"It is very hard to write my story because I have to get over the shame I feel for my past situation that resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. Along the years I tried to speak about it to a few people, but I ended up telling half-truths and what I thought at the time were lies. Nevertheless, I knew I wanted so badly to tell my story to a trusting and non-judgmental person. The only one I told the whole truth to was my therapist a couple years later.
This is now my true story: I had a bitter divorce at age 26 from a marriage that lasted two years. I turned to alcohol and pills with the intention of blacking out to forget my “pathetic” circumstances and often times I woke up in someone’s random apartment not knowing how I got there.
I met three different men on separate occasions and would bounce back and forth between spending the night with them, each not knowing I had another lover. Only one of them did I truly have feelings for, but felt so ashamed to show it because I was betraying his trust by sleeping with two other men. I stopped using birth control one month prior because I was determined after the divorce I wouldn’t trust another man in bed, only the alcohol and pills made me act otherwise.
I was careless having unprotected sex, because in a way I thought my body and life isn’t worth it anymore. I missed my period and took a test, of course turning out to be positive. Never once did I feel I was going to keep it, because I didn’t know which of the three men got me pregnant. I turned to the man I had feelings for, saying I got pregnant from my ex-husband the last month we were still married. I still don’t know why I confided in him, but I knew he’d be supportive. He accompanied me to Planned Parenthood and I scheduled my abortion.
Three different clinicians encouraged me to have a medical abortion, saying I would “miscarry at home and it feels like a heavy period”. I got the pills, went home and decided it’s best to be alone during the process. I ate a big breakfast, as directed, and waited for the pills to kick in- it didn’t take long until I ran to the bathroom and had intense diarrhea accompanied by heavy bleeding and cramps. I had to pee, vomit, bleed and poop at the same time and went to the shower to expel everything. I cried and my nose was snotting; basically every orifice in my body was expelling bodily fluids.
I am a doula (childbirth coach) and used my birthing methods to overcome the pain, but it still was excruciating. I felt I was “being punished” and deserved all the pain that was raw and embarrassing. I still bled after two weeks (something they said would pass) so I went for my follow up appointment and, lo and behold, I was still pregnant with remaining tissue inside my uterus.
No one told me that was a risk, and that risk also can lead to septicemia that can kill me. I ended up with a D&C with a doctor that looked at my file and said flatly, “I see the pills didn’t work. Well I’m sorry about that.” I started bawling, for the first time I cried, and the anesthesiologist yelled at me, “Stop crying!” because apparently my airways should be fully clear when I go under general anesthesia. I didn’t know that either.
For years I bottled in the experience, and wanted to talk about it. I lied to some clients that told me they miscarried in the past, saying that I too miscarried once and I understand their pain. I felt terrible afterwards for lying but somewhat relieved to at least say a “half-truth”.
I went to a post-abortion support group, also saying I got pregnant by my ex-husband, because I didn’t want to seem like a “whore who got pregnant by who knows”! I talked to a girl recently who sought my doula advice because she was freshly post-abortion and was undergoing severe stress. I told her my story and felt compelled to seek counseling and tell my true story. She was a godsend that helped me open up my floodgates, and now, this is my story.
I am no longer afraid to say I got pregnant by one of three men, I was 26 years old, I come from a religious background where this situation is “shameful”, and I lied to my clients about miscarrying. But all in all, I am proud to say I stuck to my decision and never regretted getting an abortion. I am happy now that I had the choice to keep it or terminated it, and I am happy that my body can conceive.
I feel free now, but the shame still sets in every now and then, like when I see a mother with a three-year-old, because that would have been me. My doula clients are becoming mothers, and that also pains me sometimes because I would have been that three years ago. I sometimes feel that I’ll still be “punished”, and my next pregnancy will result in a miscarriage or that my baby will have deformities or another disability.
That is my struggle, but this is why I’m writing my story- because finally admitting the truth is making up for those years I kept silent. I hope I inspire others to not be ashamed of their true story either." —Yael