All in Three Abortions

“My second son was only a few months old when I discovered that I was pregnant for the fifth time despite breastfeeding. We felt that it would be too great a drain on my body’s resources so try to raise one infant while growing another, so, abortion number three. This one I was very sad about, but I felt like I would have been cheating my infant son, like I wouldn’t have been able to provide enough nutrients to him or the fetus, that one or both of them would suffer a deficiency.”

“After I had my first child I found out I was pregnant when she was six months old. I decided that I could not take on another child when I had an infant. So I decided to have an abortion. The experience in itself was life changing. Then in 2013, the same situation. I just had a baby girl and a couple of months later I found out I was pregnant. The third abortion, we hit some financial strains. It appeared to be twins and I knew I couldn’t have two, there was just no way.”

“I've had to travel abroad each time to have abortions. Making the ordeal expensive and horribly inconvenient. I've never doubted or regretted my decision to terminate. But the limited access, financial burden and of course the stress of the situation — keeping secrets from family and work, lying to avoid judgement from others, the procedure itself — is exhausting.”

“This time round it was very easy . . . Easy because I no longer feel trapped by the stigma of it all, easier because I became aware that it is my life, my choice, my decision. Unfortunately, we build a prison from the invisible bricks of other people's opinions. I am sure some people will be reading this, judging me, judging my choices. But now it does not bother me at all. Because I understand that I am the master of my own life.”

“Every one of these experiences, these disorienting and oddly empowering womb-moments, has emboldened me to speak plainly and shamelessly, to speak openly about what happens - in our hearts & in our communities - when we are shamed and herded into a dark corner regarding our reproductive decisions. about how much overall damage is done when they snatch away the sovereignty we deserve to have over our own bodies.”

“We both sat down and decided to have an abortion. Soon after, cracks started to show, but I was so scared of being alone and leaving him after what I had just been through. 7 months later it got worse, the mental abuse started, the blackmailing, the name calling, the outbursts of nasty stuff and nasty words, and then it became physical and I found out I was pregnant. I was so scared because I knew what this boy was, he was evil to me. I was worried about me, my body, the pregnancy, my life and even more so my future.”

Actress and author Karrine Steffans talks about how the stigma of having three abortions silenced her, prevented her from seeking help from her own trusted gynecologist, and caused fear of returning to him to have a baby. “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?”