Real Stories : Abortion
I’m not going to say it wasn’t hard. But it was harder to be pregnant. So I looked at it more like saving myself than killing a baby. I’m not the first woman in my family to have an abortion as a result of getting pregnant too young. In a weird way, it felt like a rite of passage.
I went back and forth about it, though. I kept thinking, you’re a mother now, and whatever you decide, that’s the kind of mother you are. And then I would feel horribly guilty and think I couldn’t do it. But then one day I was sitting in the cafeteria at school with my friends and they were all talking about the dresses they wanted to wear for prom. And I realized that if I kept the baby, I would be pregnant in a prom dress. That was the moment when I decided to go through with it. I wanted to go to college and live on my own and be free. And not be the pregnant fat girl at prom.
But getting the actual abortion was fucking awful. (laughs) The first time me and my mom tried to schedule it, they told me I wasn’t far enough along. They said, we can’t see the baby yet, and we can’t remove something we can’t see. So basically, I had to carry my baby longer before I could terminate the pregnancy. That really messed with my head. And then I had to get a check up at the doctor’s office before I went to the clinic, because we went through my mom’s insurance. And that was a whole other thing too, because her insurance wouldn't cover it all, and she said she wasn't paying the out of pocket part. So it was like another two hundred dollars me and my boyfriend had to cover and I remember him bitching about it. We both had these little after school jobs and we didn't make shit. I remember that being an issue.
My mother came with me to the clinic but she couldn’t come in the actual procedure room. The doctor was a white lady and she had such an attitude. She looked at me like I was a bug. I couldn’t afford the anesthesia that puts you to sleep. I could only afford local. So this lady had to give me shots in my cervix to numb my womb. They had to strap my legs down because I kept flinching and trying to close my legs. And that bitch yelled at me. And then she jammed me with the needle on purpose and it hurt even worse. Once I was numb, I heard this vacuum sound. Wet sucking noises. Suddenly I didn’t want to do it. I tried to get up but I was strapped down. I started crying. Out of nowhere this old black lady came up to me. To this day I don’t know where she came from. She wasn’t a doctor or nurse. I would have thought she was an angel, but somebody else in the room spoke to her. She patted my hand and wiped my tears. She hugged me when I got off the table.
After the procedure, I felt so woozy. I almost passed out trying to go the bathroom. I had to call the nurse to help me off the toilet and put my gown back on. I went to sleep on a cot in this big back room. When I woke up, there were women all around me, all sleeping in their hospital gowns. It was crazy. I mean, we all walked in there pregnant and we all walked out empty. We all paid $250 for that bitch to kill our babies. And that was just the co-pay.
You come in, they ask you questions, they take blood, they do an ultrasound, then you sit in a waiting room, then they come and get you from the waiting room then they get you dressed. You have to go into a different room to take your clothes off and put on a hospital gown. A nurse comes in and watches you put your clothes in the locker. It's a ridiculous thing to have to go through when you could just go in and get the procedure done but instead it was all these little things you have to go through.
Go in this room and wait. Now that you’ve waited, go in this other room and change your clothes while I watch you change your clothes. Put your clothes in that locker while I stand here and watch you put your clothes in the locker. Okay now that you’ve put your clothes in the locker, put on a hospital gown and go in this other room and wait. It was those kinds of steps, which I’m not sure what the function of that is. I'm not sure why you have to put your clothes in a locker. I was like, why though? What is this? And really it is because of the way we do gender and sexuality. Of course as I’m going through this I can’t stop being a sociologist and thinking about why things occur in this way.
So when the doctor performed the procedure -- like I said, it was really quick -- she said, why wouldn’t the other doctor just do a D and C? And she said, they put you through torture because they knew this baby would never have survived. You have a whole bunch of blood clots in your uterus. That’s it. Nothing is connected to your uterine wall anymore. You just have a whole bunch of blood clots and and a baby connected to a blood clot. She said, that’s torture. I said, I know! I know it is! This is what I’ve been going through! I was teaching this as I was losing the baby.
And I said, I know it was torture and also they basically told me, we don’t know when it's going to pass. It's going to pass but you just have to wait it out. Why do that to people? If you know the the baby is going to pass, just do the D and C. So the doctor who performed the procedure she was like, what they did to you was torture. They should have never done this to you. You shouldn't do this to people.
But the procedure was done. I was able to go back to eating the next day, which I was really thrilled about because I hadn’t been able to eat throughout the whole time. I hadn’t been able to eat, I was so weak. It was horrible.
But what it made me do is be more vocal about my stance. Because it used to be that I’ve always been pro-choice but I wouldn’t talk about it. Its part of the function of what we do in this society. We don’t talk about abortion. We don’t talk about the reasons why abortions are important. We just kind of let it happen but no one talks about their experiences of it.
And by not talking about our experiences, the people who have similar experiences also experience the stigma and shame. Many of us have had them for a variety of reasons but there's nothing new under the sun. So it could have been, I had one because I didn't know if I had a baby, if I’d have enough room in my car. But guess what? That's my choice. Or it could be, I had one, because I'm going through a divorce and this is my husband's baby and it's not a good time, and it's not practical to have a baby. And guess what? That's my choice. Or it could be that you're having a baby and the baby is killing you. And that's still my choice.
No matter what the reason is, that choice belongs to that woman.
I had two abortions. One when I was 19, and one when I was 20. It was pretty much back to back. Like, I was with this guy in college, my freshman year in college – at least I was out of high school the first time I got pregnant – that’s how I was feeling – like it wasn’t so bad as it would have been if I was in high school.
But my parents were like – my Dad was the main one like, you ain’t having no kids, you too young! And then on top of that the guy that I was dating was abusive. Just before I found out I was pregnant the dude had tried to fight me and I had never been in no relationship like that. And the first thing I thought about was, my daddy going to jail cus he finna kill this nigga, you see what I’m saying? I seen this whole big thing and I said, I can’t deal with this guy. Soon as I’m about to break up with him, I found out I was pregnant. I told him I was pregnant and he talking about some, is it mine? Girl you know I was straight at the chop shop.
At the time, that’s how I felt about it, you see what I’m saying? I didn’t… it never crossed my mind. I never felt bad about it or nothing. And then, I met another guy – I had transferred from that college to another school and I met this other guy and he was like 27 years old and I was about to be 20, and he was my boyfriend after the other dude and I wound up getting pregnant by him. And I waited until I was three months before I had the abortion because I was not really sure if I wanted to do it or not because my parents – my dad and my mom still was like, no, I shouldn’t keep it. So I had an abortion.
And then I remember I didn’t come on my period for nine whole months. That shit had my whole brain fucked up. It was so crazy because every time I seen a baby, I would start to cry. My cousin – the one who I was telling you about – she went behind my back with my best friend and got pregnant – so then she had the baby around that same time. It was all this shit, G, it was too much. And then I have never been pregnant, never again, since then.
And that’s why I know I cannot possibly get pregnant easily because I’ve been with plenty of guys since I was younger and they all skeet, skeet, skeet, and nothing. I’ve been in plenty of relationships. I was with this one dude – we used to have sex every single day except for the days that I was on my menstrual cycle – every damn day, once in the morning and once at night, and I never got pregnant by him one time. That’s why I’m like, what the fuck is wrong with me? And that’s one thing too that bothered me – I be hearing them mama songs and I be feeling that shit. I be feeling bad. I get real extra emotional about that type of shit.