Choosing abortion as a special needs mom

I have always been pro-choice since I was a young adolescent introduced to the concept of abortion. It was always easy for me to accept that we all have the right to decide for our own body. So when I became pregnant unintentionally in 2015, not even a year after having my second child, the answer was very easy then, too. Abortion.

In 2013, I delivered a baby boy who suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence. He sustained permanent brain damage and as a result will have lifelong disorders he battles, including mild cerebral palsy. When he was newly one year old, I longed for that normalcy I was robbed of with my first son. It was a big part of why I suffered depression, despite my son surviving and having a relatively okay prognosis. I still needed that experience I never got, including a non traumatic delivery, holding my child right after they were born, watching them hit those milestones they should be hitting, hearing “mama.” I needed that so badly. So in January of 2015, we welcomed another baby boy. It was the missing piece to the puzzle I had been trying to figure out for so long. I was so thrilled my oldest would have a sibling to unconditionally love him as his parents did, and for a sibling to motivate him in its own type of therapy, as specialists told me would happen. Most of all, I was so grateful to be given a second chance.

But in December of 2015, I was surprised by a pregnancy we had not planned, but quickly found ourselves facing. While the idea of a third child would be fine in another life where I didn’t have the responsibilities that come with a disabled child, I knew immediately it was not the right time. There were too many therapy appointments, too many specialist appointments, and too many days where I already spent hours crying because of all the stress. It was not going to be fair to my children already here with me, nor to myself, to bring another child into the world; no matter how much I wanted or would love that child the same.

Since it was close to the holidays, I had to wait two weeks to get to my first appointment. And thanks to Texas law, I would have to wait 24 hours after that initial appointment before being able to attain my abortion. During that waiting period for my appointment, I contacted an abortion fund for financial assistance – an organization I didn’t even realize existed. They graciously helped cover a portion of my costs. Because I was 9 weeks, the clinic I was going to only allowed you to get surgical abortions at that point. So surgical abortion is what I chose. Because they offered nitrous oxide, I didn’t opt to pay the extra $100 for sedatives beforehand. Plus, I needed to drive myself as my husband was watching our two kids, and taking sedatives required a driver. However, looking back I wish I did get the sedatives. The nitrous came out as what felt like pure air, and did not help at all. While the procedure was quick, it was very uncomfortable and not at all an easy thing to go through. I also experienced changes in my menstrual period for a year after the procedure, but it has since returned to normal, which I am so happy about.

After my procedure, I contacted the abortion fund that helped me pay for my procedure. I knew after going through what I did, that this was my calling and it was something I needed to do more for. Not just for myself, but for people like me too. I began training with the Lilith Fund in June of 2016. I am a hotline volunteer, and we speak directly with people needing financial assistance with their abortion. It’s been such a rewarding experience that I’m honored to be apart of.

As someone once said, “they tried to shame me, but instead they made an activist out of me.” It’s been two years since my procedure and not a day goes by that I dont feel confident in my choice. I am so thankful I had that choice, because so many people still don’t. Whether it’s because of stigma and shame, financial reasons, restrictions, or access. We all deserve the right to choose, and I won’t stop being involved and til we have that.