In 2010, I discovered I was pregnant. This news came as a bit of a shock to me: I spent several years in college teaching safer sex classes and assumed that my personal knowledge would somehow magically protect me from an unwanted pregnancy. I suffered from the idea that “smart, educated” women don’t need abortions and I must admit, was pretty harsh on myself when I realized abortion would be a part of my life experience. Because of this, the first emotion I remember feeling was genuine self-hatred for letting this pregnancy happen. I felt the need to keep it to myself, to suffer in silence, to not burden my boyfriend or my mother with my “mistake.”
It took several days for me to ease up on myself, show myself a bit of compassion, and really consider why I felt I should be punished and without support. Once I recognized I couldn’t afford an abortion on my own, I even went so far as to seek out “home” abortion methods to further keep the burden of my abortion out of the minds of those I loved. I took some risks, tried some herbal methods I found online, and after a few days of zero success and a growing anxiety over a pregnancy that I knew not a single part of me wanted, I decided to involve the folks who loved me.
And this is why I want to speak out – abortion stigma isolates us. It limits our options. It leaves us feeling alone in a world where, in reality, we have lots of support. Despite having support from my mother and boyfriend, I still felt like a terrible person for not “needing” an abortion, despite now understanding I needed an abortion just as much as any person who makes that choice. I felt like I had to have a medical reason, or a tragic story behind how the pregnancy occurred, or needed to be facing a bit more poverty or lacking familial support.