This story is published at @wrrapreprojustice on Instagram.
I’ve had two abortions. I got married at 17. We were high school sweethearts, which led to an unplanned pregnancy and then a marriage. I did not consider abortion then at all due to my South Asian background, not being educated on abortions, and because of how women are shamed for it. When I was 19, talk of having another child came up.
Two-and-a-half months into the pregnancy, things changed. I had a choice: have an abortion or live the rest of my life as a single mom to two children. I was torn. I come from a Pakistani household and was raised Muslim. Abortions are a taboo topic and frowned upon.
My understanding of abortion was very limited at the time, and I didn’t know of anyone who had experienced it who could walk me through the process. I was ashamed to even tell my family doctor, so I Googled an abortion clinic at the other end of the city and got an appointment.
The whole process was very scary and the staff could tell my anxiety was building up. Not having the right support and not talking about it affected me a lot mentally and emotionally. I went into a depression right after, which became the beginning of my mental health journey.
Experiencing abortion first-hand changed my beliefs and perspective on it tremendously. It made me drop my judgment and want to educate others.
The most challenging part about it has been the stigma. When I opened up to my close friends about it, they couldn’t believe that I had had abortions because I am an exemplary mother — this created a dialogue that was very much needed to shift perspectives.
I believe it’s important to talk about it openly so people don’t bash others or shame themselves for doing what is best for them, like I did for years.