As part of our efforts to bust abortion stigma, we’re sharing real stories from real people who have chosen abortion. Anu came to carafem for the abortion pill. We find her story honest and moving, and we want to share it with you.
Interested in sharing your story, anonymously or not? Click here to learn more.
My abortion was not something I ever wanted to share publicly, but I feel like silence is no longer an option.
I had my abortion last year. I was 24, had a great career, a supportive family and resources to live a comfortable life. The morning I found out, I remember waking up at 5:30am to take the test because I knew something wasn’t right. Missing my period was normal for me, but everything else that hit a few weeks after that was definitely not. I was indescribably exhausted — like running a marathon after eating a pizza kind of exhausted. My skin was crawling and unbelievably sensitive, and I couldn’t keep any food down. I spent most of my day with my hands wrapped around my stomach. The discomfort was an unavoidable sign that I needed to take a pregnancy test.
After the test came back positive, I looked in the mirror and took a deep breath. I walked over to my bed, woke up my partner, told him the news and said I needed time to digest everything. I took a shower (actually, I sat on the floor of the shower because the morning sickness was debilitating) and drove to see my parents. I had lunch and was too scared to say anything. On the way back to my house, I played YouTube videos of women sharing their abortion stories because I wanted to feel less alone. From the outside, I carried on with my day as usual but inside I was sad, confused and trying to figure out what I wanted in life. I wanted to find the best way to ensure not only my health but the health of my relationship, career, goals and family. It was a lot.
This is a decision I never wanted to make. No one really wants to be in this position. It’s expensive, and for some, it can take a physical and emotional toll. It’s not a selfish decision. In fact, it’s a completely selfless decision — because in making it, you take time to reflect on a significant life change and what it means not just for you, but every single person that it touches.
I am proud of the decision I made because I made it for myself, my family, my future and my health.
When I look to the future, I do want children. I imagine it being a wonderful and joy-filled moment when I find out and share the news with my family and friends. But as I sat on my bed last year, with tears in my eyes, I knew this was not the way I wanted to start a family.
While there is no right way to start a family, there is a right way to start your family, and only you can make that decision.
After I found out I was pregnant, it took me one week to process everything and decide what I wanted to do. During that week, I had several conversations with my partner. He echoed my feeling that sadness and dread were not the way we wanted to bring a child into the world. Plain and simple, he was not ready, and neither was I.
After I decided I wanted to get an abortion, I started looking up clinics in the area. I finally decided on carafem right outside DC after reading amazing things about them. I walked into the clinic and instantly felt welcome. I never felt judged or concerned for my safety. From the second I walked into the waiting room, I knew I was going to be ok. They provided me with all the information and support I needed. I am incredibly thankful for them.
While not the case for everyone, there were a lot of tears and emotions that went into my decision. It took a toll on me emotionally and physically. What helped me get through all of it were powerful words that I remembered seeing on a poster years ago: “every child deserves to be planned.” Nothing about that memory remains except those words. They have stayed with me for years.
Those words were all I needed. They blocked out the disgusting comments people left on Facebook posts calling women who get abortions murderers, calling them selfish and irresponsible. They helped me block out the horrible words people left on educational articles that I looked through online as I was trying to learn about the procedures, my options and what to expect. I was able to brush off these disgusting comments because I felt confident in my decision — but I know these words could have devastating consequences for women and girls in different situations who are looking for this information.
It’s easy to be rude online when you are behind a screen or when you have never been, or never will have to be, in this position. That kind of hate does nothing but make me think you are an ill-informed and harmful human. Those hateful words actually make me more certain I made the right decision and I will fight until the end to ensure women always have this option open, accessible and without guilt.
My abortion does not and will never define me. It does not change who I am. It does not make me feel any differently about myself. I was responsible then and I am responsible now. I am a caring daughter, friend and partner. I am a hardworking employee, co-worker and professional. I am a devoted activist, fighter and supporter of the human rights of all.
To the keyboard warriors calling women sluts, selfish and irresponsible, I urge you to embrace science, learn empathy and reflect on your own life. Think back on the hard choices you have had to make in your life and imagine how much pain it would have caused if you had people spitting in your face and cursing at you. Understand that your religion is not my religion. Be okay with the fact that while abortion might not be the right choice for you, it can be for someone else.
For me, getting an abortion was not easy, but it was without a doubt the right decision. It took a toll on me physically and mentally. To those who say it’s the easy way out, you have no idea what you’re talking about. To those who say people use it as birth control, do your research because the logic behind that is deeply flawed. To those who say it’s murder, just stop, it’s not. To those who say it is a selfish decision, it’s probably because you have never had to make it yourself. Most of all, those who make it harder for a woman to make this decision by attacking them with hate, fear, guilt, barriers and lies: shame on you.
Sharing something so personal is scary and makes me nervous, but now you know my story. Nobody’s life was negatively impacted by my abortion — but my life would have been if my right to access this vital health care service was stripped away.
Women deserve the right to make this decision on their own. Understand that. Respect that. Fight for that.