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      My first abortion (yes, I have had two… the second was for medical reasons — I know some will hate me for that)…. my first abortion was awful. I was 17 years old, and I had just had an awful summer away from home — I’d been raped, I’d been completely neglected by my caregivers and ridiculed by police for what had happened to me… I came home to my family and friends, who met me with open arms and took care of me. I had been dating the same guy for 1 year exactly… on our one year anniversary, he surprised me with a picnic in the woods and even brought along music. It should have been wonderful. It started out wonderfully. After the picnic part was over, I think both of us felt pressured to push along a sexual relationship — we’d never had sex before… and he was a virgin. I should have been, but my experience over the summer led me not to be… I had sex after the rape, and I wish I hadn’t, but I did. I think if I hadn’t gone through that summer, I’d have waited until marriage. Anyhow, things happened that I felt totally uncomfortable with — I never told him to stop or not to go further… instead I panicked and just let things happen. I felt totally not in control. Afterwards, I already knew that I was pregnant… there was no question about it, there was no doubt, nothing. I just knew that I was. I told my mother after confirming it via over the counter tests two weeks later…. and at this point I was already getting morning sickness… it’s almost as if my body were rushing to the end. Everyone around me pushed for abortion… my mother told my entire family what happened without my consent, and they were all pushing, pushing, pushing. It was a very brief conversation between my boyfriend at the time and I that made me think we would have been okay if I hadn’t gone to the clinic….he never pressured me into anything, so I can’t pin a damn thing on him, but I felt like I would be doing him a disservice by keeping her… his mother was a strict Christian, and had she known anything would have probably ripped my eyes out… My boyfriend and I talked about how the baby would have red hair and big blue eyes, and we named her Amy… and that was it. There was no more discussion of it, and my mother took charge. I went to the clinic, where they "counselled" me about abortion and explained that the risks were 4 times LESS than when you go through a pregnancy. I felt more comfortable with the idea as time went along, but the entire time I felt like… this wasn’t right for me.

      Nonetheless, I signed all the papers, I waited in the waiting room, and I went into the clinic that day. My guy helped me pay for the abortion, giving half of the money in the coming months to my mother… At the clinic on that day… my mother shoved past protesters with this scary way — I love my mother, and I am pro-choice, but I never felt in danger, and I felt she was being too pushy. In the office, there were politically driven posters about various politicians who were pro-choice. That was kind of reassuring, but… it all comes down to being on the table. I’d chosen to be put to sleep during the procedure, or … more than that, they give you something that puts you MOSTLY under… they explained to me that during the procedure, my eyes might be open, I’d move for them when they asked, do whatever they needed me to do, and then when I woke up, I wouldn’t remember. I kept thinking I was using the anethesia as a way of blotting out this portion of my memory… when I was on the actual table and they’d already given me the IV, I suddenly lurched and wanted to get off the table — everything came to a point, I wanted it to all stop, and I TRIED to tell them… they didn’t listen. The doctor started the procedure while I was still awake, doing the gynecologist part of the exam and even starting it…so quickly… I didn’t have time to go under, and I couldn’t stop them… I just whimpered and then kept telling myself "Just go to sleep, just go to sleep" and finally I did. When I woke up, I had nothing to show for it except weeks of cramping and bleeding and pain and lying on the gym floor trying not to cry while everyone else could participate… and a rock. That’s what they gave me at this clinic. They said "choose a rock from this basket to represent your pregnancy"… so I did. And I still have that damn rock. A few years ago, I tried to give the rock to the boyfriend that …as a result of everything, left. He didn’t want it. He didn’t want to think of it. And unlike me, he hasn’t had sex since. I … hope he never reads this, because he’ll know who I am. But he just… don’t want to face it, and I face it every single day. I felt like I’d been raped by my whole family and by the doctors and by the nurses…. and I haven’t had a normal gynecological visit since, and I can’t have healthy sex … for a while I even had a condition called vaginismus, which prevented penetration entirely…. and I just haven’t had a healthy relationship with anyone since that happened. It’s like I’m hiding from what I’ve done — but yet, it’s always right there. My rock is always there. Occasionally, I take it out of the box I put it in, and pray to God that someone else had the courage to go through with a pregnancy and that God used my baby’s soul…because I knew as SOON as that soul entered me how powerful it was… how beautiful and how powerful that pregnancy, baby, child, adolescent, adult would have been, and how she… and I felt instinctively she would have become a woman… she would have had an impact on the world. So I pray that somehow, she made it to this world despite my rejection of her.

      The thing I do want you to know is that… Each year I used to look at the calendar and think of my pregnancies, of my would-be-babies…. and be so upset… but I think now I’m at the point where I just want to hold onto the feeling of Amy’s soul when I first met it… and also to let you know that she never left me, but that her presence no longer pains me. Now I just cherish it and recognize the power of it in my life — I can understand why some women would make this decision, and I remain pro-choice… but I like this site because… it gives young women a chance to regain control… so yes, Stand Up Girl, and Stand Up World… because even if you believe that it’s a woman’s right to choose, that doesn’t mean that it’s the world’s right to pressure. Keep your head up and make your own decisions — because you are worth it.

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