• Fri, Apr 27 2012

My Abortion Was A Procedure, My Miscarriage A Loss

abortionAs long as I can remember I have been staunchly pro-choice. And so when a broken condom led to an unwanted pregnancy, having an abortion was a no brainer for me.

I was young and single, a student who practiced safe sex and believed in a woman’s right to choose. When my period was late and my pregnancy test turned up positive, I immediately called my doctor and scheduled a D&C.

My mother drove me to the health clinic. When we arrived, anti-choice protesters hurled abuse at us before a nurse led us through the doors. A sonogram confirmed I was about five weeks pregnant. I looked at the image and saw a circle about the size of a pencil dot. I was given a local anesthetic and some nitrous oxide and, within minutes, the procedure was over. An hour or so later I was discharged.

For the next 15 years the only lasting side effect was a fear of broken condoms. I did not regret my abortion in any way. I was knowingly pregnant for about a week before terminating. There was no lamenting a lost life because, for me, what was removed from my body was not a baby.

After having two healthy children I became pregnant again. I experienced hormonal shifts, mood swings and nausea as it progressed. Muscle memory had my belly swelling sooner than ever and I was in maternity clothes long before the end of the first trimester. I heard the fetal heartbeat and was well on my way to being a mother of three – until my 12-week ultrasound revealed that my baby had died.

Because I had technically entered my second trimester, a D&E was scheduled for the following day. That evening, my shower looked like a scene from a horror film as I passed enormous clots of blood. It was terrifying. While I was saddened about the end of my pregnancy, at this point I wanted to have the procedure done as soon as possible. I was losing tremendous amounts of blood and was unable to stand for more than a few minutes at a time.

We headed down to the hospital and I was immediately admitted. I was put under general anesthetic and monitored for several hours afterwards. I was discharged later that night. This time, there were no protesters waiting for us.

When I miscarried, I was devastated: physically and emotionally. A pregnancy had been naturally stopped in its tracks without any clear reason. While I mourned the loss of my potential baby, I knew when my body had healed and the time was right we would try to conceive again. About a year later, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. My family and I celebrated his life and our love for him, never wondering who would’ve arrived instead had that miscarriage not occurred.

I never for a split second compared my much-wanted pregnancies to the first time, when I felt like I was pregnant in name only. Nor did I see this as some “divine retribution.” The difference between miscarriage and abortion is choice. I chose to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Miscarriage, by its very definition, is a spontaneous abortion. It was science, pure and simple.  If I had to do it all over again, nothing would change, except for the miscarriage – because in that case, I had no choice.

(Photo: attem/Shutterstock)

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  • Jen

    Thank you for this article. Though I have never suffered a miscarriage, I did have an abortion while still in college. I have met several women who do not understand how I can sympathize with those who have had a miscarriage AND be pro-choice and someone who has undergone an abortion. This article clearly articulates the differences and it is a much needed personal view in a debate that too often tends to demonize women who choose to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

    • Me too

      I second this comment, very much.

    • Talon

      Third this comment. Motion carried. Brava Jen!!

  • C

    I have two living children who are now 11 and 14, and a 16 year old stepson. I suffered a 3rd trimester stillbirth and a miscarriage 10 years ago. I became pregnant again unexpectedly 2 years ago, and it was at a really horrible time to become pregnant. I was done having children, my relationship with the father was relatively new (he’s now my fiance), and my career was taking off. I had just left a struggling life of single motherhood and was terrified I might end up back there with an infant. So we made the painful decision that abortion was best. I still feel guilty about this decision, especially since I still mourn the child that died inside of me years ago. It’s like I took away from that loss by purposely terminating a healthy pregnancy.

    • Friendly ghost

      Wow – - complicated. I hope you find peace in your soul. God bless you and your family. : )

  • Tini

    I agree. But i feel guilty for mourning my recent loss (miscarriage).

    • Talon

      *hugs Tini* No honey, don’t feel guilty. Honestly. Look, I’ll tell you what happened to me. The year after my 4 day old son died, I had a missed miscarriage, which I had to have a d&c for. I was so relieved it didn’t hurt like losing Rhys did that I ignored the pain and grief from the miscarriage itself.

      Until a few months later when it blindsided me and slammed me into the ground.

      Don’t let anyone tell you you shouldn’t grieve, for whatever reason. You’ve lost something precious that you can’t ever get back. You’ve lost the potential, the dreams, the hope, the future of your family. It’s a BIG. DEAL.

      So grieve. Grieve without guilt. I promise it’s okay.

  • Steve

    So the difference is when it’s wanted it’s a baby, when it’s not it’s nothing? Not being negative here as what you do with your life is up to you and you alone but that is the impression I get from this article.

    • Jen

      I’m not the author, but I’m going to try and explain. I have a four year old and she’s just amazing. My husband and I spend time dreaming about what she’ll be like at 8 and 18 and 28. When a couple wants to have a baby and a pregnancy is wanted that tiny clump of cells is transformed (in the parents’ heads) into a newborn, and a toddler and teen and an adult. They make plans, paint a nursery, start a college fund. Factually and intellectually they realize that what is growing inside of a woman’s uterus is NOT the same as a newborn infant; but emotionally they have developed a bond with the POTENTIAL of that pregnancy.

      When a woman has an unwanted pregnancy it’s a totally different experience. There is no planning, no potential. The emotions necessary to transform a blob of cells into a baby (and a toddler and a teenager and an adult) in the mind of the pregnant woman is not there. So when a woman or a couple plans and dreams about their potential baby, the loss of that clump of cells is a loss to them of all the potential that they saw and it hurts; but when a pregnant woman chooses to terminate the transformative emotional attachment is not there and so neither is the grief.

    • rebeccavm

      So…if I start thinking of my cat as a dog, he’ll become a dog? If I start dreaming of my red pen with blue ink, it will transform into a blue pen?

    • Simone

      The difference is, at 5 weeks it is literally a clump of cells defined an an “embryo” as opposed to a “fetus,” which actually has the foundations of vital organs. The embryo does not become a fetus until around 8 weeks. So after 8 weeks, you are, in fact, losing a fetus which literally translates to “little one.” Before 8 weeks, you are losing an unwanted cellular growth attached to your uterine wall, or having it removed, if that is the choice you have made.

    • GottaLoveScience

      If anyone else reads this I would just like to point out that anatomically a 5 week embryo has a functioning heart, arteries/veins, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, liver, and ears to name a few…not exactly just a cellular growth.

  • Phronsie

    I’ve never understood the double standard in the law when it comes to unborn babies. Why is it legal to abort one, yet a mother assaulted and the baby dies- the perpetrator can be charged with murder. Again- it’s a “fetus” when unwanted and a “baby” when it is wanted?

    Abortion- baby dead by choice – by “procedure”
    Miscarriage- baby dead by disease or genetic faults.

    It’s really NOT the same thing, no matter how you try to couch the terms. At least the author owns her decision.

    • Jen

      In neither case is it a “dead baby” because it’s in utero and therefore not a baby.

    • L Scarlatti

      It’s also a time table. A man beats a woman who is six weeks pregnant and she loses the pregnancy – he isn’t charged with anything consulting the miscarriage because the fetus was not viable at the time of loss.

    • Lisap

      Yes, there is a double standard. Women get to make the decision. Since men do not have to deal with the social stigma women do with respect to the problems of unwed pregnancies, single parenthood (single mothers blamed, single fathers praised), and abortion there will be a double standard.

      The world isn’t fair and giving women the choice in this matter is the best that can be done to even the scales.

    • pzo

      The murder charge is not a double standard. If you assume that the fetus is a person, we must acknowledge that no persons have the inalienable right to live inside anyone else or otherwise use someone else’s body, even if their life depends on it. Thus, abortion stays legal and it is not possible for it to be murder under the law, as obtaining an abortion is simply a woman exercising this right – were a fetus a legal person it would be “voluntary manslaughter” at worst. If the mother is assaulted and the fetus dies, the perpetrator is completely unrelated to the woman’s right to bodily domain, and has no legal justification for causing the death of that child.

      The only inconsistency is the fact that you can’t commit murder on something that isn’t a person, but fetal personhood isn’t the dividing factor here.

  • K

    I was pretty much in the same boat. I was on the pill, broken condom, and I was in college. I was trying to be responsible, but that one in a million chance hit me and I was pregnant. I was no where ready to be a mother and chose to have an abortion. Years later I married the father and we now have a wonderful 16 yr old daughter. I miscarried about ten years ago and since divorced my husband. I feel quite the same as the author. I wasn’t ready to bring a child into the world and made the choice to terminate. I still had my whole life ahead of me. The miscarriage, while unfortunate, was fate. I had no choice and I mourned the loss. I do not feel guilt in my decision, although on brief moments here and there, I do wonder what would have happened had I not ended the pregnancy. Thanks for sharing your story…and bravo for standing up and telling it.

  • Theresa

    It’s sad how people don’t put God first in their lives and alter life to make themselves look like the victim when in reality the unborn child, who is alive inside you and can feel pain, is murdered all based upon your own selfishness for what you want in life. The unborn baby is the victim because they had to feel the pain and suffering of dying and just because you couldn’t hear the baby cry while the unborn child died inside of you doesn’t mean the unborn child wasn’t alive. If there’s a heartbeat then there’s a soul with life. If you do not want to get pregnant then don’ t have sex. It’s one of the ten commandments: Thou shall not commit adultry. If more people put God first in their lives then there would be less pain and more blessings from God upon this earth and in our own lives. With saying this; I was a child having a child. I was a teenager in high school when I got pregnant with both my two children. I chose to bring them into this world because I am against murdering a human being and an unborn child is a human being with a living soul otherwise the unborn baby cannot grow nor develop and come to full term then be born into this world and breathe, eat, laugh, cry, and love like we do. Miscarriages are an act of nature and it is sad for I have experienced that as well but when you become pregnant and the unborn baby is healthy then that is God placing that unborn baby with a beating heart in our care to raise, love, nourish, and prepare that child for God’s plan in that child’s life. Where do we have a right to stop God from doing what He already had planned. In the end when we face God we will have to pay the price for our acts of evil and will be reprimanded by God. But, if we repent now and turn towards God and strive to live a more Christian life then God will forgive us for our sins.

    • emily

      Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

    • lissa

      Thou shall not commit adultry. Adultry is having sex with someone other than your spouse or having sex with a married person. If you’re gonna preach, Theresa, do it right.

    • Miles

      Were you married when you were a teenager conceiving those children? “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone….”

    • emily

      @ MIles, when she repented, put her faith in Christ, all her sins were paid for. Her sins were nailed on the cross with Jesus. Anyone who repents, put their faith in Jesus that He die on the cross for your sins will be forgiven.

      “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

      “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone….”

      This verse is clearly taken out of context. Jesus was talking to the scribes and Pharisees, who compltely deny Jesus and valued human tradition above scrpitures and were clearly in sin.

      As Christians, we are allowed to judge, but in a righteous manner. And if you are going to judge, you have to apply the same standards to yourself, which in Biblical times, the Pharisees clearly didn’t. And do not judge your brother/sister’s sin when you are doing the exact same thing yourself. But if you have confessed that sin to God and have repented, you are allowed to judge, but lovingly, of course.

      John 7:24
      24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

      If you are truly converted to Christianity, you will live by the spirit and not by the flesh. You will be made holy. And of course there are many people who claim to be Christians that are hateful, still live in sin which by their actions, they clearly deny the Lord.

    • Talon

      *yawn* Your “god” can kiss my self-worshiping, heathen a$$ thank you so very much.

      There is so much wrong with your statement that I won’t even begin to pick it apart. It shows how truly ignorant you are of your own religion.

      “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” Matthew 22:21

      Abortion is LEGAL in the United States, and in most forward thinking countries around the world. Therefore, it is not murder, even should you call it that. It is not murder under the law of the land, and therefore not under “gods” law.

    • Oreo

      An embryo or fetus is still a human, just not fully developed. Therefore every abortion ends an innocent human life. Abortion is murder. The legality of abortion is why pro-lifers are arguing. Because it’s murder and it should be outlawed.

    • emily

      Slaughtering Jews were legal in Germany under Hitler…does that make it right?

      Infanticide is legal in the Netherlands, does that make it OK?

      It is also legal to imprison Gays in Uganda…does that make it right?

      Just because some is Legal, it doesn’t make it right. Just because we are to submit to authorities and obey the law, doesn’t mean we can’t point out what is wrong and immoral.

    • emily

      @ Talon,

      http://www.queerty.com/african-gay-activists-remain-realistic-20080522/

      So it that OK to you because it is LEGAL in those countries to imprison Gay people?

      “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” 1 Corinthians 13:6

    • Talon

      emily, just as I am not christian, I am not a citizen of those countries, nor was I alive and a nazi supporter during WWII and the Holocaust.

      See, you’re talking about murdering people. Born people. Who don’t live in the United States where abortion is still legal, thanks so much. That’s the difference. A fetus (or embryo/zygote/blastocyst as the development may be) is not. And if you want to “fact-check” your bible, you can easily find when your “god” bestows a soul and personhood upon a baby. FYI…it would be when it takes its first breath. The Bible is also pretty clear about what a murdered PERSON is worth and a lost pregnancy is worth.

      I just love it when Christians change their mythology to suit their whims.

      Abortion is still legal; murder is illegal, therefore abortion does not equal murder. Matthew’s law of the land still stands.

    • emily

      Science does say, life begins at conception. Unborn or not, a life is a life. There are numerous bible verses that support that. Psalm 139:13-16, Exodus 21:22-25, Psalm 127:3, etc, etc to name a few.

      It is true you are not a Chistian, but non Chistians are under the law: The Ten Commandements. I’m not even trying to convert you, I can’t, only God can.

      A fetus is the latin word for offspring, by the way, not clump of cells. The life being aborted has hands, feet, a heartbeat, a brain…and by nature, it is human.

      I live in Canada, where there are NO restrictions on abortion at all. Guess what that lead to?

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2011/09/09/edmonton-effert-infanticide-suspended-sentence.html

      Her killing her own newborn was equated to a late term abortion.

      I believe that aborting a baby at anytime is wrong. It is not a clump of cells, it’s a child.

    • http://twitter.com/MsWendyKH Wendy Kraus-Heitmann

      You are lying about no restrictions. You cannot get an abortion without medical approval in Canada after either 20 or 22 weeks. At least not in Quebec, where we like our abortion very much.

    • Talon

      emily: Hello…the egg and sperm are ALIVE when the whole conception thing goes down. Science says that a new form of life happens when those two cells combine and begin to divide. It is ALIVE. That is not in question. What it is NOT is a newborn, a baby, a child or a person.

      Period.

      And just out of curiosity, why would an all powerful, omnipotent being WANT to convert me? If one is omnipotent, than one would have no use for those who blindly worship its non-presence.

      Good for Canada. I didn’t bother to read the article because I have to take Chibi to swim practice. Maybe I will later. Either way, I still don’t care. You’re still wrong. Your bible tells you so.

    • emily

      “And just out of curiosity, why would an all powerful, omnipotent being WANT to convert me? If one is omnipotent, than one would have no use for those who blindly worship its non-presence.”

      He probably doesn’t want to. I don’t know, I am not God. I made a mistake there, not convert, but save is probably more appropriate wording.

      Do you think you are a good person? Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen anything (no matter how small or insignificant)? Have you ever used the Lord’s name in vain? Have you ever commited adultery (Jesus said, whoever looked at a person with lust has already commited adultery with him/her in his/her heart)? If you have done these things, God sees you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer-at- heart. The Bible warns that if you are guilty you will end up in Hell. That’s not God’s will, He sent His Son to suffer and die on the cross for you. Jesus took your punishment upon Himself: “God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” Then He rose from the dead and defeated death. Please, repent (turn away from sin) today and trust in Jesus, and God will grant you everlasting life. Then read your Bible daily and obey it.

    • Talon

      @emiuly: Do I think I’m a good person? Other people think I am. I wouldn’t go so far as good, myself, but then I also critique myself on a harsher scale than I do others.

      But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I do not believe in your “god.” And I’m terribly sorry that your god is a sadistic, misogynistic, jerkwad but then again, that’s one reason I don’t believe in him. Any deity that I choose to give my time to isn’t going to be one who wants to micromanage my life and do it with a bunch of sheep who rely on a book of mythology that has been written by men, and translated and retranslated and re-interpreted…again by MEN.

      In short, I don’t live under the 10 Commandments, I do not believe in a Christian god, especially the one you’re spouting off about…and I’m dreadfully sorry that your deity is a total jerk and plagiarist. FYI, never trust a religion that rips off most of its base beliefs and holy days from other religions. No man nor god commands me, thanks. The deity I choose to worship (if you want to call it like that…) is made of awesome. I don’t need, nor do I want forgiveness for my “sins.” I enjoy my sins just as I ought to. And MY deity says it’s totes okay.

      So, there it is then.

    • Talon

      Eeeep! My apologies, the misspelling of your name, emily, was a complete accident and typo I didn’t catch.

      Sorry about that.

    • Jen

      Talon: For the record, I think you are a good person, for what it’s worth. I also think that people who rely on a book written by men thousands of years ago to explain things like volcanos (since they didn’t know what the f’ was going on) and take it as a serious guide for how to live (especially given the literally thousands of contradictions, rewrites, etc) are not really worth arguing with. After all, they don’t know how to use their higher reasoning, trying to have a conversation with them is about as productive as discussing Plato with a potato.

    • lolingatyourignorance

      you shouldn’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you. everyone sins it doesn’t matter to God what it is. it says it millions of times in the Bible, sin. Murder is sin. Sex before marriage is a sin.(in the bible) to God its all sin, okay so why does it matter to you if it doesn’t matter to God (who you worship & praise so dearly) & btw what the hell does adultry have to do with anything? she never said she slept with a married man…. just saying.
      FOR EXAMPLE: MATTHEW 7:1-6 NIV version
      “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6 Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

  • Jessica

    I too thank you for this post. While I have never experienced a miscarriage, I did choose an abortion years ago. I was on birth control and was raped by an ex-bf. As soon as he found out I was pregnant, he told me he would kill me and my other child once HIS child was born. I couldn’t take that chance. I felt no emotion for the cells growing inside me. It was not a hard decision then and several years later, it causes me no remorse. I know that pro-lifers will read this and think I am a horrible human being and mother. I love my daughter very much. She has been able to grow without fear of losing Mommy or her own life. She no longer worries about the “boogeyman.” An abortion is a procedure. It’s a choice. I will forever be pro-choice. Thank you for empowering women life me who are still wonderful mothers despite making choices that others don’t agree with.

    • Friendly ghost

      Forgive my curiosity. You stated that your ex-bf who raped you said he would kill you and your other children after HIS child was born. Why on earth would you even tell him you were pregnant? I’m curious if you pressed charges. Was he totally okay with the fact that you aborted?

  • Talon

    Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!! I’m so sorry for your loss; miscarriages are HARD.

    But thank you for sharing your story. I’m willing to bet it’s more common than most anti-choicers would have the world believe.

  • Pregnancy Miscarriage Bleeding

    Are you pregnant and facing the problem of bleeding? If yes, then do measure the quantities or the levels of bleeding. If you bleed a lot then must consult doctor as it may lead to miscarriage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pandora114 Monique Boulanger

    15wks in Nova Scotia.

  • Pingback: 104 Real Abortion Stories |

  • Oreo

    Just because a baby is unwanted, that shouldn’t give anyone the right to kill it. An embryo or fetus is still a human, just not fully developed. Therefore, every abortion kills an innocent human being. Just because you’re not attached to a “clump of cells”, or even if you hate it, that shouldn’t give you the right to murder. Rape does not justify murder either.

  • Kat

    So your point is a baby is a bay only when it is wanted?

  • Gwyndolen Boudicca Benghazi Be

    All living matter is a “clump of tissue” duh. You are also 72 percent water. Does that mean that an unborn human is only 72 percent water? Because you are a clump tissue and I am legally allowed to perform an after birth abortion on you.