Planned Parenthood

What better day to post about getting pregnant than the day after Valentines Day? Love is in the air and a ton of babies were probably made last night! For those who are trying to become pregnant - I hope it went well. But for those who may start to stress in a few weeks - read on.

Well, after a countless number of benders, I missed my period. Like most chicks, this wasn’t completely abnormal. So, I gave it a day. And another day. And another. Eventually, when about ten days passed, it was time to take a test. I went down to my local Rite-Aid, which happens to actually know all of my secrets. I fear no one more than my local Rite-Aid cashier. If she starts running her mouth, it is OVER. She has seen me at my lowest of lows. Plan B, AZO, Monistat, Pregnancy Tests. She’s been there through it all. Never passing judgment. Just offering coupons for the next time, or suggesting I act on the buy-one-get-one lays potato chips deal before it’s over. She’s family at this point and I don’t even know her name. Maybe one day she’ll read of my death in a local paper and attend my funeral. Everyone will be curious of who she is, wondering how she could have known me. She won’t speak to anyone. She’ll just quietly bow her head at my casket, proud that I made it through all of those UTI’s. She’ll then quickly leave to return back to her shift to help the next girl through her own pregnancy scare.

As you already can figure, the test came up positive. My brain was about 2% shocked. The other 98% had already accepted the possibility, given my life was just curve ball after curve ball at this point. So, I called my gynecologist. If you’re reading this and end up being in this situation anytime soon and are considering not keeping it, don’t do this. Even in New York State, your gynecologist, may be down with the times and cool with your decision, but they will try to persuade you to keep it. Most gynecology offices don’t perform abortions so like most businesses they want you to use them and therefore try to sway your decision. It made matters even worse, when my actual gynecologist that I have seen for years and felt super comfortable with was booked for a few weeks and I had to see one of the other doctors in the practice. This doctor was a man so I was already screwed. There’s nothing wrong with male gynecologists, but in my personal experience I have never felt too comfortable discussing concerns or issues with parts of my body that a doctor didn’t have themselves. Especially with conversation as sensitive as abortion, I felt even more uncomfortable talking to a male doctor. Maybe the conversation would have gone a bit differently if I was with a different doctor but this is how mine went.

“Congratulations! You are about six weeks pregnant. So, I’m going to start you on a prenatal vitamin, some folic acid, and- “

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry can you just hang on a second. I’m just. I’m a little confused. How did- Um. When did this?”

“Are you asking when the child was conceived?”

“Yeah, I guess”

“From the looks of it about 3-4 weeks ago.”

“Um, I’m sorry. No. I mean can you give me a more specific time frame?”

“Do you not know who the father is?”

“Uh…Um…There’s uh a couple possibilities, I guess”

“Are you considering not keeping this baby?”

“I really haven’t put much thought into yet.”

“Is knowing who the father is going to affect your decision?”

“Again, I haven’t put much thought into this just yet.”

“Well, look, even though this isn’t very traditional, you could still bring this child into the world and be a mom.”

I became irate.

“I’m still not sure if I want to be a mom-“

“Even at six weeks, an abortion could be extremely dangerous. I’m going to call in the vitamins and schedule you for a checkup in about four weeks. Let me just print out a copy for you.”

He was referring to the sonogram.

But with some weird universal luck, the printer jammed.

I was already explaining to him that I didn’t want a copy, given I wasn’t sure what decision I would make. Of course, he insisted. As I stated again that I didn’t want a copy, the printer jammed.

I was exhausted by the conversation and just let him go on with what he was planning and thought I would just cancel my appointment if I needed. His condescending tone alone made me want to run to planned parenthood immediately. I thought I had made up my mind entirely within those 20 minutes. That was until he was gathering my chart to leave. Again, he explained the vitamins and scheduling a checkup. Except he added one more piece of information.

As he was scribbling something in my chart, he said, “…and your expected due date is December 5th, see you soon Rachel. Congratulations again!” And he walked out.

I sat there for a few minutes completely blank.

My brother died on December 5th the year prior.

A decision that seemed so easy suddenly became so heart wrenching.

I have always believed in something greater than here; I was just never sure of what. But whatever it was, was enough to make me take that due date and think a lot longer than I thought I would. Given I was 24 at the time, not as financially ready as I would have liked to bring a child into this world, and the father was a horrible person, I was 99% sure I would have an abortion. But, when I heard that due date, something stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t help but think if it was some sort of sign, or some blessing in all the shit that was going on in my life. Or, maybe, it was just some cosmic joke. My whole life was beginning to feel like one, so it made sense. I thought, maybe it’s the world balancing out. Taking a life, giving a life. Anyway, cosmic joke or not, there I was pregnant and alone. Of course, I told a couple friends who helped me through. But the decision was only mine. A lot of my life was beginning to feel like this. Alone. I was going through things alone. Making decisions alone. Crying alone. Drinking alone. I was just alone. I have a couple friends who rode it all out with me, and to them, I am forever grateful. But really, I was alone. I didn’t have anyone to answer to. It was just me. As scary as it was, being that alone through some traumatic situations like that, there was something almost peaceful to it. Your actions, reactions, decisions, all of it, are completely your own. The only person I considered in that decision was myself. I only thought of me. I thought about how I would manage motherhood. Financially, mentally, all of it. I thought about the sadness I had in me and that maybe taking on a new adventure like having a child would take it all away from me and fill me with joy. Or, maybe, it wouldn’t. I thought whether I would discipline them too much or not enough. Whether I would be a fun mom or a lame mom. But, mostly, I just thought about if I would be a good mom or not. And then I stopped. I couldn’t even make myself happy in this time of my life. I couldn’t let go of the pain I felt yet. The sorrow. The sadness. The anger. The emptiness. The highs. The lows. I was so mentally unstable; I couldn’t be responsible for raising someone else. Maybe that child would have filled me with so much joy, all the grief would have fled from my heart. But what if it didn’t? I couldn’t bear the thought of someone absorbing my pain. There was a good chance that I wouldn’t be a good mom then. That I wouldn’t be ready in time. And I didn’t want to put a child through that. This world is rough enough as it is and I didn’t want to make theirs any rougher. I wasn’t sure I would be a good mom, so I chose not to be.

I called Planned Parenthood a few days later. They scheduled my appointment for the following week.

The abortion process is extremely exhausting. As open as Planned Parenthood is about your decision, the formalities they have the go through to make sure you’re certain in your decision, are draining. Even checking in makes you think twice. You have to loudly announce your name and what you’re there for to get buzzed in. Ya know, to make sure you’re not going to shoot up the place. You then get to the receptionist and again have to state your name and reason for your visit, loudly, over the bullet proof glass… Ya know, to protect the staff from the people who try to shoot up the place. Each time being reminded that there are people out there who hate the idea of what you’re about to do so much, they kill people over it. It’s very comforting. I was lucky though. The location I was at didn’t have protestors out front trying to spit on me and call me a “whore”. Blessed, I know. After about 20 minutes of reading all the posters on the waiting room wall and convincing yourself that you currently have an STD, you then begin the process. After checking your vitals and doing other doctor office type things, a nurse walks you through the process. She explains that there was nothing wrong with your decision but the process is going to be rough. You are then asked hundreds of extremely personal questions. All of which are just reminding you of how and why you are currently at Planned Parenthood. You are reminded of almost every sexual experience you’ve had and, mostly, not the good ones. You are then told to wait, for what feels like forever. Luckily for me, I was used to being alone with my thoughts. But I couldn’t help but think of my brother. I thought if I was disappointing him or not. I thought if he was with me. I thought of everything. Tears ran down my face as naturally as rivers flow. But I never once thought if I was making the right choice or not. The bigger half of me knew that I was. The nurse walked back in and saw my tears. She asked one last time, “are your sure of your decision?” I said, “yes” and she walked me to the room to meet with the physician and it began.

I’m not sure why my due date was my brother’s death anniversary. Maybe it was a sign from the universe. Maybe it was just coincidence. Maybe I was supposed to have a child. Maybe I wasn’t. I don’t know. But what I learned is that, we are in control of our lives. Whether “destiny” is real or not, our decisions are our own. We can change our direction at any moment. Life throws things at us all the time. Sometimes it’s good things. Sometimes it’s steaming hot garbage. But, we have to adapt. We choose what’s best for ourselves and we keep on moving. I think about my decision from time to time. (Where I would be? What I would be doing?) But not too much. Because I chose what was right for me at the time. I chose to give myself a chance to heal. A chance to better myself. A chance to be a good mom when the time comes. Maybe I’ll never have kids, maybe I’ll have seven. I don’t know. But what I do know is that I made a decision by myself for myself. And for that, I am proud.

And to any readers who have done the same, you should be proud too.

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