Paper planes

Author: Rachel
Abortion Date: 8/16/16

I never thought going through an experience like this would be so painful. I never thought I’d be so emotionally invested and devastated, but I know that whichever path I took: child or abortion….that there would be something lost in each possible reality. It’s a lose-lose…depending on how you look at was a lose-lose the moment I got pregnant too early…in the wrong time and place. I had to look down the futures of each path and decide which outcome I wanted to experience. I chose abortion, but let me just say- it’s not what I WANTED to do…it’s more of what I HAD to do.

I got pregnant at 20 years old. My boyfriend and I, who were in love and still in love, had been dating for about half a year… but felt like longer. I- a 20 year old waitress living alone in the city, struggling to provide by myself because my parents live in Florida and I am in Pennsylvania. My boyfriend – a 25 year old also just scraping by in the city while he works full time(& goes to school full time) at a low paying company. He only sticks with that company because they pay for their employees schooling, and my boyfriend wanted to achieve a master degree to eventually better his life and improve income. I- a struggling 20 year old…had/have no health insurance. I was unable to get on my parents health insurance due to not being able to send down my birth certificate in time. So both of us felt/are already feeling behind in life in ways, and don’t feel ready to move onto a new stage of our lives: parenthood. My boyfriend and I also discussed what we would do if I accidentally got pregnant. We both agreed that if it happened in a bad time like this where we both have no money for ourselves let alone a child and daycare/etc….that we’d abort. We both said those words and spoke about it with no emotional connection, and I know we both thought it would be way easier. We were wrong….unless you 1. Bury your feelings 2. Are a sociopath ….it’s hard not to deeply care and think about the “what – ifs”…. My boyfriend also does not talk to his parents. They were abusive growing up, and he does not have them as support in any way. My boyfriend compensated with a lack of family…& collected a lot of close friends in his early adulthood. He considers them family. He would feel that parenthood too early would force him to lose his close friendships. If I would have chose to keep the child without him agreeing – he stated he would have stepped up to the plate as a father and partner to me….but described that he’d feel a great deal of loss of a stage in his life he’s not ready to let go. I firmly believe that if I chose parenthood with him, that id watch him crumble../& feel responsible. I’d watch his fun social personality mold into a stressed out parent desperately trying not to end up like his miserable parents, who had actually told him that he ruined their lives from being born. I wouldn’t be able to live with the pain it would cause him if he felt like an inadequate father…with no family and friends. I’m sure that(even though he wouldn’t want to feel this way towards me because he loves me) that he would surely feel resentment towards me. I could see in the future , that if I had a child too young with him, that we might end up divorced or separated, but with an unescapable life tie together. I love him so much that I know deep in my heart , that even if I’d move on to marry and have kids with someone else after having a kid with him- that I would always have some sort of feelings for him that no one could ever replace. I don’t want both of us, and our child to end up miserable. I want to be able to attend our child’s baseball practices, or cheerleading events , and be able to afford the things my child asks for. Even though I guarantee that our child would be an intelligent human being regardless of growing up in poverty or wealth….there are some things a child cannot unsee: “mommy and daddy are fighting again” “daddy is sad again” “mommy and daddy can’t afford that” “mommy and daddy got divorced”. These things forever effect a child. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for that.

On the flip side, I didn’t know how hard aborting would be, regardless of the “good” reasoning I thought I had. Only women who have been pregnant could possibly understand what it feels like to have a life inside them, and then have it sucked out. I sucked out the life inside of me,….and I felt a sense of lonliness and hollowness. It’s as if there was an intuition I had….a ‘supernatural connection’ with the life that had grown inside of me for 9 weeks…..I think that that is a feeling I’ll never be able to quite get over…I can only come to terms with what happened and accept it…& move on. But I’ll never look back at these memories as anything other than the saddest thing I’ve ever known.

My experience with planned parenthood was very good….in the ways that the process was concise and the staff was very professional and friendly. I didn’t feel so awkward around those people. I felt comfortable. I felt at peace emotionally the entire time in the clinic, except for two moments. I was there for an entirety of 5 hours. There seemed to be a lot of people ‘in line’ that day. My boyfriend and I split $415 for a surgical abortion of 9 weeks and 4 days. I felt like I was warned of all the possibilities and knew what to expect for the most part, so I did not feel blind sided and felt that those people did their job. The part that killed me, and the part that I was NOT ready for(a part that no one could possibility ever prepare me for)…was having to choice to look at the ultrasound. I chose to, because the pregnancy felt surreal , and I was surely curious. I felt like the curiosity would eat away at me. Those were the extent of my thoughts before it really hit me. It hit me,…looking at it…how cute it was. How I thought it may have sort of already looked like me. How when I looked at it, I felt some unexplainable connection and feeling of familiarity….followed with extreme guilt, loss, and sadness. I had humanized it. Sometimes people refer to those fetuses as “just a clump of cells that can’t feel anything”….but after looking at that sonogram, that’s not how I looked at it. I wondered if it knew that in few short moments it was going to die….and as peaceful and at rest as it looks- that’s it’s not safe. The doctors gave me a moment alone in the room, and I profusely apologized to the possible consciousness and ‘soul’ that was possibly in there(that I felt was in there). I apologized in my mind and asked that he or she would forgive me in what I’m about to allow to happen. I asked that God forgive me. And I came to terms with the fact that these are the last moments I’ll be pregnant. The life inside will be gone soon. I cried.

There was waiting time in between the ultrasound and actual abortion procedure. There were more steps to be taken and a few more tests to be done. I had felt like I got a good cry in and felt okay. I had crackers and coffee in the waiting room. Everything was okay again until the actual procedure. It was painful, even though I know the doctors did all they could make it less painful and be supportive during it, telling me to breath in and out deeply. The hard part was hearing the traumatizing noises of it being sucked out through that tube. I heard that once. , then the rest of it was her painfully suctioning the rest of possibly fetus chunks out of me. I started to cry towards the end due to physical pain, and I think also the realization of my chopped up baby. I hope and pray it didn’t suffer in any way. It’s deeply sad thinking about how it may have felt safe inside my womb and wouldn’t expect for sudden death. It barely even had its taste of “life”…it never really had a chance.

It’s unbearably sad. But I think the other pathway was filled with misery and destruction too. I think the other pathway would have also been filled with losses of stable relationships and a stable family. So I don’t entirely regret the abortion. I know it was needed to be done to ensure a better future for myself, my future children, and to secure my current relationship. All in all, these are hard decisions no matter what, and it really depends on the persons and their reasonings.

I came out of this stronger , with a more appreciative look on life. I have emotional scars for sure, but to help me cope….I’m comforted with the idea of getting my first tattoo to remember the life that could have been. I feel better honoring its short life , instead of dehumanizing it like it wasn’t significant even in the womb. It’s life was short but whimsical and precious , like a paper airplane. I’m going to get a tiny paper airplane somewhere to remember it’s life, but to also always be reminded that life is short and to be celebrated….because it can be taken away, sucked away, or swept away at any moment.