3 Women Share Their (Heartbreaking) Abortion Stories

3 Women Share Their (Heartbreaking) Abortion Stories

What really happens when you decide to end a pregnancy?
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Abortion is an issue that has divided society for hundreds of years.

Human history has a tradition of women helping other women to end unwanted and dangerous pregnancies, often using life-threatening methods. Because of the blanket illegality of abortion in the 19th and 20th centuries, women were forced to endure knitting needles, knives, and the infamous coat hanger procedure with very little, if any, aesthetic, and inadequate sterilization. Mortality rates were unsurprisingly extremely high.

In the 1960s, women started pushing for the right to choose, and abortion became more widely available. Procedures became safer and easier. Women chipped away at the stigma of abortion as a clandestine, shameful act, and the pro-choice movement augmented the idea of female body autonomy. Regardless of this progress however, abortion is still regularly reduced to a matter of a mother's convenience, and often self-interest. The man involved is very rarely held accountable.

The stark reality is women have abortions for many reasons. Here, three women bravely reveal the real story behind the challenging decision to end a pregnancy and the often heartbreaking, regularly shocking and always highly personal circumstances involved.

Anna*: “My boyfriend treated me like a whore"

“I was 17 and had just broken up with a guy I'd only dated for a few weeks. When I found out I was pregnant I knew immediately that I would have an abortion. I was way too young to have a baby, to be a mother, and I didn't want to be tied to a man – a boy really – that I'd spent less than a month with, for the rest of my life.

The worst part pre-procedure was how he treated me. The first thing he asked me was, “How do I know it's mine?" going on to say it “wasn't exactly hard" to get me into bed, insinuating I slept around. We'd been faithfully dating and having sex together, and he treated me like I was a whore.

He refused to give me a ride to get the abortion. He was Catholic and said abortion was “wrong", though he never asked me to keep the pregnancy. He gave me half the money for the procedure through a mutual friend and I never saw him again. A friend of a friend drove me the morning of my abortion, and took me to Denny's afterward so I could eat. I was under the weather and tired for a few days afterward but never sad. I was only relieved to have it over with, and to get back to my life."

Jessica*: “Her name would have been Elizabeth"

“I was pregnant with twins. It was a miraculous, long hoped for pregnancy. Infertility had been an issue in my life for 15 years. I lost my first husband over it. Other things that stalled parenthood for us was a bout of the 'garden variety' of cancer; recoverable, non-metastasizing, but we had to delay fertility treatment. A glitch in our health insurance also meant we depleted our savings account.

I went back to college to finish a degree to avoid being in such a bind again, I hoped. Finally, a difficult, nearly abandoned attempt at IVF resulted in pregnancy. I was expecting girls. It was daunting and utterly amazing.

But I started to feel vaguely unwell, and felt incontinent when I coughed. The short version is that I was miscarrying the first twin. By the time we caught on, it was too late. I was able to deliver her in the Trendelenberg position – legs in the air, slowly. This is where is gets messy. In a normal delivery the mother would then deliver the umbilical cord. Afterwards, more contractions cause the uterus to stop bleeding.

However in order to save the second twin, I needed to deliver the first baby and not the umbilical cord. I managed to do this. From there, the plan was to stay on tocolytic drugs, and remain in bed with legs in the Trendelemberg for about eight weeks. At the time, the best stats indicated that most of these so-called 'salvage' attempts fail in three weeks. When they fail, it's generally because the now useless, dead umbilical cord rots, causing instant maternal sepsis, which is what happened to me.

It took me a long time to understand what was happening and why. Doctors and staff seemed at odds with each other. We were so distraught. A social worker was sent in to talk to me about death; mine as much as my girls. We were approaching a time limit because of abortion law that would take the decision out of my hands. We could continue with our plan until the sepsis took over. I would be dying or surviving; it would be up to me. My husband would be left to battle courts over the fate of the premature baby, because the hospital would be legally required to keep her alive as best they could, though probably for naught. George Bush was president at the time, and I remember being so angry with him for his stupid abortion laws.

It was the time limit that snapped me to attention. It was clear to me that Elizabeth – that was her name – would die. It was up to me, as her mother, to make decisions about how. And that is what I did.

I remember a nurse putting new meds in my IV to cease the salvage actions and facilitate the termination process. I remember thinking about the little kicking foetus dying and how I felt like I was dying, too. Afterwards, I felt hungry…an incredible, bizarre hunger.

Emotionally I was absolutely devastated. Just leveled. Except for the choice part. It came back to me over and over again, still does today, that I made the best, the only choice I could as her would-be mother. The best choice in the worst situation. I would have chosen differently, even traded my own life, if it would have made a difference. Instead I had to choose the best way for her to leave us. I feel a lot of sadness for this, even now, many years later. I don't ever regret the decision. It probably saved my chances of trying to have another baby; I have a son now. And, having since seen the pathology reports of gangrene on cords and maternal plaque, it saved my life. Today, that seems like a good thing."

Lucy*: “I had no family support"

"I was 19; definitely not ready to have a child. I was struggling to take care of myself and knew I wouldn't be able to support a baby. I had no support from family because I was placed for adoption as a toddler and never really knew them.

My boyfriend became extremely abusive and I didn't want to be tied down to him, nor subject a child to his immaturity and rage. I simply knew that it was the best and safest choice for me and my future children to postpone becoming a mother.

My abortion was done very early, so physically it wasn't too bad. There was cramping and a bit of nausea from the abortion pill, but it wasn't unbearable. I'll be honest, I did feel some guilt. My 'friends' were very conservative and all too happy to tell me I was a monster for not choosing to bring a baby into the world who couldn't be provided for. Mentally, I was quite exhausted.

In the end, my abortion did affect my life greatly, but for the better. I realized I shouldn't feel guilty for not subjecting a child to a life they didn't deserve. They didn't deserve me as I was then, and definitely didn't deserve the crazy father they would've had. And she or he also didn't deserve to be subjected to the same system I grew up in; going from foster home to foster home, group home to group home, with the chance of never even being adopted.

I've started college, which I probably wouldn't have been able to do with a baby. I have new friends who aren't hateful like my old ones. I have a job that lets me support myself without too much struggle and I've gotten to do a good deal of traveling and volunteering, all things I may not have accomplished having a baby that young.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to better myself and secure my future so that when I do decide to become a mother, I can give my children the life they deserve. "

*Names have been changed.


This story originally appeared on SHE'SAID', a global women's lifestyle website.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and check out these related stories:

Women Who've Had Illegal Abortions Share Their Heartbreaking Stories
Two Weeks After My Abortion, Blood Soaked Through My Office Chair
I Had An Herbal Abortion Because Going To A Clinic Made It Too Real

Cover Image Credit: Kristina Paukshtite
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As Much As You May Want To, You'll Never Get Over Your First Love

You never forget your first

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Your first love is just that: the first person you've ever truly loved (besides your family and friends). Maybe you've kissed a few people before, but with this person it's different. They mean something to you that no other person ever has before. Maybe you met this person when you were younger in high school or met them a little later in life as I did at the end of my first year of college. Meeting my first love transformed me, both for the good and the bad, and as much as I may want to, I'll never get over my first love and neither will you.

When we met, we didn't meet in some fantastical way, we met on Tinder right after a surprise breakup of mine. We had instant chemistry, and I didn't get to kiss him for weeks because I ended up getting mono right after the breakup (haha whoops). He was the first person I've ever kissed who I didn't want to stop kissing- ever. Yes, second semester freshman year me was super extra when it came to him, but being with him was so different than anyone else. Things progressed through the summer as we talked every single day, even though we never got to meet up because we were both busy, and at the beginning of my sophomore year, I lost my virginity to him. That was a big step for someone who thought she'd wait until she was married. He made sure I was fine and didn't push me to do anything I wasn't comfortable with. I'll treasure that forever.

He was someone I loved with all of my being, to the point where it was physically hurting me in the end because I knew what I felt wasn't going to ever be reciprocated the way I wanted it to be. That's when I had to end it, which was one of the hardest things I've ever done. To me, he was a boyfriend, but to him, I was a friend with benefits. I wanted something more and he wanted less, and I didn't want to accept that. I wasn't his first love but he was mine, which he doesn't know and probably never will. I have had moments where I thought I was over him, but then all the emotions flood right back. In hard moments of hurt is when I miss him the most, but also in moments of joy too. If I see a nice car I think of him, or of other little things, like a french bulldog or The Fast and The Furious.

Your first love leaves such a monumental effect on you as a person. They have seen parts of you others have not. You will always remember your firsts more than anything else, which is why your first love never leaves you. As roughly as things ended between he and I, he's always going to have a piece of me that no one else will ever have. The relationship we had wasn't what you'd expect from someone you call your first love, but his mark on me is what helped shape me into who I am today for better or for worse.

Don't let any negativity remain when it comes to your first love (if there is any). Let it go and remember the good. They will be a part of you forever, so you can never truly get over you.

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Why You Keep Falling In Love With People Who Don’t Love You Back In Your 20s

It's embedded in our human psychology to always desire deeper connections and meaningful relationships with the people we hold close to our heart, even if the feeling aren't necessarily mutual.

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Can love truly be both beautiful and heartbreaking?

It's a question I silently asked myself, sitting shotgun in a car next to someone I considered my friend.

A "friend" seemed to be the right label to define our relationship. To him, I was just a friend—who just happened to be a girl, a girl he texts regularly, jokes around, and can grab a drink with. And we loved each other as friends, because we both trusted each other, we had fun together and each had our own independent lives which would connect occasionally in a complete, non-questionable platonic way.

But slowly, for me, he was becoming everything I've ever wanted in a guy, standing right in front of me. But he wasn't mine to have.

And imagine being so close to someone you want except you can't have him because it might just ruin everything you've already shared together. Because what if you scare him away? What if he replies by telling you "No"?

That's the simple nature of falling in love with someone you can't be with.

In our early part of our lives—particularly in our 20s and during our college years, we all experience this type of heartbreak.

To name a few: A high school boyfriend who lives halfway across the country now. The hot guy you sit next to in lecture who already has a girlfriend. The casual hookup who you just can't manage to stop thinking about as you endlessly toss and turn at night. The platonic friend who doesn't quite see you as being something more.

We all at one point in our thoughts have imagined "coupling" or sharing a life with a guy who we can't seem to have for ourselves. We've always dreamt how things could actually work out if you actually shared your feelings with him except the closest we'll ever reach to it is in our dreams, not reality.

And to examine the logic behind why this happens, we have to first admit how we always want what we can't have.

Because it's embedded in our human psychology to always desire deeper connections and meaningful relationships with the people we hold close to our heart, even if the feeling aren't necessarily mutual.

So, it's not really this case of the whole Romeo and Juliet "star-crossed lovers" BS but rather, it's purely a one sided love which can most definitely be beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Beautiful because there's always a connection you feel which makes you all warm and bubbly inside but heartbreaking because you know this connection is merely flowing in a one way track.

So then, why do we tend to maintain our connections with these people who hurt us?

One reason is because you're afraid to lose him altogether. Perhaps you think he's going to go on full freak-out mode after you spill the beans to him. My piece of advice in this scenario would be to just suck it up and take the chance. Talk to him about how you feel because honestly, what's there to lose? Unless you're not reciting some sappy, over-the-top love story about how many kids you plan to have with him, you're fine.

But perhaps, the most common reason is because we assume he might eventually fall in love with us, too.

And if this pertains to you, gear up because I can write on for days about why this is a big no-no. Heck, I can probably teach a class or lecture to all of you about my elaborative theory of why you will definitely know whether a boy truly loves you or not. It's plain and simple—if he loves you, he'll make sure you know.

And you can't force someone to fall in love with you. Even if you pay them a million bucks, you can get them to pretend to love you or force them to be with you—but it's never going to be true love. Because true, unrequited love is effortless. It comes naturally. The fiery passion will be shared mutually and you won't ever have to question whether or not you belong with him.

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