I had an abortion.
I made a decision to have this abortion because I was fearful, overwhelmed and simply did not understand how I could possibly raise a child at that time in my life. When I learned I was pregnant, my immediate reaction was, "NO!" I still wanted to pursue the life I was leading. I immediately called my sister who I can't thank enough for her love and support.
I was in Europe at the time. I then called my partner. After much discussion with my partner, anguishing over what we should do, we made a decision. We scheduled the abortion at Planned Parenthood upon my return.
We walked into the clinic, hand in hand, at our edge of discomfort. We had heavy hearts. I felt strangely calm. Stoic even.
After the procedure was completed I walked out of the front doors of the clinic only to be confronted by two protesters telling me what a terrible human I was. I ignored them and hugged my partner right in front of their anti-abortion signs. We went home to curl up in bed. I felt pretty damn terrible.
My partner told me, months later speaking about our decision, that you can never regret something you thought was right in a particular moment. We are all at different stages on the path. His support was unparalleled.
That being said.... the healing journey post-abortion was long, tough and revealed so much about myself. Even though I made a decision that was right for me didn't mean I was immune to the after effects of the abortion.
Reading Dr. Christiane Northrup's Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom I learned it is the meaning surrounding an event or procedure that gives it its charge and potential to harm or heal- not just the procedure itself.
So, I am writing about my story because not long ago I felt disenfranchised, slightly ashamed, lost, a little guilty and silently grieving about my choice; unsure of who or what to turn to for answers. I believe that I internalized society's messaging about abortion- that I somehow betrayed my womanhood. No, although I felt a sense of loss, I took ownership of my own future; what I believed to be the right thing in a difficult situation.
If you are going through this I want you to know you are not alone.
In fact, the statistics around abortion give credence to the fact that you are not alone. 43% of women under the age of 45 have had a voluntary pregnancy termination. According to Rachel Jones of the Guttmacher Institute in a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, "One in four women will have an abortion in her lifetime." (Guttmacher.org)
Who are these women? They are the women we know, love and encounter everyday: They are our sisters, mothers and girlfriends. So why the hell can't we talk about it in public without reverting to nasty words and ad hominem attacks, politics/religion or quiet, secretive language. I know from this post alone I will receive countless messages of mudslinging, guilt-tripping and judgement.
But this is exactly why I want to talk freely about my experience and how the healing process of this procedure opened up a whole new world to me. Even writing this more emotions have bubbled to the surface that I will have to process, embody and accept.
Like a typical fitness addict, I tried to push through the physical discomfort by heading back to the gym. I did whatever I had to do to distract myself from my feelings of loss. I didn't rest. I wanted my body to go back to the machine it was. Soon all this emotional avoidance made me numb to ANY emotions. I became listless. Depressed. A grayness had settled over my life a few weeks after the abortion. I didn't want to tell anyone and I felt I still had to train hard in Crossfit. I went back to the gym way too soon. I didn't want to listen. I didn't want to address the feelings inside of me. I felt so distanced from my partner, my family, friends. I was isolated and alone. It was utterly dark- but I didn't even realize. My mind thought I could just dust off the bad feelings and my body would bounce back to the pursuit of perfection, the pursuit of worthiness.
It was not until I watched a video by the brave goddess educator, Layla Martin, on her own story of abortion that I could finally put words to what was reeling around inside of me. That I was not alone. I had to honour and sit with the feelings inside of me. I decided to no longer ignore the wound of my abortion. I decided to use to open wound as a way in, to what Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls, "the Wild Self."
I began reading everything I could get my hands on about women's sexuality, healing post-abortion and the concept of embodiment. I had disassociated from my body, there was a mind-body split, that went deeper than just my abortion procedure. The deeply ingrained social conditioning of never speaking about women's pleasure, our pussies or our bodies in a very raw and real way began to scream within me. I was able to observe my low self-esteem and harsh self-judgement I tortured myself with for so long. I was awakening to the truth within my body.
I devoured every spiritual book I could find and began a practice in meditation. Through my readings and studies of the female experience I began to totally fall in love with being a woman. Reclaiming my eroticism, my self love and not being ashamed of any of the processes of being a woman. It's fucking awesome and I want to celebrate it!
Kris Bercov, a family and marriage counselor, wrote this, "The abortion experience has tremendous potential to either wound or to heal- depending on how it is handled and interpreted. So many women go through the experience unconsciously-- leaving their bodies the challenging (and sometimes dangerous) task of communicating the women's unresolved feelings."
It has been a long and gut-wrenching journey of awakening; but oh so necessary for me to step into the next stage of my life. I have become powerfully conscious through this pain. I trust the Universe wholeheartedly on my divine path. There are many clouded feelings. I also know that the abortion pushed me to grow in ways I could never have imagined.
I would like to take a moment to express how grateful I am that I live in a time where I can choose the course of my own life and my own fertility. To have the choice is something I will never take for granted and I will always fight for that choice. I would also like to thank the wonderful Layla Martin, Mama Gena and Dr. Northrup, among so many others, who have guided me to healing.
The Psychedelic Gypsy Queen