I never thought I would say it, but I just had a wonderful abortion experience! My previous abortions have been either uncomfortable or unpleasant and twice, unwanted, though I have never felt guilt. I have two lovely children born at home with excellent midwifery care. My younger is only fifteen months old. No birth control method has ever worked for me: condoms, various forms of the pill, which I have taken very conscientiously, other barrier or spermicide methods, etc. I have had a late-term abortion under very difficult circumstances and with providers who were brusque, and working in a filthy environment.
But today I had the actual pleasure of a truly positive experience. I considered, for about a day, continuing pregnancy but it is out of the question. It would not be good for any of the four family members already here to bring another person into our family. It would be especially bad for the children and for this potential person itself. I also decided that I truly do not want to be pregnant again and I do not want to experience childbirth again, though my home births were the best experiences of my life. So I was greatly looking forward to getting this over with. I was upset only to have to deal with it at all; my only regret was that the pregnancy occurred in the first place, and that I was unaware of a potential “accident” and did not take emergency contraception such as “Plan B.” I was also unsure of pregnancy for some time; I had fewer symptoms than with any other pregnancy, perhaps due to breastfeeding.
The clinic I chose was phenomenal. I wish I had gone to them before. Every single person was the very height of professional and compassionate. It was also very quick despite getting-up-and-sitting-down for sonogram, bloodwork, counseling, etc. As I suspected my sonogram confirmed a ten-week-and-five-day gestation. I was comfortable looking at the sonogram. The counseling session was, for the first time in my experience, a real counseling session. My questions, most of them specific to breastfeeding and medication, were answered as fully as I needed; I never felt rushed. When necessary the counselor left to ask the doctor to be certain of her response.
Before I expected it (I had brought a large book) it was my turn. Privacy and modesty were also respected at this clinic in a more sensitive way than I had seen at any other. The doctor was warm, kind, friendly and smiling. He asked if I had any questions; I told him I was nervous about anesthesia and curettage, and he reassured me I would be fine. I was anesthetized and the next thing I knew I was in the recovery room. I must have walked but was unaware of doing so. About forty minutes had passed since the surgery. I was greeted with kind smiling faces who brought me ginger ale and crackers, and helped me dress, and told me they were calling my husband so he could come get me. I rested until he arrived, and was walked out when he did.
I expected to have to be brave to get through it, but that I would be relieved afterwards. I was better than relieved; I was actually happy, even thrilled, that not only was my pregnancy and discomfort over with, I felt great about the experience. I work in maternity care and see firsthand how the compassion and engagement of caregivers has a tangible effect on women’s health and healing, and it applies here as well. I don’t even regret that the experience was necessary. On some level it was actually healing. As far as the semantics that the “abortion debate” calls up, the whole debate is ridiculous. The unfortunate thing is that our rights need protection under the law, when they should simply be a given, and accepted by everyone. Anyone who is “anti-abortion” is really “anti-woman.” The idea that anyone should be forced to bear a child they don’t want, and then told that they shouldn’t have sex if they don’t want children, is so infantile, so fascist, it doesn’t deserve argument. I *did* choose life- my life, my husband’s life, the life of my son and daughter, who have less than I think they deserve as it is. The life of everyone else on our desperately overpopulated planet, even. Having any children is probably irresponsible and selfish in today’s world. We should do our best, even those of us who want to be biological parents, to limit population whenever possible. I also don’t understand those who say things like, “…using abortion as birth control.” I understand they are referring to those who do not routinely use other contraception, but I also don’t see why abortion is only all right if it is a last resort. Or why so-called “pro-lifers” say that if only women had necessary resources they wouldn’t *want* abortions. Why is it so difficult to believe that normal, healthy women might not want children, or any more children?