No one wants to make the decision to have an abortion and survive; but I would never erase it from my life. Mostly because I would never erase her. I hold on to her, still, in so many ways, she is profound, forever a part of me, never having been able to separate and be on her own.
Only I know what I went through, physically and emotionally; all the options I considered, all the paths I drew out, all the worries, all the non negotiables, all the prayers and the rituals and the pleas I made to the universe to let my daughter wait for me, to open up some path that would make this possible. In this context, anyone else’s opinion simply does not matter.
This was just a year ago. I am still in recovery. My whole body and my being are changed.
My body has always been strong. It is a huge part of the reason I have gotten through so many traumas. It is testament to my physical strength that I was able to end my pregnancy, despite wanting to keep her so badly, despite all the hormones, despite how much suffering I knew it would cause me.
My body has been a focal point in all of this. When I couldn’t acknowledge or process my grief, I obsessed over how I looked. I worried about any mark bruise or blemish. I worked out to defeat the deafening fear that I was infertile. I went out just to get attention from men, in effort to combat the idea that no longer having a viable pregnancy, not having my baby with me, made me extremely unattractive.
- I was sick and shaky in the mornings, my blood sugar so unstable I had to eat before leaving the bed. I remember the smells, the metallic taste in my mouth. I knew exactly what I did and didn’t want to eat. I didn’t tolerate bullshit or men. I stuck up for myself and changed the parameters of my job, which wouldn’t have supported me through a pregnancy.
- I’m more sensitive, more fragile, and have no tolerance for physical labor.
- My hair changed color and texture; it became brassy and dull. My skin is different. I got acne from the hormone changes and lost moisture.
- My boobs got way bigger, and being pretty lean, you could see that my uterus stuck out. I think my ass got smaller. (I was at my smallest then).
- I used to know my period by heart and now I can’t find any patterns, except that I ovulate so fiercely, I think it’s my body rebelling at not being allowed its first chance to reproduce. My flow is lighter and much shorter. I rarely have cramps, but there is dull pain or soreness. I’m more irregular now, and my anxiety about my period, something going wrong, or not getting it all, sky rockets each month like clockwork. The sense of relief I have each time I menstruate, reminding me that I’m here, that I am fertile and alive, gives me the only time I can truly relax and rest.
- I used to have incredible endurance. Now my body just stops when I’m out of energy. I can’t eat much at one time. I never sleep through the night, not since I got pregnant and started waking up once a night to pee. I’m convinced that the relaxin released to my joints (with the pregnancy hormones) is responsible for the knee injuries I got last summer.
- This whole experience has aged me way beyond my years. I can see the changes in my face, the hardness of my gaze, the lines around my eyes, the exhaustion in my cheeks and jaw. I wonder if others can see it, too.
I still work on and worry about my body. I still crave attention from men. I dye my hair and experiment with makeup. But I know that acceptance of my body is the only sustainable path. I want to be healthy enough to meet a healthy man, have a healthy relationship, have a healthy baby, raise a healthy child, and that is it. My goals are emotional and spiritual and relationship based. I know my body is ever changing, aging, dynamic, witness to trauma, bearer of children, fierce, strong, sexual and me.
I hope that my story can start to change the narrative. “I’m pregnant and I’m keeping the baby.” Not all pregnancies result in live births, but we are mothers if that is the experience that we feel we had. I have no child with me, but I have my post pregnancy body, all the ways she took up space, all the ways she demanded that I change.
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