This guy forced himself on me. When the woman at the clinic went over my options, I bawled. Society is so focused on women being mothers. I felt selfish for not wanting to be a mom.
West Virginia, 2007
I have schizoaffective disorder. I’m fine on my meds, but I was scared I might hurt a child like my parents hurt me. When I started understanding my family’s history of mental illness, my husband and I said, “Okay, let’s stop the cycle of abuse and not have kids.” When I found out I was pregnant, I just started sobbing. The doctor slipped me some cards for clinics in different states. She couldn’t be pro-choice publicly—we live in a very religious area in West Virginia—but she knew that I couldn’t keep taking my meds during a pregnancy. We drove three and a half hours to Maryland so we could get it done in one day and miss less work. Outside, nuns prayed; protesters threw themselves on their knees with holy water. “Wonderful” is a weird word to use, but inside the clinic was wonderful. There was a sensation of finally being able to breathe. I had the suction procedure. On a scale of one to ten, the pain was an eight. On the drive home, I was nauseous, had light period bleeding, and we had to stop a few times. My husband’s family stopped talking to us. It taught us who our friends are. There’s an intersection of stigma—mental illness and abortion. I can’t live off my meds. I can honestly say if I hadn’t had that abortion, I’d be dead.