I can’t write this. I can’t write this. I can’t write this.
But I must.
I’ve got to release this emotion somewhere, and write the words that I will probably never be able to speak out loud.
I feel like I have to share what has happened over the last 618 days since I had my abortion. Maybe it will help someone to make a decision or make someone feel something, and then I will somehow be a little less alone in the world.
After my abortion, my relationship with my boyfriend deteriorated slowly but surely.
At first, we didn’t have sex because I experienced chronic yeast infections and inflammation that made sex painful. Three months turned into six, and then nine, and my health problems went away, but sex was still an infrequent part of our relationship, it became clear to both of us that something more was up.
Despite the problems, we moved to a new place together. I started studying and began to build a life: making friends, spending nights out, afternoons studying, and evenings working.
I knew that in some ways, I was beginning to move on from the abortion.
After the abortion, my feelings for my boyfriend changed little by little. I wish I had a more eloquent or deep way to put it. I don’t think our relationship was ready for an event like an abortion. Slowly, I began to fall out of love with him.
It took me a solid year and a half to end the relationship. Looking back, I can’t believe it took that long.
After we broke up, a lot of emotions that I had been suppressing and pushing to the side, were brought to the surface. Finally, I began to feel my own feelings instead of riding the waves of constant drama.
And so, like I have done many times before, I ran.
I ran right into more unsafe arms. More arms that didn’t truly care about me. More arms that only wanted my body, that only wanted to look at my face but preferred my mouth shut and my heart cold. By this I mean one-night stands and friends-with-benefits type relationships.
The type of relationships that are incredibly unsatisfying and incredibly painful for me—perhaps some of you can relate.
Rupi Kaur said it best:
“if i knew what
safety looked like
i would have spent
less time falling into
arms that were not.”
This spring has brought a lot of realizations about myself.
I finally understood that there were a whole lot of emotions that my heart was trying to feel. Emotions that I was shoving down by getting involved in casual sexual relationships. These shallow relationships would only succeed in setting up the perfect circumstances for me to feel even more isolated—more than if I were alone.
I was using these shallow, dramatic relationships to run.
I am proud to say that I ended my last friends with benefits relationship on my own. I have experienced a lot of anxiety, depression, doubt, and a healthy dose of loneliness since then. I’m still not sure what I need in a relationship or even in my life to be happy, but I definitely know what I don’t need: another pair of unsafe arms.
So here I am. I am writing these words because today I began creating a little garden in my backyard.
It’s a cool, windy day here in Northeast Florida. As I was sitting on my back porch this morning feeling lonely, I realized that I have been pushing my emotions and my beautiful, pure, innocent, loving, tender, caring, strong, powerful, dazzling soul into a dark corner for a long while now. Probably even before the abortion.
I have been looking to men and my friends for validation of my worthiness and as temporary blocks to loneliness.
And as I was sitting on my porch, I thought, “Maybe there are other women like me who have had an abortion and who have been subconsciously using it as another reason to be cold and hard and lonely.” (As if we didn’t have society giving us enough already.)
Maybe there are other women out there who are also having trouble moving on from an abortion, or from any number of painful life events that can make us want to run and run and run and run from the pain.
And to all of you, I say: build a garden.
I am working on mine, and it has brought an inexplicable new burst of peace to my tumultuous mind. To all of the women who are hurting, end those intimate relationships that lack actual intimacy.
End those relationships that you are using only for their drama to run away from the parts of you that need you the most.
Then go and buy beautiful flowers, pretty pots, organic potting soil, and seeds that don’t take too long to sprout.
Whether you are recovering from an abortion or something else, remember that your pain may seem like a bottomless black hole or a monster that wants to devour you but in reality, pain is a tiny, fragile, weak, black creature that slips right into your mind and makes you believe that this emotion, this agony, is all you are.
And let me tell you, you are so much more. The little pain is a creature that just wants to be acknowledged.
Cradle pain in your arms, tell her that you understand, and that you won’t turn away from her. Feel with her and keep her company, and you will see.
Pain will transform, much in the way that a newly planted garden does. Where once there was only something that seemed empty and pointless, one day there will be something beautiful and peaceful: a bountiful garden—and a happy heart. Remember: your pain is not trying to hurt you. It is trying to be felt, acknowledged, and then released.
53,395,200 seconds ago, I had an abortion.
In this moment, I am planting a garden.
Tonight, I will be singing lullabies to my pain. In the morning, I will be picking flowers.
Author: Katherine Mellan
Editor: Sara Kärpänen