• Renee Bernier

Everybody Loves Someone Who has Had an Abortion

In my family, that person is me. I had an abortion in 2015 when I was 23 years old and guess what- my family loves me the same amount as before. Perhaps I consider myself lucky because my family is supportive of me and the choices I make. One in three American women have an abortion but statistics and numbers don't mean much, our stories do. There are so many reasons women choose to get an abortion and none of them are easy! Even if a person is 100% sure that an abortion is what they want, it is still painful both physically and emotionally. I, for example came to this conclusion after weighing my options for weeks.

I chose to not have a baby for several reasons. Number one was that I was going to be a single parent. My partner at the time had broken up with me only a week before I found out I was pregnant. He told me he no longer loved me. I was devastated, heartbroken and then only a week after that news I was recovering from, I found out I was carrying his child. I still loved this man, very much. I still imagined having a family with him. I knew I was delusional to think that having his kid would keep him around. So, when I found out I kept the information to myself for several days before telling him. He was away on a work training and I called him. It was truly one of the hardest phone calls of my life. Telling the man, I still loved, I was pregnant. I wanted to convince him that we could do it, that we could co-parent and that it would be fine. When we spoke, I knew it could not be the case. I got on a bus to go see him to talk to him in person because it was a time sensitive matter. It was a four-hour bus ride and I think I cried almost the whole way there.

Let's back up a few weeks before I found out I was pregnant. I had woken up one morning in early November and thought to myself “hm something feels different." I stepped out of bed feeling like there was an extra presence in my body. I knew immediately that I was pregnant. I went to the clinic to be tested and it came back negative. I did not believe this as I knew there was something very different happening in my body. I went back less than a week later, a few days before Thanksgiving, and found out I was positive, I was in fact pregnant. I was alone at the clinic and I burst into tears. I remember the nurse "Emily" she was so kind, and I just sat there as I cried. So many things were running through my mind… I biked to my favorite spot in town and called my best friend from home. We talked about how it might be a good thing, how it would be hard but not impossible. We talked for a long time then I went back to my house, crawled into bed and cried, for what seemed like days.

Skip back to the bus ride, I was still crying. I was so indecisive, I felt this little being in my body and I already felt so connected to it. I remember staring out the window watching the harsh Colorado Rockies passing by, the bare leaves of the Aspen trees and bits of snow on the highest peaks. It all felt like a blur.

When I arrived in Denver and met him off the bus. I knew. I knew I would not have this child. I could not do it alone and did not want to be reminded of the heartbreak I was feeling everyday while I was raising this child. I knew I had to complete my degree in Exercise and Sport Science. I knew I wanted a family in which both parents were equally involved. I believed it's not fair for a person to feel unwanted by their parents as your relationship to your parents is the first relationships you experience, and I believe it should be a healthy relationship from the start.

Luckily, the ex-partner at the time was a good man. He was honest and compassionate and took very good care of me during and after the process. I will not say that it was an easy thing to do. I remember driving almost three hours silently to Planned Parenthood, we couldn’t go to the one in Colorado Springs because there had just been a shooting in which three people were killed, so we drove south to Alamosa. I remember the waiting room. I remember going into the clinic room and laying on the table and seeing the little circle on the ultrasound and thinking “that’s mine.” I remember the nurse asking me if “this is what I wanted” and I remember when she handed me the pill my body had a visceral reaction of not wanting to take it, my stomach knotted. I remember the look on his face. I swallowed the first pill and there was no going back. I cried the entire way home. At one point he pulled over and I got out of the car and screamed a cry of rage. I was sad and angry and confused but knew it was right deep down in my heart. But it hurt, so ferociously.

The next day I took the second pill at home in my bed, he cared for me tenderly and in that moment and the weeks that followed, he held space and truly took care for me. In a sense I was lucky to have a person who was so compassionate towards me. However mad I was I was also thankful. He cared while my body and spirit were healing.

It took a long time to forgive myself fully and it took community and ceremony to put it to rest. (I’ll have another post about the recovery/healing process.) The reality is, I cried writing this post, healing takes a long time and it deserves the most tender of emotions.

In the end, every woman who chooses to have an abortion has a story and it is never an easy one. So, remember that when you may be passing judgement or talking to a person who has been through the experience, be gentle, be kind, because we all justly deserve it.

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