial as us. It’s quite remarkable what we can convince ourselves to believe. Here I’d just seen a living human being growing, moving, with an incredible heartbeat, and yet I was determined to stay more pro-choice than ever before. I even told my boyfriend (now husband) that night sitting on his grandmother’s patio, that I could have an abortion right then if I wanted and he couldn’t stop me. If I could just convince myself that no matter what I could stand by the right to abortion, then nothing else mattered. Fortunately my desire to stay blind was shattering, and there was nothing I could do about it.
After my 12 week ultrasound and check-up, I began to spiral. I was in a depression that was unlike anything I had previously experienced. After my abortion I was able to convince myself I wanted everything and that nothing bad happened. After seeing the current life inside me, the denial wasn’t so easy. I could no longer pretend like I had not let the adults in my life and the staff help kill my baby. To deny that would be to deny the child I’d seen just four weeks early with my own two eyes. Feelings are wonderful, facts are permanent.
As I spiraled, I reached out to a woman I had harassed for a some time: Abby Johnson. She offered to call me, and spent over two hours telling me her story and helping me see there was forgiveness and anyone can change. That woman saved my life and with the guidance and support of my husband, I began to research. I had never soaked up information like that in my life, nor had I wanted to until then. The lies I was fed for years began to fall away, although much of my rage stayed. This time, because of the betrayal. It took years to heal; telling my story and sharing it, giving my son Tucker (the one lost to abortion) the only voice I could. To honor him and my born children the best way I knew how. It has been almost a decade since that ultrasound and life awakening moment, and never could I imagine doing anything more wonderful with my life. To be a wife and a mother, and a voice for so many. The chance to spare anyone from my fate and scars, and to never be weak again. I found my ground, and despite those who have tried taking it away from me, I have found my voice.
Posted By: Albany Rose