How I Felt After My Abortion


After my abortion, I felt so relieved.

I went to the pharmacy in the grocery store to get my prescription filled, and I got German chocolate cake. I knew I had to eat with the painkillers they were giving me, so I got cake. I remember going home and eating the cake and taking a painkiller. The cake was delicious. I can’t eat German chocolate cake without remembering this.

I sat in the bathtub while my boyfriend rinsed my hair out with a Tupperware container. I felt very fragile, like standing in the shower was impossible. I dried off, feeling sore in ways I hadn’t thought I would, but…really…OK. The overwhelming pain I had expected hadn’t happened.

I combed my hair and put on a sweater and went out to see my friend’s husband’s play performed. I thought, “I shouldn’t be sitting here. I shouldn’t be able to sit up and enjoy this play.” But I did. It was a good play, and I’m glad I didn’t listen to voices in my head.

We went home and I was glad my boyfriend had pushed through the protesters, glad I was no longer pregnant with a fetus I didn’t want. I could barely afford my rent as a poor graduate student, so there was no way I could afford a baby. At home, I ate pudding with another painkiller.

My boyfriend went home after I had recovered enough. I took the painkillers with food and went to school. I didn’t think I was terrible about what I had done. Those protesters and their religious pamphlets didn’t understand me. They understood their ideas and wanted to impose them on me. I drank tea and meditated—not on the abortion, but on life in general.

Five days later, I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. Worst. Cramps. Of. My. Life. I made a piece of toast with butter to take with the pill. I could barely eat. When I caught my cat licking the butter off my toast, I knocked her off the dresser where my toast was. I cried. I felt bad about smacking her off the bed. Finally I ate the toast and took the pill. I cried more. The pain was finally here.

The pain eventually subsided. It usually does. I brushed my teeth and went to class. My teacher asked us to reference a poem. I pulled out the book but the words made no sense. My decision was right. It just was taking a while for everything to make sense, everything to heal.

I felt a lot of things after my abortion, and none of them seemed normal at the time, but it’s what I felt, so that made it right.