A woman gets pregnant, the man can walk away. Woman has medical bills has to take time off work, even lose her job, man can walk away. Woman deals with nausea, bloating, having to buy new clothes as her body grows. Medical bills, diapers, child care, strollers, car seats and the bills just keep adding up. And yes, it should go without saying that there are great fathers that are involved and support the mother and child. That was not my situation; I was left to figure it out.

 

~ Anonymous

 

All life is sacred.

I am heartbroken over the senseless death and destruction that seems to be more and more common in our world.  I am ashamed that I live in a country that has a broken criminal justice system, allows for capital punishment and has a nest of crooked politicians that seem to be more like fictional characters than actual humans.

Now I add criminalization of a medical procedure?

From the view point of a single mother, I have been silently observing, listening and reading the opinions of my friends and fellow Americans on the over-turning of Roe vs Wade.

People—we are missing the point.

I had an abortion when I was 38.

I already had two children that I adored and I loved being a mom. But I couldn’t have this one. I was divorced and barely getting by on my income paying rent, day care and all the stuff that just adds up.

I had been dating someone who told me he couldn’t have children due to a medical issue, so we didn’t use protection. I very unexpectedly found myself in a situation that I didn’t know how to navigate and certainly couldn’t afford. I couldn’t lose the time at work and I wouldn’t have anyone to watch the baby until it was old enough for day care. I felt like I didn’t have a choice?

I felt like I would sacrifice what little I could do for my two children, bringing in a new born under our roof. I could barely manage what I was doing. I was struggling to have money for groceries some days and did my best to clip coupons and find free things for us to do. Unless you have raised children on your own, you really can’t understand the struggle.

I couldn’t help but think of a friend that had shared with me that she had an abortion and was really struggling with the grief and the loss. I decided to make the sacrifice for my children and thought I would somehow be stronger.

I wasn’t.

It devastated me and still haunts me to this day when I imagine how old he would be or how my life may have been different. I would never advise a woman to have an abortion… the grief and pain is too much to bear sometimes. Yet, I also belief it is the woman’s choice and I would fully support and help a friend who made that decision for herself or for her family.

Yes, there is the outrage over governance and control over a woman’s decision regarding her own body and the overlay of religion on a medical procedure. Making abortion illegal does not make it go away, just makes it criminal and dangerous.

Why are we not talking about how our system is so broken that a woman would even consider abortion?

A decision that will haunt her and horrify her for the rest of her life? One in four women will have an abortion at some point in their life, but did you know the majority of those women already have two or more children?  The stereotype of loose women using abortion as birth control is simply wrong.

What haunts me the most is the feeling when my pregnancy was terminated. It felt as if something was being torn from my body. I knew in that moment it was the wrong decision for me and that feeling forever haunts me. I can’t listen to the news or debates without getting emotional.

My abortion was almost 20 years ago.

I have only told a few people that I had an abortion and I have never shared how it felt. My two sisters, the father and a boyfriend—and a priest many years after it had occurred. I just can’t find the words. I would rather bear the pain alone. I am usually not a very private person, but I don’t want to feel the shame and I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. Writing this is the most I have actually expressed how I felt.

There’s so much more to say, I just don’t have the words.

Today I went to the store for a couple of things and the shelf where tampons should be is empty. The shelf where peanut butter should be is empty. The shelf where formula should be is empty. But it’s so much more than that.

Women are left to figure it out.

A woman gets pregnant, the man can walk away. Woman has medical bills has to take time off work, even lose her job, man can walk away. Woman deals with nausea, bloating, having to buy new clothes as her body grows. Medical bills, diapers, child care, strollers, car seats and the bills just keep adding up. And yes, it should go without saying that there are great fathers that are involved and support the mother and child. That was not my situation; I was left to figure it out.

The child that I aborted—his father did nothing other than drive me to the final appointment. I was out of work for a week because I was bleeding so heavy. I couldn’t lift anything so I told my mom, I had a “procedure” and just left her thinking it was related to my endometriosis so I would have someone to help me. What did the father do? He avoided me, probably out of guilt and I was left to bear the burden and just figure it out.

Ever think about the woman that does not get child support? She goes to court, hires an attorney with what little money she has hoping to get some financial help raising their children. Man is brought in and court decides an amount. Man walks away. Nothing changes and the woman is left to figure it out.

I know this isn’t what always happens, but it is what happened to me. He just moved away. Had my financial situation been different, I think my decision would have been as well.

Daycare is designed for 9-5 jobs. Many don’t stay open past 6 and even fewer past 7. What about 3rd shift or evening jobs?  What about the cost?  Often it is greater than minimum wage, so why work just to pay for daycare? A woman has to be at or below poverty level to have assistance. If a woman is making $40,000 she won’t qualify for assistance. An annual salary of $40,000 less 30% for taxes, $14,000 for daycare, and $9,600 for an $800 apartment leaves $4,400 or about $366 a month for everything else.

Women are left to figure it out.

Why can’t we fix our broken system? Start with education and availability of birth control. Require equal responsibility and support of both parents for all children. Have early drop off and after hours through schools and community centers for affordable child care. Get back to families and communities that support single mothers not shame them.

Stop shaming women for the decisions they make regarding THEIR body and THEIR healthcare. Only then will we see a decrease in abortion.

 

Photo: Pixabay

 

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