“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life
This quote is an outstanding quote by Elanor Roosevelt. With my past I could have easily given up and let everything bring me down and I could be living in fear. To live in fear though is not an option.
Times may get rough but you should always believe that you are strong enough to make it through. You need to believe like she says that, “I can take the next thing that comes along.”
I suppose this would be the best time to start talking about things I have gone through in my past and how I have gotten through it and become stronger. There is a lot I have gone through but I suppose I will start with one of the most recent and probably the hardest thing I have gone through and choice I have had to make. All the names I use in here will be modified as I don’t want to use peoples real names.
When I was in senior in high school I dated some not so good guys, I was cheated on, they were manipulative, and abusive in different ways. Towards the end of my senior year I started dating this guy, “Steve”. At first he seemed really nice, we clicked really well and he made me really happy, but like most young and naive’ girls I thought I loved him and things got serious fast. (Things I talk about later in this blog from years prior to this will help you understand why some of what I say may have been and happened)
The longer “Steve” and I were together the more controlling and manipulative he became. Soon enough I was always at his house or his moms house, he was older, and I was never around my family. I had a good friend at the time, Sabrina, who was there for me and saw what was going on and how I couldn’t get out of the relationship no matter how hard I tried. Shortly after my senior prom I found out I was pregnant (did not happen on prom night), this point “Steve” and I had been together for about six or seven months and it had gotten bad.
Sabrina was the first person to know I was pregnant. I didn’t know what to do. Like any teenage girl I was scared of what my family would say and what people would think. Graduation was just a few weeks away and I didn’t want to tell my mom until after graduation because she was having so much fun planning my graduation party and everything. Eventually I knew I had to tell “Steve” and I did. He was excited that I was pregnant and got extremely mad when I cried and told him that I was afraid and didn’t think I wanted it.
After telling him I was pregnant is when things really started to fall apart in my life. I had morning sickness 24/7 it was not just the morning, it was all day and I never knew when it was going to hit. I wanted to sleep all the time, this pregnancy was taking its toll on me. Sabrina kept trying to get me to leave “Steve” but I couldn’t, every time I would try to he would use our unborn child to blackmail me into staying because I hadn’t told my mom yet and he told me he would. Graduation came and past and I didn’t tell my mom. I swore I would tell her after memorial day weekend because I was going to go to my dads place on a lake in Minnesota with Sabrina. I got car sick all the way there, I couldn’t go out on the boat fishing because I got sick. I was constantly sick.
The day we got back to Iowa I was supposed to go see him and instead Sabrina and I decided we were going to go to the beach. This infuriated him and we finally broke up. Then he wouldn’t stop calling and texting me and he threatened my life. At this point I was a wreck, I went upstairs having some sort of composer to get something from my room when my mom saw me and asked what was wrong I just broke down.
The first thing out of her mouth was, “You are pregnant aren’t you?”
Next thing out of her mouth was, “Do you want an abortion?”
Up to this point I was completely against abortion. I was going to keep the baby and I had started picking out names already. But my answer to her was yes. She called planned parenthood an hour and a half away and within the next day I was on my way there to have an abortion. I was scared, I didn’t know if I was making the right choice. I guess you can say you are against something until you are put in the situation where you actually have to make the choice. When we got there I filled out a lot of paper work and then was taken to the back. I was terrified. I didn’t know how far along I was, which made it so I didn’t know what type of abortion I was going to have, the medical pill one, or the more invasive type.
When I was in the back I had a vaginal ultra sound and got to see my baby on the screen. I got to hear its heart beat and it was really hard but I knew I had to do this. At this point everyone is always like, “you had other options”. I am hear to say, yes I did but they wouldn’t have come easy. If I wanted to put it up for adoption he would have had to agreed. I could have gone and fought for full custody but that most likely wouldn’t have happened because there was no evidence. This meant that my child would go to his house where he was abusive and I would never have been able to live with myself if something had happened to my child while in his care. So I went through with it. I was 8 weeks along which was just at the mark of me being able to take the pill abortion.
The pill is mifepristone. If I had been 9 weeks along I wouldn’t have been able to have the pill. What happens during the medication abortion? There are two steps:
1) The health care provider, in this case planned parenthood, gives you the abortion pill at the clinic along with antibiotics to take. The abortion pill works by blocking hormones, progesterone. Without that hormone the lining of the uterus breaks down and the pregnancy can’t continue.
2) A second medicine is given, misorpostol. Causes the uterus to empty. It causes cramps and to bleed heavily, this is when you pass the pregnancy. It lasts a few hours for me it lasted about 8, but then I had some bleeding still a few days later along with passing of lining and such.
Then the third thing you do is follow up with a doctor or planed parenthood about two weeks later to make sure you had a full abortion and not a partial. They do this with blood pregnancy tests.
When I was aborting my pregnancy I felt like I had horrible back pain which feels like lower back cramps. I had horrible cramps though worse then the ones I would get with a normal period, which were pretty bad.
I got through this okay but for the longest time I felt like I was a horrible person. I was depressed and I felt like I couldn’t talk to my mom about it because I felt like she just wanted to forget the whole thing and I didn’t want to upset her. I did a year at community college and then decided I needed out of town and transferred to my current University where I met a professor that after having to write a cognitive dissonance paper has become a huge mentor to me and a great help. She had a similar story and pulled me aside to tell me and has helped me during my healing process. It is because of her that I can type this up, knowing that some people who read it will judge and have strong emotions to it but that every day people are going to judge me and I have to look past it. It was a part of my past, a hard choice, and something I had to conquer and eventually look fear in the eyes. I am in a major now where in the end I want to help kids not making the choices I did but for sure to be able to get out of an abusive relationship.
If you or anyone lives in Iowa towards central Iowa and you know they are being abused or you are being abused there are a ton of resources out there for you. Some of them are:
Iowa Coailition Against Domestic Violence (If you are being abused and go here they have an escape button and it will not show up in your internet history)
And if you want more information on abortions or your choices if pregnant here is planned parenthoods:
My last couple pieces of wisdom are these:
Don’t judge people before knowing them, or before fully understanding their past. You never know what they have gone through or why they made the choices that they made. You also never know what you would truly do if you have to choose between a few hard choices. It is easy to say you are against something when you have never been put in the situation.
“So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes, yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in them.” — Slyvia Plath
Here is my challenge to you:
If you are ever sitting at school eating lunch or on a lunch break at work and a co-worker or fellow student is sitting alone or you just see someone who looks sad and lonely and like people may judge, go sit with them, talk and get to know them. Even if that is the only day you talk to them you have no idea the kind of impact you could have on that persons day.