I’m sure there may come a time when I regret shit I’ve written on this blog, but right now I feel like it probably won’t happen because in reality I’m so culturally, politically and socially insignificant in the wider picture I’m not concerned about it.
Also, I’m 34. I care less and less what “people” in general, think about me. Here be Me. Take it, leave, get fucked, be amused, love my ass, whatever. Seriously, not caring a helluva lot.
So that’s why I be talking, right here, right now about my *gasp* abortion.
I had an abortion. Yes ma’am, I did. I was about 25. I was in a reasonably new relationship in a country far away from my friends and family (read Australia) and in no way ever Ever ready or inclined to be a mother. I don’t regret the decision for a second. No way. But the experience itself was pretty fucking awful.
While lady X of the This Is My Abortion website says she is trying to “dispel the myths” surrounding abortion, a couple of photos that are not of the scarey-US-killing-babies-vibe are not really helpful.
On the one hand we’re really secular here. There were no protesters at the ‘clinic’ I went to. But then they treated me with less respect than if I’d gone in there for a wisdom tooth removal.
I was told to strip and put on a medical gown. My jewellery was stowed in a locker. I was ushered into a waiting room with half a dozen other women who were waiting for their turn. We tried not to look at each other. Some were alone, some had partners, I had my friend. We all felt naked and exposed. My name was called and I walked through the pathetic curtain that separated the surgical bit from the waiting room bit. I was given cursory instructions. I laid back and began to cry. I was scared and frightened and alone and did not really know what was happening. The only person who showed me any kindness was the anaesthetist, who stroked me head and told me everything would be ok as I sank into oblivion.
Upon waking, I was told I should have worn underwear so they could take it off me then put it back on with a pad to soak up the bleeding. I was roused and shunted out of there in no time. I was high as a kite, mumbling utter nonsense, just the fuck out of it and wanting only to sleep and forget.
As I said, I don’t regret it. But at 34 and over all the years I think about that foetus, the one who might have been that child. I appreciate the perfunctual process. I’m glad no holy-moley bible-bashing Joe got near me to debate the rights and wrongs of what I was doing or had done. I knew what I had to do. But I could have done with some compassion. Perhaps some conversation before or afterwards about how I would feel, what I had done. Some kindness. Instead I was on a production line. With no one to explain the physical realities of what would happen to my body when they performed the abortion, how it would all work, how I might feel. So Abortion Lady’s photos might dispel a few physical myths but they don’t really help anyone.
I’m angry at all those people; from the receptionist to the nurses to the woman who didn’t even tell me I should have kept my knickers on or what was going to happen and how. Only the anaesthetist who showed me kindness and reassured me it would be ok and stroked my head like my mum would have done.
It wasn’t nice. It was horrible. But not so horrible I can’t get over it. I made the right decision for myself and the person-who-might-have-been, I don’t doubt it. But perhaps if we go so far from the judgemental life-is-all-that-matters bullshit we stop treating women who have abortions like human beings. As if it’s as easy as having a wisdom tooth removed and less important because she’s a fucking bitch for killing her unborn child.
I have the life I have now because I was allowed to make that decision. And to say it doesn’t haunt me would be a lie. But the absolute disregard I endured from the people who were in charge of my care and wellbeing still hurts. Whilst the decision was easy, the process was not and it was made even more hurtful by the healthcare ‘professionals’ who treated me and the other women there as important as an email or a dreary phonecall. We were a production line. Put on a gown, sit in the waiting room, get on a gurney, be put under, abortion, wake up, fuck off.
I’ve paid for it. I’ve paid for that mistake in spades and maybe I will continue doing so. I’m sure there are many women whose health fund provided them better care. Mine didn’t. A student in a foreign country, pregnant, scared, I could have hoped for better. I didn’t get it. I can only hope things have been better for other women. Because that’s the least we deserve.