Nearly ten years ago from the day I'm writing this, I almost became a mother.
This is something I've only shared with a handful of people (minus those involved in the situation) since it happened, but with the current state of things in our country I've realized what support I can offer is my own story and experience.
I'm not here for pity, praise, or any response really.
I'm not here for your approval, acceptance, disapproval, or unacceptance.
I'm not here to "change your mind" or make you agree with me.
My only hope here is to support those who may be going through/have gone through something similar so they know they aren't alone, and to shed light for those who haven't been through this situation to hopefully really hear and understand the perspective from someone who went through it firsthand.
With that, here it goes....
Before I got pregnant I was 100% "pro-life."
I mean, I grew up in a Christian family - mostly Baptist, the kind of Christians I could write stories about what was said in done in the name of "religious values"- you know what I mean.
Nothing against religion itself. If it gives you purpose, peace, and enlightenment, that's amazing! If you use it to instill fear, shame, and guilt into others so you can judge and manipulate them into doing what you think is "right"... that's when I personally have issues with it.
Anyway, we're not here to talk about religion, but I want to give you the frame of reference that at the time I was 21, trying to "find myself" as a somewhat fresh-out-of-the-nest adult, but still had a lot of lingering beliefs and ideas from years of being told if I didn't believe/behave in x, y, and z I would be eternally damned to Hell, and I didn't take that very lightly. Being very anti-abortion and thinking people need to, "Be responsible and own up to the consequences of their actions" was one of those beliefs.
Then I found out I was pregnant.
At first I thought it was the flu, everyone at work was sick and I hadn't missed a period. It honestly wasn't until I was with an old friend of mine who was a nurse, that she suggested I get a test. So I did, and it came back positive. I remember as I watched it, my vision blurred and all I could hear was, "Mommy... Mom... Mommy..." over and over again (much like that one Family Guy scene, except less funny) and I got scared. I'm sure many people feel scared when this happens, but I don't know if suffocation, drowning, or despair is the kind of fear you want to experience.
I was straight up terrified. After doing the math that I was only 2.5 weeks along, I had to tell my at-the-time boyfriend about our situation.
Now, this boyfriend and I had a terrible, awful relationship. Deep down, I knew the relationship was bad, but I hadn't consciously come to terms with how bad it actually was at this point in time and my self-worth was still hanging out in the gutter. It was abusive in various forms, and in hindsight we were definitely trauma-bonded in our connection to each other. Similarly, I could write stories about the experiences and lessons from this relationship alone, but for now all you need to know is that I was in an unhealthy relationship with an (actual) abusive narcissist who truthfully hated women and children. (And before you ask, yes I was on birth control at the time...)
So on one of the longest-feeling days of my life, I drove home and immediately told him the big news. He was angry, making snide comments about he should push me down the stairs, followed by, "Don't look at me like that, I'm just joking. But it's not like we're keeping it anyways." He got even more mad when I told him I hadn't decided yet. I truly wanted to weigh out all of my options before making a decision, mostly because I didn't want to be a hypocrite. Although deep down I really did just want it to go away, I felt like I needed to take responsibility and make a sound decision on what was best. But I also wanted to have support and partnership in this decision. It wasn't just about his wants, or my wants, we needed to be in it together.
I'm not sure what was worse, telling him or telling my job.
I was working at a vet clinic at the time, as a front desk receptionist and lead receptionist of our grooming department, where I'd been for barely 5 months at this point. This place truly felt like family to me, and for the first time I felt valued in my skills there. In fact, I'd just had my 3-month review, and received tons of praise for my skills, insights, and adaptability. I loved my job before I told them about my pregnancy.
The day after I told my ex was the day I told my supervisor. I met with her privately, explained the situation to her, and told her I wasn't sure how it would affect my job capabilities in terms of heavy lifting, litter boxes, etc. She was overjoyed and ecstatic for me, to which I made a point to tell her we hadn't decided our course of action yet. She assured me that I would, "make the right decision" and offered a meeting with a friend of hers who ran an adoption agency if I decided I didn't want to parent the child myself.
After the meeting, she then proceeded to tell everyone in the office that I was pregnant. I also learned that nearly everyone I worked with leaned very conservative in their Christian beliefs - which I didn't think was a real issue because workplace rights, right? We'll come back to this again in a moment....
Anyway I met with her adoption agency friend, and that just didn't feel right to either of us. So the discussion began of how we would make things work if we were to keep it versus going the termination route. Mind you, we were both struggling financially (me even more so than him with my stack of medical debt), I had little to no contact/support from my family, and his family couldn't have supported us. We were talking about various scenarios trying to figure out how it could work.
Then the pain started.
I honestly couldn't tell you exactly when the pain started, all I remember is going from nausea to pain like I'd never felt before. Quite literally, if I wasn't in the fetal position with a heating pad, I felt like I was being stabbed in the abdomen repeatedly. Pain meds, tea, acupuncture, ginger... nothing helped. I even got sent to the backroom at work to do filing work with my heating pad because I couldn't do anything else, especially with a cheerful, customer service demeanor.
One day, one of my coworkers told me she was concerned and if I didn't go to the hospital willingly she was going to drive me to the ER. Which she ended up doing, because I did not want to go willingly.
In my past medical experiences, I was used having to explain and reexplain my situation to various doctors and nurses before actually receiving treatment. This was not the case here. The moment the nurse walked in and started examining me, she told me the due date, showed me the ultrasound, and had me listen to the heartbeat. The amount of alarm/discomfort in my voice as I mumbled, "Uhh, we haven't decided what we're going to do yet..." mixed with the look of shock/judgment from the nurse is a moment that I can only best describe as awful. When they talk about silence being loud.... yeah, I experienced it then.
Because I know you're probably curious, the cause of my pain was about 8 ovarian cysts that the pregnancy caused. I didn't even know that was a thing, but apparently if the hormones hit your body in high amounts quickly, you can develop ovarian cysts - one, multiple, who knows? Either way, if I were to keep the pregnancy, I was told they would most likely be there the whole time. Maybe not, they may go away, but probably given I was only 3 weeks along at this point and this is where I was at. After leaving the ER with stronger pain meds in hand to ease the ever-growing pain, I made one of the hardest decisions of my life.
I decided to get an abortion.
I want to take a moment here to take you down my thought process of this decision, because I feel like this is what doesn't get talked about enough. There seems to be this idea (and I'm guilty of having thought this before too) that it's just an easy-made decision because you don't want to own up to your actions and don't value human lives. This couldn't be further from the truth, both from my own experience and those I know who have chosen this path themselves. I'm sure some people reading this might still disagree, and that's okay, I just hope you can allow yourself to see things from the other perspective. Maybe you would've chosen differently, but I want you to try being able to understand why it was chosen the way it was.
As I mentioned, adoption was not an option in my book. With the amount of kids that are already in foster care and need homes, I didn't want to contribute to an already existing problem. I also strongly feel like if I were to go through an entire pregnancy, I would be in it for life.
Financially it would be challenging, especially considering I was barely able to work at my low-paying job, and probably couldn't finish college because I would have to work constantly to make ends meet. As I already mentioned, family support wasn't an option, it would've been up to us on our own. My health and wellbeing were at stake, which would've made the financial situation even more difficult (And it literally felt like my body was rejecting the pregnancy as a whole, like it knew it was wrong). It may have been doable, but then this wasn't my sole deciding factor because I would've been willing to do what it took if it was worth it.
A lot came down to the relationship I was in. When I thought about our future, especially with a child, I saw black. I saw fighting. I saw violence. I saw trauma. If we were already stressed and miserable so early in our relationship, how would it be with a child? Were we emotionally mature enough to not take it out on the child? Was it fair to bring a child into the world, into a family that actively didn't want it, resented it, and associated it with pain? I've heard "things change once you hold your child for the first time," more than I can count, but then why do so many children have generational trauma they're working through? Why are so many kids abused? I'm not denying most people love their children, but I knew I wasn't in a mental/emotional/physical place to love it and care for it the way it deserved. I would only cause more harm than good - and I was the only one who was open to it living at all. How would he treat our child? How would he care for it? He didn't care enough to grow and heal himself for me, what made me think he'd do it for something he adamantly didn't want? And he was already abusive towards me, what would that look like in the future? Would it get worse? Would he abuse our child? Would I abuse our child? Should I stay connected to this relationship, knowing it was bad? Should I have to stay through any abuse for our child's sake? Was that really the right decision to make, knowing best case scenario would still mean being broke, living in a high-crime area, and having these traumas to work through?
I wanted to be responsible for my actions, and I knew if I decided to keep it, that alone wouldn't be me taking responsibility. Me taking responsibility would be me committing to doing my best in anything and everything for that child from now until forever. Me protecting that child from harm, and teaching that child what it meant to be a good person. Neither of which I was able to do at that time. It also wasn't only my responsibility, it was both of ours. He had made it clear he had no interest in taking that responsibility for it, therefore I would have had to take it on for both of us. Would that have been fair to the child?
I thought about it for hours before I decided no, it wasn't fair and it wasn't right. Me actually taking responsibility would be doing what was right for everyone involved, and I didn't feel it was right to bring a child into the world through pain and fear, into a "family" built on trauma and hatred, knowing that it would grow up in abuse, poverty, and suffering. I didn't want our traumas and unhappiness to be something my child would have to deal with or heal from. It was not their responsibility. And I decided that if I were to go through with this, I would make it worth it. I would experience life fully, and heal and grow into the best person I could be, so that if/when I were to get pregnant again I could be the best mother I could be for its sake.
I then had to sit with this decision for 4 more weeks and multiple counseling sessions before I was able to get the procedure, and yes I thought about it all day every day to make sure it was the right one. So no, this decision wasn't made lightly by any means. But it was a conscious decision, and one I still stand by to this day.
I still remember the day I got the procedure, the flood of emotions that followed, the physical relief as the constant pain I once had subsided. It both felt like the quickest and longest experience of my life. I won't go into details obviously, but I will say I made me ex go with me into the procedure room with (which was against their protocol) because it was our decision together I was not going to go through it alone.
But honestly, what followed was worse than the procedure itself.
No, it wasn't that I regretted my decision or anything like that. I mean, yes, I mourned the loss. I feel like a lot of people think once it's done you're just over it like it never happened. This is just not the case. I thought about it every day, mourned it for months, was reminded of it when the due date arrived (and honestly I still think about every year it passes). I stood by my decision with surety, but it doesn't take away the loss and pain from the situation, because a decision like this isn't black and white easy-peasy. It's a complex decision with multiple layers. But that's not what was worse, what was worse was how I was treated afterwards.
Remember when I was talking about my workplace, my rights, and whatnot... well this is where everything changed. When I came back in, post-surgery, the attitude towards me from my supervisor, some of the owners, and some of my coworkers changed... starting with their open disapproval of my decision. Workplace drama unfortunately is normal, so I won't get into that, but what happened with my supervisor was especially difficult as her once supportive and encouraging attitude turned 180 into constant criticism and rejection. Every couple of weeks, she would have a sit-down with me about how my performance was lacking (even though I was working as hard if not harder than before), she would disrespect me in front of clients and tell them I, "didn't know how things were supposed to work around there, but she was working with me on it" over basic things that I did understand, and she worked with one of the owners to promise me a new job position within the company "that I would be a better fit for since I was struggling so much" then gave it to someone else. The same skills I was once praised for, I was now ridiculed for. It got to the point where I was having "talks" every day, being told to do something one way, then the next day being told that was wrong. I knew they were trying to get me to quit, but wanted to believe that they wouldn't do that, especially over something like my personal decision to not birth a child. Unfortunately they did, and after months of this back and forth, toxic behavior, they did fire me, saying, "I didn't seem happy there, and they wanted me to go somewhere where I could fly."
You might be thinking, "Okay, Becca, maybe you're just assuming all of these things and your work performance really did suck" , and that's fair to think. All I know is the timeline of events, when the change happened, and how weird it is to go from giving someone a perfect feedback rating to firing them in a few months with no real change in situation minus the one I just described to you. This is one thing that I'll never fully understand, but changed how much I allow myself to trust others, and gave me a lot of shame and guilt around my decision. Because of that, I was scared to talk to many people about it, thinking they would immediately judge and hate me too. For a couple years, if it somehow came up, I would say I had a miscarriage because I thought that was considered more acceptable than saying I had a "termination/abortion". I was ashamed - not because of my decision but because of how others made me feel about my decision.
I wish I could say after this I left my ex. Unfortunately it took many more lessons to get to that point, but one of the major factors that continued to drive a wedge between us in that time was the fact that I did commit to trying to become a better person. It was not an easy process, I was still not at rock bottom at this point, but even just the desire for better in my life was enough to not keep things the same as they were. He was, as you can imagine, unsupportive and literally told me to, "Get over it already" weeks after the procedure, and his abuse took a sexual turn when I didn't want to have sex for many months after this experience happened. I grieved my loss alone, I healed myself alone, and I bettered my life alone.
I also learned firsthand from this experience not to judge others for their situations. I'm sure people look at my situation and think I should've done different. But I know different, for me. Similarly, how can I tell anyone else to do, not knowing fully what's happening behind the scenes, mentally/emotionally, or otherwise. Just like I didn't want anyone forcing me into a decision, I shouldn't force (or try to force) anyone else into a decision.
I became 100% pro-choice.
Because I made the decision I made, I was able to graduate college. I was able to get out of a toxic and abusive relationship. I was able to travel the world. I was able to heal myself and grow into the version I am now. I was able to have a variety of really fun, unique, cool jobs. I was able to move to Los Angeles. I was able to make friends I never would have made otherwise. I was able to model as a semi-pro - getting published, traveling, being featured for workshops, and becoming one of the top nude art models in Denver. I was able to find my passion and purpose, getting to help others heal and become their best selves. I was able to have the deep, healthy, respectful relationship I've desired. I was able to start my own business. I was able to experience true love, inner peace, acceptance, and happiness like I never thought possible before. I was able to have amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I still treasure to this day. And who knows what else is yet to come before I ever have children.
The truth is that no matter what, had I decided to become a mother at 21, none of this would be possible today.
So yes, even though it was a difficult decision, I believe I've taken full responsibility for my actions and did what any "mother" would do...what's best for their "child."
And now almost ten years later, I'm done hiding my story. I'm here to share my experience and my journey at its rawest of stages, because without it I wouldn't be here now being able to support others with a difficult decision that many others have had to make alone as well.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading my story in its entirety and allowing me to open up to you.
For those who have been in this type of situation, especially spiritually-inclined souls, I want to share a little extra something with you.
Last year I had a session with a new psychic I'd never talked to before (she's honestly amazing, and I'm happy to share her info if you're looking for one). At the end of the session, she asked me if I'd had any miscarriages, abortions, or still births in the past. I was a little hesitant, but I told her yes. She then told me the soul of this child is with me, he chose me as his mother, and he understands and accepts what happened and will be here whenever I decide I'm ready to be a mother. And if I never do, that's okay, he's still there with me always.
Yes, I cried a lot. And it opened my perspective to the entire situation. Who are we to think souls are just one and done? If they're meant to be with you in the physical realm, they'll be with you when the time is right. And if that time doesn't come, why wouldn't they still be there are your guardian angels?
I know traditional Christian views might not agree with that sentiment, but I personally find it beautiful and peaceful to know it doesn't have to be a dark, painful, shameful, negative experience. Because no matter what, I know in my heart and soul - and his soul knows - that I did what was best for everyone involved and hold integrity in the decision I made.
And you did too.
If you need any support with this, I'm here for you as much as I'm able to be.