“Give it up for adoption,” he said, waving his hands as he spoke. “I’m sure there’s options other than a traumatic surgery if you don’t want a child.” He grinned and sipped his coffee. “But really,” he continued, carelessly setting down the cup and nearly knocking it over, “I have zero say in the matter, and so do the pro-lifers lurking outside of Planned Parenthood.”

I stopped fidgeting with the rubber band that was tightly wound around my fingers and looked him square in the eye. “I had my abortion because I knew I wouldn’t survive the pregnancy.”

It’s the only time I’ve seen him go speechless.

Nearly two years ago, I fled the Southeast, escaping a spouse I still have nightmares about, leaving with nothing but my car, my clothes, and my cat. It had taken four years of isolation and psychological abuse and two suicide attempts to convince me it was time to go.

Most of you know that story. But I rarely discuss what happened after.

About five months later, I felt like I was getting my life back, little by little. I had a full time (minimum wage) job, was planning on moving in with a couple of people who seemed pretty great, I was finally making friends, and I had been casually dating a guy who, while not right for me, meant well. Day by day, I was learning who I was and rejoicing in having my own life returned to me.

I didn’t have health insurance, and so, could not get medication for the depression and anxiety I still battled with on a weekly basis. Minimum wage meant I could barely afford rent and groceries for myself and my cat.

A funny thing happens when you’ve tried to take your own life in the past: you know exactly how many lemons life can hand you before you stare longingly into the abyss.

I knew something was wrong when I was having severe depression episodes – the days where I couldn’t get out of bed, where I felt like grabbing the nearest bottle of pills and downing the whole thing. The days that I found myself crying at work, with concerned managers hovering over me.
I was probably six weeks along when I called my then-boyfriend, my hand shaking as I looked at the little stick with two pink lines. “I’m pregnant,” I blurted out as soon as he answered the phone. “I can’t keep it.”

A couple of weeks later, I sat in the waiting room of a hospital in Vancouver, BC, having elected to go to Canada mostly because it was cheaper than going to Planned Parenthood without insurance.

The surgery itself hurt, sure. Trying to get back to my then-boyfriend’s house was kind of a trip: I stumbled down the street to his car, and got something akin to the drunken “spins” as he clenched my hand and drove me to his house.
But once I fully came around…

I felt relieved.

Yes, I had sacrificed a few cells. Yes, I had terminated a potential child, had my imbalanced body even allowed me to carry the pregnancy to term.

But I had saved my life for the second time in less than a year.

And for that, I will not be made to feel shame.

Abortion is still a controversial subject, and not many resources are out there for women who have gone through it or are considering it. If you need someone to talk to, by all means get in touch.

20160807_130821I wholeheartedly believe one can never own too many books, October is the best month, thunderstorms are the best weather, and tea is better than coffee. If I were a dog, I’d be German Shepherd, but more likely, I’d be cat.
My life is ruled by my passion for animals, travel, matters of the heart and mind, and creativity, and my writing follows suit.

Erica can be found on her blog and Twitter