I am a woman. I am a mother. I have had an abortion.
There were lots of deep breaths taken those long winter months.
Being my third pregnancy, I knew within days that something was different. It started with this little tick in my lower abdomen; when I coughed, or sat up, or moved a certain way. And then I noticed my breast; a little tender, a little swollen; just like before. Except this time I knew with certainty I was pregnant. I waited days, what seemed like months. Waiting for that time that I could take the test to prove what I had been feeling.
I randomly ran into my midwife. The strong, beautiful woman who had gently helped bring both my baby girls into this world naturally at home. I took one look at her, said I’ve been meaning to call you and she knew. She was one of the rocks that helped me through those days.
There were so many tears those winter months. Tears of how. Tears of why. Tears of why not. There I was a 30 year old, married, healthy mother of 2 who had always said I would have more babies. I loved having babies and had even studied toward being a midwife for a bit because I wanted to help pregnant women have their children naturally at home. I loved being pregnant, loved giving birth, loved nursing and sleeping with those amazing souls I had brought into the world. And yet there I was a 30 year old woman. Who wasn’t so content with just being a mother anymore. Who was enjoying her freedom from the constant needs of a baby. Who had gone back to work. Who was living in a two bedroom trailer while we struggled to build a home. With two very needy children already. And a husband that could be just as needy in his own way. I felt tired. I felt strained.
I wanted to have another baby. In an ideal world where we could afford our little family, where we could afford to build a house, where we didn’t have to worry about how the bills would be paid. But the world we live in is not ideal. We have no trust funds, no inheritance, not even retirement or health insurance. Our world doesn’t cater to those of us who run our own businesses, or who work hard enough to make just enough, but never enough to really get ahead. I tossed and turned at night, accepting the reality I was faced with. I didn’t think it would be fair to bring another child into this uncertain world, where no matter how hard we work; we still can’t manage to get ahead. Could we support another child? Probably. Could we live in an old trailer with 3 children? Certainly. But what about our quality of life? The future of the children I have already brought into this world?
I wrapped my head around the idea. Abortion. Such a heated (and hated) word for so many. I did not tell my family (Southern Baptists don’t take too kindly to the idea). My husband did tell his (ex-Catholics are much more understanding). I began to tell friends. I realized just how common abortion is. I read the statistic that 1 in 3 women in America have had an abortion. When I told 3 of my girlfriends that I was going to have one, all 3 of them told me they had had one at some point in their life. I started to feel better about my decision.
My midwife told me about Mabel Wadsworth. I didn’t know what to expect going into it. I could not believe how wonderful everyone there was. I felt incredibly lucky to live so close to such an amazing resource, and during the entire process I thought of all the women in the world who are not so lucky. Women who do not have the care they need. Women who do not have to right to choose what they do with their own reproductive systems. Women who have died because they did not have the option I had available to me. One of the thoughts that helped me through natural childbirth was the connection I had felt with every women who had ever given birth. I experienced this again, a 3rd, time but this time it was with all the women who had been able to determine their own future instead of left powerless.
I was so blessed. So grateful. I had a husband who was right there with me through the entire thing. Holding me, crying with me. I had friends who watched my children for me, so I could spend a day recovering and resting.
I’m sure some would call me selfish. I like to call myself strong. I will admit it was not an easy decision to make. It was not an easy thing to do. But I do still believe it was the best decision for me at the time. And I firmly believe ALL women should have the choice to end a pregnancy if they do not want to have a child.
Nikki Fox, December 2011