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Strength and courage: Courtney's abortion story


It was 2005, my first year out of high school and I was 19. I had just started dating a new guy. He was handsome, wildly free beyond anything I had ever experienced and I loved the fact he was in his mid-twenties. I felt so mature dating an older man. We had met at a bar and instantly connected. Within the couple weeks of our relationship, everything turned upside down.

I just knew it: my uterus felt different, it felt full, almost occupied by something that did not belong to me. I went ahead and took test after test, and every last one confirmed what I had already known. I was pregnant. Thinking back, I don’t think it ever crossed my mind to keep it. I made it very clear to my boyfriend what my choice was and left no chance for his opinion to waver mine.

Deep down I knew, we would never have made it long term. He was great but was not someone I wanted to build a family with. I remember him laying his head on my stomach, elated by the idea that we created something inside of me. I never remember sharing the same feelings towards the growing thing inside my body. He wanted to keep it but never pressed me, not once.

I knew I needed someone to take me to the clinic and there was no chance I was going to tell my family, so I asked my sister’s best friend, who had gone through the same thing when she was 19. I remember going into the clinic embarrassed by what I was about to do, but the room was full of other individuals waiting for their turn to hear their name called. I later found out that they have everyone come at the same time so everyone is comfortable, bounded by the common link.

As I laid on the bed waiting for the anesthetic to kick in, I remember the nurse pulling at my legs, trying to have me spread them apart and relax into the stirrups. I kept resisting her, mortified that my vagina was exposed to the male doctors in the room. The last thing I remember is the nurse holding my hand, and the beach landscape picture taped to the roof of the operation room.

The days following the abortion I bled thick clots of blood. I remember having to use the public washroom to wipe down my legs because the pad could not contain the amount of blood that was flowing from my emptied uterus.

In the weeks following I had a fall out with a friend, one of the few that knew about the abortion. Out of spite, she told everyone, mutual acquaintances she came across in the grocery store and even rolled down her window at an intersection to shout the news to another car. I had two choices, live in the pity and shame that society places on women who have abortions or say f-you and take ownership for my choices. So I did exactly what I needed to: I took ownership for my body and the choices I made for it.

After I did it, it was amazing: friends, acquaintance, even woman I did not know - came forward and shared their stories with me. Me being public with my abortion helped with the healing of so many other women. Everyone was just waiting to feel like they were not alone. It was a beautiful thing. I am forever grateful for the strength and courage I developed through that experience and the opportunity to feel the strength of a group of woman when they come together.

This is my abortion story, it’s a part of me, shaped who I am and I have never regretted it for a moment.

- Courtney, Canada


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