My boyfriend came with me to the procedure. It was really weird sitting in the waiting room looking around at all the women going through the same thing. Some were accompanied and some were alone — each with their own story that would likely never be heard.
The procedure itself was quick and easy. So much so that looking back, I wish I had had some sort of spiritual support heading out of there. Yes, it’s a simple procedure but it’s also extremely emotionally intimate. It opens up the potential for unresolved feelings surrounding the choice.
I know this because I lived it. While the procedure went fine, I wasn't. I started suffering from extreme panic and terror anytime my stomach area was touched. I was still with the same partner and yet I would feel completely violated when getting intimate. I would become terrified, get sick to my stomach, and have to pull away.
I thought I had dealt with everything quite well, but clearly the abortion had left a mark. I realized that shame and guilt are powerful emotional states that like to hang around.
This prompted a long journey in search of help and healing. I went from healer to healer with high hopes that someone would be able to help me. My acupuncturist said that it's common for women to store a lot of negative energy in their uterus. An energy medicine practitioner told me that my abortion had opened up a sort of Pandora's box of "stuff" that was already there. Everyone had reasons for why this was happening — yet couldn't actually help make it stop. This became the loneliest struggle of my life.
Where I Am Today
I’ve since been able to move through this at my own pace thanks especially to the patience, understanding, and support of my now-husband. It helps to talk about it, but I’ve been afraid to share my story with more than a few trusted people.
Thankfully, the few women who I have opened up to have been understanding beyond belief. Two of them are new mothers. They may not be able to relate to my specific experience, but they can relate to the complexity of the role and responsibility women have when it comes to life planning.
Though I have found some healing, I am not the same woman I was back then.
But instead of dwelling on the piece of me that I have lost, I try to focus on what I've gained. These days I honor my mind, my body, and my soul daily. I also honor the lives of others with a heightened sense of compassion and understanding. I see people from all walks of life every single day, and I honor and respect their story. I may not know the details but I know that their story matters and that it has had an impact on who they are today.
While we may disagree on what's right or wrong when it comes to abortion — and we may never agree — we as women and as a society at large can all benefit from being a little more compassionate.
We are all connected. We may not have all of the answers, but we know that one of them is kindness. Be kind to yourself and treat others with that same kindness. When we do this, we become a part of the positive shift our world is ready for.