*NSFW: This piece was written in response to the passing of what is commonly known as the Heartbeat Bill in the state of Georgia. This is/was my real life experience and account. If you find yourself in need of support in regards to a similar circumstance, you are free to email me at email@example.com. No woman should be shamed by her decisions.
I went to get an abortion on a bus.
I was told to eat something before the procedure so I wouldn’t get or be sick. I took an apple with me that morning, when I really wanted a banana. I thought eating a banana that morning would tip my mother off that I was pregnant. But, days before, she told me to have a seat at the table and get a piece of paper.
My mother is a 40-year nurse. The first part of her career was in Labor and Delivery. She knew I was pregnant, I think. I think she wanted me to just tell her. I had asked her i there was a way the body could have it’s hormones so outta whack that you get sick. “Have a seat, okay?” My mother never said, “Okay.” She told me the only way that could happen is illness or pregnancy. I wrote that word and my ears burnt. It was the want of not disappointing her that pushed me to remain silent. It was the disappoint I knew would come from my family that made me stay silent. It was the condemnation I thought I would get that thought it be best to be silent.
I was the Golden Girl, you see. Pretty, smart and going to do so much. So much potential. I wasn’t supposed to get pregnant before I had a career or a husband. Yet, that happened. It was judgement and my own condemnation that kept me quiet. And for years after. I walked to the bus stop in the same hoodie I went to Dr. Ferris’s office in. I took the #41 Lee bus to the #70 Grand bus to the clinic. I had my purse and the money for my abortion inside it. I was told to bring the money in either check or money order. No cash.
I ate my apple on the way to the bus stop, as if I was preparing or a dark-op mission. No emotion. The only thought was, “Go and get it done. Go and get it done.” I had already cried. I kept crying. I cried the night before. I held my Bible, and I cried. I told God I was sorry. I asked Him to forgive me. To help me. I told God this:
“If you don’t allow me to have another child, I understand.”
I walked to the bus, feeling knowing, that this was the first and last time I would let this happen to me. I thought that if I never got pregnant again, I wouldn’t be mad. I couldn’t. I thought God forgave me, and I was prepared to never be a mother–to never be a mother. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be a Mama then. I was murdering a child–an innocent. And I was prepared to give up the ability to have a baby, because I was letting this child die.
I walked from the bus stop on Grand and Forest Park. I remember how hungry I was. But, I was on a mission. I had to get this abortion. Nothing was going to stop me. The clinic had a talk wrought iron fence about 8 feet tall. At the gate, there was someone standing there. It was an older White woman in a dress, with a hat holding a sign that read: THEY KILL BABIES HERE. I don’t remember her facial expression, but I remember she didn’t move towards me. And it was quiet. It was a group of people on the parking lot, but no one bothered me. I was lucky. I had seen enough documentaries, national news and Law & Order to know abortion clinics do get bombed. That providers are, can be killed. I knew that girls in my situation could be hurt, even killed. Yet, I went in.
The security officers greeted me, asking for my ID and appointment time. I gave them my ID and walked through a metal detector. Dominic said he would come with me, but I didn’t believe him. But I called him, and told him I was okay. I wanted him to be there. I didn’t want to be alone. I was still so sad that I used birthday money to do this.
I was there all day. All day.
I remember being herded into this sitting room with all these other desperate-looking women. I saw mothers with their heads wrapped up. I saw best friends being supportive. I saw an interracial couple–I fixated on them. I wanted Dominic’s arm to wrap around me like this blond young man did for his girlfriend.
I had to get height and weight. I had to pee in a cup, again putting a white cup in the mystic microwave to make sure I was pregnant. What was the most disturbing part was the ultrasound. There was this brunette White girl in a white Planned Parenthood t-shirt that escorted me to this room with stirrups. I remember they had to do a vaginal ultrasound to see how far along I was. She asked if I wanted to see the ultrasound. I turned my head, “No.” I heard the heartbeat, tried to block it out. The mission was to get the heartbeat out of me. I had to keep the mission, like all warriors. I couldn’t let my heart betray the mission.
I remember waiting, and being herded from room to room, with more ugly upholstered furniture. I was cold. I was quiet, I spoke to no one. I was, tried to be grave quiet. I was finally funneled into this room with like 6 other girls. The medical assistant was a Black girl in red scrubs that told us how to prepare for our procedure. She gave us all a gown, a pad with a big Kotex pad attached on the side and a medicine cup with 2 pills in it. One pill was to dilate the cervix. The other was a pain pill. I think it was a Percocet. While I was getting dressed, I noticed the room was filled with girls that looked like me. All Black. All pretty. All pregnant. All soon not to be pregnant. One girl that sat on the couch in a gown was so pretty. She had a short cut, classes and had her legs crossed on the couch. She said this was her second abortion.
I couldn’t imagine doing this more than once. When I asked, I said it was my first abortion.
Saying that word made me feel sick. I wanted to hurry up and do this and leave. I waiting in the room, cold and half naked, and alone. When my name was called, I was lead to this small white room with a blue exam table. I was told to lay down and relax. There was a woman that stood next to me as the doctor came in. The older White man balding and white hair with glasses. He sat between my legs with the stool provided. I was told it would feel like ‘a deep pinch’. She held my hand, this angelic looking woman with glasses. I held my breath and she held my hand. I looked at her hand as she held it. I felt something cold and metal enter me, and then pull something out.
I was told the procedure would ‘evacuate the uterus.’ My baby was sucked out of me and was no more a part of me. The doctor said I did good, and I was done. He left and shut the door. The angel that held my hand asked how I felt. “Fine.” I said, being relieved and cheery. I sat up on the table, trying to swing my legs off to stand. I almost fell.
I was lead to a recovery room to rest for a few minutes before I was allowed to get dressed. I laid there, on this hard blue cushioned chair and thought. The same nurse came and got me to let me know I could leave. I could get dressed. I was herded with another girl into this living room area to discharge with aftercare and medication.
I had no insurance. I walked to this window, and was given a brown paper bag with an antibiotic in it with pain medicine. “For the next two weeks, showers no baths.” She sat at this small desk below the this open window. “Take one of these pills everyday until they are gone.” I watched her fill out my paperwork. “You need to come back in 3 weeks for a follow up appointment.” I had no intention on ever coming back. I smiled and took my bag and left.
I left. I wrapped my hoodie around my waist. I went home.
I didn’t see Dominic for a week. He said that he tried to come see me, but security wouldn’t let him in. Knowing what I know of him now, he’s an utter liar. He may not have even come there, let alone called to check on me. I remember I had sex with him during the time I was supposed to be abstaining, and taking these antibiotics. I wanted to feel wanted. I wanted to feel like he loved me. And my body? I think Winter Santiaga from Coldest Winter Ever said it best, ‘it felt like dropping a pebble in the ocean.’
I stayed with Dominic a year and more after that. He said that he owed me a baby. He told me that he loved me. We tried to move past it, to forget it. But I couldn’t. I cried in his arms one night, just wailing. I realized what I had done–what he convinced me would be best. After everything I had done, endured with him, I expected him to marry me. I wanted to be his wife. He promised me it would be better. That he would make it up to me. The thing about that? I refused to be caught up in this again. I got on birth control–and stayed on it.
Every month I got my shot (this contraception shot called Lunell). Spermicide every time.
When we broke up a year later, I hated myself. I did. I was so sad. I had given up so much to be his girl. But this? My baby? Our, no, my baby?! Ah, nall. It wasn’t until I met the Able Unshakeable did I know just how broken I was. And how empty I became, and how unloved I was.
Don’t judge a woman that had an impossible situation, with an impossible choice, with impossible outcomes. Before you condemn her, or send her to Hell, think about if that was you or someone you knew.
Everyone got dirt, don’t be so quick to bury somebody else.
[image from bbo.co.uk]