Karrine Steffans writes about the stigma of having three abortions. Her story is reported in this article in Madamenoire.
As far as the public is concerned, Karrine Steffans has always and will always be an open book. After all, after Confessions of a Video Vixen what more could she have to tell? But when it comes to her personal life, Karrine isn’t quite as transparent with those around her, including her own doctor.
In a piece for XOJane this week, Steffans wrote a detailed essay about finally being ready to have a baby after three abortions, but being scared to tell her gynecologist about the previous pregnancies.
Steffans is already a mother to an 18-year-old son, has “been married three times, and in the past year, aborted the two babies conceived with my third husband,” she wrote in her essay.
That husband was Columbus Short whom she found out was using heroin while she was pregnant, a fact, she wrote, that made it impossible for her to see herself stuck to him for the rest of the life. So she terminated the pregnancy, like the other she had before they married, and stated, “I have never regretted that decision.”
The former video vixen’s first abortion happened in the time between her second and third husbands when she was involved with a man 10 years younger. “Three years into our relationship, when I found myself pregnant with his child, my lover — who was not yet 25 years old — panicked,” she wrote. “I thought if I had the abortion, I could save us, but it destroyed me, and I could never bring myself to talk to him again.”
Steffans also couldn’t bring herself to talk to her gynecologist about terminating any of the pregnancies. “I needed strangers to perform them,” she wrote explaining that she’d been seeing her gynecologist for 10 years prior to her abortions. “I didn’t want my doctor or his wife to be disappointed in me, handing over the abortion pills because it’s part of their job, but quietly wondering why I kept doing this to myself,” she said.
But now with the very real desire to have a child with “a man I don’t mind being tied to for the rest of my life,” Steffans said, “it’s time to visit my real doctor.” But she’s scared.
“I guess a part of me worries that my doctor will see all this emotional trauma manifested inside my lady bits, as if there are lines carved into my flesh by the lost inhabitants of my uterus, marking the days and weeks they spent there before the end. It’s silly and it’s untrue but, in my mind, there is some gruesome telltale sign, some karmic graffiti that will show where I’ve been and what I have done before I ever get to tell him…
…”I’ve had a few abortions.”
“And I guess it’s not so much the abortions, but the fact that I didn’t trust him to help me through them, that makes it hard for me to make my first appointment with my gynecologist in well over a year. I know he’ll ask why I didn’t come to him, and I know I might be afraid to admit that I didn’t want him to think less of me — because that’s just silly, isn’t it?”
Perhaps, but nevertheless a very real concern. While abortions may be legal in this country (for now), women are still subjected to a great deal of shame when exercising their right to choose by family members, friends, and even healthcare practitioners.
Having known her gyno for 10 years, Steffans’ fear of being judged by someone who knows her well may turn out to be irrational, but nevertheless it’s real, and a common concern expressed by women of all ages.