I found at the age of 23 that I was pregnant...

“I found at the age of 23 that I was pregnant, during an odd timing and in which I could sense something was wrong. My partner and I talked over it, and we agreed that opting for an abortion would be the best decision for us both given our life circumstances during that time.

I had two appointments at the clinic. On both days I went in, I witnessed through my firsthand experience the stigma that ending a pregnancy comes with, as I made my way past the anti choice vitriol that was directed at me and the other women seeking to obtain the same service. Overall, my experience with getting an abortion was a positive one; the clinic was clean, the staff were thoroughly knowledgeable, the doctor and his nurses had amazing bedside manner, and the procedure itself was smooth, quick, and mostly painless.

It was afterwards when I dealt with the brunt of the emotional aspect. Was I sad? A little; I felt the sense of loss while the hormones in my body tried to accommodate a pregnancy that was no longer there. These feelings manifested for about a week after the procedure had gone I sat within a mental crossroads while my body took the time to level out to its pre-pregnancy state.

With that being said--I have no regrets about my decision. It wasn't even too difficult a choice to make in the first place, honestly. To this day, I am endlessy relieved and grateful that I was able to make a choice over my body that ultimately shaped how I could in turn control my future.

I still think about it often--of what could have been and what my life would be like now had I not obtained an abortion when I needed it. The thing is, I always only think of it in a positive light. Because why wouldn't I be grateful that I wasn't forced to become a parent when I'm not ready? That I was surrounded by supportive staff in a clean and safe environment, guided through the process by people who treated me with dignity and respect. Those who supported me in my decision recieve an immense ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart, in stark contrast to those who passed (and continue to pass) shame, judgment, and criticism for what I call one of the best decisions I ever made for myself.

Abortion itself doesn't harm women; it's the stigma that hurts the most. I've felt more love and support from those I have confided into, and from those who were by my side during the actual process, than those who continually try to convince me that I have made the wrong decision.

This is your life. It is your body. The decision to have an abortion is something to be determined only by whomever it facing the situation firsthand. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to feel about having one, and that a wide range of emotions is entirely normal and completely okay. The emotional aspect can be difficult for many, and too often it is the shame, the pressure of being made to remain silent, that causes the worst of it.

The damage that results is what makes it a difficult subject to talk about with others. It's something that most people look at and talk about in abstract, however, after my own experience, much of what I can see is the deeply personal facet that it embodies.

One key element the abortion debate leaves out of the conversation is those of who actually have them. It can be hard--but it doesn't have to be. Breaking down the barriers of stigma that surround a deeply personal experience allows us to be heard while shedding a light of normality on the topic at hand. Overall, it's an experience that can change you. But it doesn't have to be for the worst. ” —Nicole

#bestdecision #confidence #prochoice

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