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The Carletonian

I believe in abortions…and they suck

The baby would be one this June. I’d celebrate his birthday while finishing finals. I say “his” but I don’t really know. It was just a feeling, that the baby was a boy. But what a feeling. 

I know the baby was only the size of a dime by the time I had the abortion — I stared at that pamphlet for weeks afterwards, it was one of the only things I had left of the experience — so there’s no way I could feel him physically. And yet I could feel life within me. Life that was of me, but not me. My baby. His father never understood that. I don’t think you can unless it’s happened to you. 

Had I kept the baby, his father would probably still not be talking to me. That would not change. To think, I had the abortion for his father. Well, that’s not fair. I had the abortion for many reasons — one of which was his father saying he would leave me if I didn’t. He “wasn’t ready to be a father.” I wasn’t ready to be a parent either, but I also wasn’t ready for an abortion. 

At the end of the day, I took the pill alone. No one forced it down my throat. His father was sitting in the waiting room; he had left after the ultrasound. I had looked over my shoulder as we walked away from the ultrasound, searching the gray and black blobs on the screen for the baby inside of me. 

They gave me apple juice and goldfish afterwards, like a reward. 

I sobbed as I finished the paperwork before leaving the clinic. They don’t tell you how much it’s going to hurt. It was a loss. For me, it felt like I had just killed my baby. Medically, I know that was not the case. Now, I know that was not the case. I was mourning the potential of a baby. But that feeling was real. His father never understood that. I don’t think you can unless it’s happened to you.

Leaving the clinic, I was met with protestors. Their signs condemned me. 

We got Chipotle on the way back. The pain hadn’t hit yet, that would come a few hours later when clumps of blood would come pouring out of me. Abortions are messy. 

I came back to campus, didn’t have the money to buy a hotel room to bleed in, and tried to prepare myself for what would be an agonizing night. I couldn’t afford privacy. Instead, a case worker went above and beyond to secure me a space in the Alumni Guest House. That was surreal, rolled up on the ground and bleeding into a diaper in the same room I’ve had lunch with convo speakers. 

Oh yeah, they don’t mention that you get to wear diapers. The bleeding doesn’t stop for a while. 

You lose more than just a baby with an abortion. I lost my mother’s trust. I lost my boyfriend of eight months. I lost myself for a while. It took a lot of work to even be able to say the word “abortion.” To say the whole sentence, “I had an abortion,” took even more therapy. It got worse before it got better. 

Halloween night, a few days after the abortion, I found myself at the train tracks. Hearing the train’s whistle still reminds me of that night, but I don’t shake or cry at the sound anymore. There were a lot of reasons I found myself there. I was dealing with extreme guilt after having the abortion. Part of me wanted to be with my baby, and I thought I could get there with the help of a train. I was in a lot of emotional pain, and I wanted it to end. His father never understood that. I don’t think you can unless it’s happened to you. 

I was still in physical pain too, pain I thought I was exaggerating although it turned out I was actually dealing with complications from the abortion. 

I found out about these complications while in the emergency room, forcibly hospitalized for suicidal ideation and intent. I was alone again for the second abortion procedure. I closed my eyes tight. I clutched the hand of a faceless, nameless hospital staff member. They don’t tell you how much it’s going to hurt. I believed the doctor when he said, “just a slight pinch.” I shouldn’t have. 

I spent weeks deliberating before taking the pill, trying to imagine what carrying this baby would mean, trying to get my boyfriend to entertain the idea of adoption, trying to imagine what having an abortion would mean, trying to somehow not be a parent but also not get an abortion but also just not be pregnant. I wasn’t successful in any of those regards. 

Instead, I found websites telling me I was going to hell, that I was killing a baby, that the baby would feel pain as its limbs were sucked off. I found websites telling me abortions were the same as birth control, that it wouldn’t hurt, that it was empowering. None of those were true. 

This story isn’t meant to scare people off from having an abortion. This story isn’t meant to treat abortions as a bad thing. I am telling my story to support the people whose experiences are more complicated than the binary of abortion being either “good” or “bad.” This story is meant to complicate the narrative of abortions that people at Carleton may have. 

Abortions are healthcare. That’s simple. That’s true. But abortions aren’t simple. Abortions can suck. I wasn’t told that part of the story beforehand. The stickers slapped on computers and water bottles celebrating abortions don’t acknowledge the pain. They don’t tell you how much it’s going to hurt. 

You don’t need to feel shame for an abortion. You also don’t need to feel shame for not celebrating your abortion, not being happy to be exercising this right that so many people fought for. I am pro-choice. I am grateful for the life I have as a college student without a baby. Right now, my life’s problems are made up of essays rather than diapers, and that wouldn’t have been possible without generations of women fighting for their rights and mine. But this right is so much more complicated than a simple, happy success story. Abortions are emotional and messy and hard, and we should treat them as such.

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About the Contributor
Mileana Borowski
Mileana Borowski, Managing Editor
I am a junior Political Science major who loves to write! I take midday showers, have a professional stunt double (shout out to my identical twin), and I love my stuffed animals maybe a little too much. I have a cactus named The Cliffords and a plant named Francis. If you're having a conversation with me for longer than thirty seconds and I haven't mentioned my dog, please check in because something is probably wrong. Mileana was previously News Editor, Bald Spot Editor and Design Editor.

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  • C

    CSMay 3, 2024 at 2:54 pm

    I don’t think you’ll ever see this, but thank you for writing this piece. For sharing your experience for other people like us. I only just turned 19 on the third and about a week later, found out I was pregnant. The next week, I had the abortion. It’s hard and it’s so sad but reading this helps me know I’m not alone. I hope you’re ok now, you deserve to be.