Hija del Mar

I feel waves of life move through me with universal rhythm

Like an oyster, I have no eyes to see my own pearl

I form my little shell, defenseless to the ocean’s swell

Unlike an oyster, I am learning to treasure my inner self

I’m sorry oysters, if I underestimated you

As a woman, people often underestimate me

I am a daughter of the sea

I want to remind every girl

That she is a precious pearl

Within her lies the whole world

Irony

I usually doubt that I am using the term ‘ironic’ accurately, but I marvel at the irony of the humbling relationship between my uterus and the universe.

I thought my fertility was abundant until I aborted a pregnancy and have been unable to conceive subsequently.

I ended the pregnancy for many reasons, partly because I thought my resources were too scarce, and now I am spending mad cash buying baby shower gifts for friends.

It was easy to end a pregnancy that made me gravely ill, though maybe I would have felt better if I had hung on for a few more weeks.

As a medical resident, I thought my time was too limited to have a baby, and now I am working overtime because my female colleagues had theirs. My employer’s policy for maternity leave started one month before I would have been due, but who knew. Perhaps I take my job too seriously, even for a physician.

My uterus is dark and malleable and filled with iron-rich blood. My thoughts are bitter and molten as I reflect on the irony that the exact thing which I tried to avoid imposing on others- disrupting their work schedule- is precisely what has been inflicted on me.

I terminated my pregnancy partly because I wasn’t married at the time, then when I got married a year later my family refused to acknowledge my wedding anyway.

The lesson to not let anxiety run my life is hard won. I am anxiety incarnate, but I am more than that. Had I not let worries about time, money, or what my co-workers and family would think of me dictate my actions, maybe I’d have a child now.

I’d probably make the same decision again, but the taste of iron is strong.

Hold Her

Treat your woman right

Hold her day and night

She is fire, she is earth

She holds power under her skirt

She is lava, she is water

She is your mother, she is your daughter

She is fire, she is earth

She holds power under her skirt

Treat your woman right

All day and all night

She is fire, she is ice

She is everything that’s nice

Like the earth she is made of clay

She can sculpt her life her way

Brothers and sisters, misses and misters

Treat women right

Don’t start a fight

If you do, that’s on you

Don’t say I didn’t warn you

She is fire, she is earth

She holds power under her skirt

You’ve got to learn how to treat a woman right

Hold her tenderly all night

Body Betrayal

Why do I only get knocked up when I am not trying?

After three unplanned pregnancies too early in the relationship to realize that I didn’t want to be with the father long-term, before breaking under the pressure of our mental illnesses, I prematurely concluded that my fertility was abundant.

Three abortions later, I am happily married and trying to get pregnant, meanwhile my health insurance and job are due to expire in <9 months. I feel my desperation grow and my hope dwindle more with each passing moon cycle.

Must I be reckless, drunk and naked with a stranger in order to conceive?

Body, have mercy. I’m sorry I’ve put you through hell, faithful servant. Please forgive me.

I may strive for perfection, but I never reach it.

I abuse myself, even now. I take my health for granted, even now.

This is my unfiltered personal statement.

PTSD memories pushing through each moment

I hear the echo of my steps on city streets

Tasting the bitter fruits purchased from the tiny fortune I amassed as a professional rape victim

I don’t know what it feels like to be in your body, pro-lifers

But I respect your right to use your body the way you want to, and I only ask that you let me do the same

I may never get pregnant again, but even if my fertility is not as abundant as I once believed, the universe is abundant

But body, must I get intoxicated with a stranger in order to get pregnant, or can we conceive of a new way of conceiving- one centered in sobriety, safety and stability?

Trapped Truth

He demands the truth from me

I want to tell him but I don’t think he wants to hear
That his fears are both false and true
What’s a battered girl to do
You prod and poke
I divert and joke
Gasping for air under the heaviness in my heart
You want to know my story, where to start?
You can learning everything there is to know
Without asking questions, simply observe
I’m trying to move on from the past
Why do you bring me back
How many times will you bring me back?
I know he knows in his heart
The truth of the depths of my womb
Truth trapped in my mouth like a tomb
I’m sorry
Please forgive me
I love you
Thank you

A Tale of 3 Abortions

For my first abortion, I was on a tropical island under general anesthesia, outside the barbarity of having an abortion in the USA.
A small push of the creamy contents of a syringe swiftly pulled me into a dreamless sleep, the edges of my consciousness tingled briefly before collapsing into painless, silent darkness
Sweet surrender, I welcomed it in
The next thing I remember, I was in the post-operative area, being encouraged to wake up by a soft voice and gentle nudges. Still silly from sedation, I put my arm around the friendly nurse and rested my head on her shoulder. We laughed.

‘Everything went well’ said the doctor afterwards, ‘but you should try to prevent future abortions because every procedure has its risks’

Good advice
That I didn’t take.
I tried. I made several attempts to get an IUD, however I returned home without birth-control every time. One clinic didn’t stock IUDs, another was closed despite my appointment for an IUD insertion. I know I neglected myself, I should have prioritized it more, but self-neglect is a habit that was brutally beaten into my developing brain by my family.

To my family, I give thanks for my successes and my failures. Failure is merely opportunity in disguise.

My second abortion was in a crowded clinic in Philadelphia. The doctor didn’t tell me his name, or say a word to me. He seemed grumpy and rushed, which was to be expected. It was two days before Christmas, and songs about the holy infant baby Jesus wafted through the crowded waiting room of women desperate to have abortions- abortions which were delayed by a sexist legal policy requiring them to view a short video about the risks of having an abortion several days before their abortion could take place.

A volunteer hand-holder allowed me to squeeze her hand throughout the most painful few minutes of my life, telling me I was great at remembering to breathe as my cervix was forced open and the contents of my uterus were sucked out. In the recovery area, in so much pain I felt like I was dying, a volunteer pastor brought me crackers and ginger ale- silver lining of the brutal cloud of having an abortion without analgesia.

For my third abortion, I was blessed with a doula and nitrous oxide to take the edge off of anxiety and pain. A medical student on the care team was my abortion DJ- playing whatever music I requested from her phone (I asked for Bob Marley, to remind me that every little thing is gonna be alright). As I inhaled and exhaled the nitrous oxide through my mouth, I thought to myself, ‘I was made for this’. Years of yoga practice had prepared me for the mindful breathing necessary to receive nitrous oxide, and within a few breaths, I embarked on a spiritual journey.

Throughout my cosmic trip, my abortion doula guided me. She would gently remind me to relax my forehead and drop my shoulders away from my ears, told me how strong I was and what a great job I was doing, fanned me when I started to sweat, bringing me back to a place of peace and ease. Most of the time, the abortion clinic room had faded away and I did not realize that time was passing- perhaps it wasn’t.

My doula reminded me to lengthen my exhales by telling me to ‘blow out all those candles on the birthday cake’. In my shamanic trance, from the perspective that existence is a timeless field of elements and particles, of light and vibration, I knew that no one is ever really born and no one ever really dies.

Abortions are difficult. The decision to have an abortion, the experience itself, and the lifelong emotional reaction to it are all really tough. Electing to end a pregnancy has innate emotional complexity. There is a moment just before each of my three abortions when I thought, ‘It is not too late, I can run out of here and keep this pregnancy’, and I felt torn, no matter how sure I felt about the abortion going into it. Even with nitrous oxide, my third abortion was still breathtakingly painful, however feeling united with existence on the quantum level, understanding the immortality of all being, was worth it in and of itself.

I’m glad that I had every one of my abortions, as continuing my pregnancies would have been far worse. Although it breaks my heart to mourn my could’ve-been-babies, I didn’t feel supported by society, my family or my partners in any of my pregnancies. I’m glad that I will not have another abortion, praise be to my IUD.

A woman who has a miscarriage and retains the embryo, fetus or placenta in her uterus is allowed to have it removed in the operating room under full anesthesia, yet women electing to end a pregnancy must endure the same procedure in excruciating pain. To be freed from an unwanted pregnancy, however, is worth it every time.

Dear reader, I hope you never have to experience an abortion, however should the need arise, I hope you are blessed with a hand to hold, encouraging words, and by grace, nitrous oxide.

Wild Thing

I do things that I know I shouldn’t

I do the impossible, people said I couldn’t

I do wild things, you thought I wouldn’t

But I did and I do

I’m gonna keep on living how I see fit for me, not you

Your discontent has nothing to do with me

So don’t cry to me that I aborted the pregnancy

If you’d been half a man worth half a damn

Maybe I would’ve reconsidered

But you made it easy

I’m a wild thing

My body is mine and mine alone to keep

I am not an extension of you, you goddamn creep

Now you know, I don’t play when you mess with me

I’m wild and I’m going to stay that way

I won’t be the victim of your domestic abuse

I’ve already ridden that train and I know it goes right to Insaneland

You can stay there, I’ve hitchhiked elsewhere

I’m a wild thing

You are not allowed in my organic garden of Eden

You are too bitter to taste the sweetness my fruit

 

Little Prayer

I humbly offer a little prayer
For the little life
That grew inside me for a while
They were due to be born yesterday

I think it was a girl
I will never know for sure
Not knowing is part of the price I pay for ending the pregnancy
How I would have loved to love her

Unbeknownst to me at the time of conception, her daddy was not fit to raise a baby with
Nine weeks later, he made it apparent that I needed to have nothing to do with him        In order to protect my own wellbeing

At the same time, I lacked the socioeconomic resources
to have the baby without him
So I gave her up, though I struggled to pay for the abortion

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Planned Parenthood, the Women’s Action Fund, and the many strong, generous advocates of women’s rights around the world. Thank you.

To the ignorant people and policies that get in the way of women accessing the health care they need, to those who do harm by being obnoxious obstacles to women’s rights, and to the health insurance companies that don’t cover jack shit of abortive care, I would like to express a sincere ‘Fuck You’.

Ending my pregnancy was a tough choice
But I’m glad I made it
It was the best decision for me
I am happier, healthier and freer now because of it

Still, in my mind’s eye I see her sweet eyes
Whisper in her little ears, caress her soft curls
Hold her little fingers and the tiniest of toes
In my imagination, I kiss her cheeks and her nose
I hear her laughter and her cries
I delight in the chubby rolls of her baby thighs

I hope you understand, little life
That your mama did the best she could
With what she had at the time

I bow in deep respect to you
With compassion and gratitude
Beaming always peace and love to you

From the spiritual realm, little life, I’m sure you can see clearly how                                                  Pro-choice is pro-life; pro-women’s lives                                                                          Women’s lives matter                                                                                                                       My abortion allowed me to give birth to my own life                                                                   I am so fortunate to live the life that I want                                                                                 To make decisions about my body                                                                                                  To be free

I pray that all women may know this freedom                                                                             If I had kept the pregnancy and given birth yesterday, I would have raised my child to value and fight for her freedom of choice                                                                                            So that if she got pregnant she could choose to do what is best for herself

 

American Abortion

America, America
Do you feel free?
I’ll tell you what freedom means to me
Freedom is the choice to do what I want with my body

America, America
I know you can relate
You too have suffered
Violations of late

America, you know the trauma of violence
Violence like my childhood
I survived it the best that I could
It wasn’t easy, America

Loud explosions of anger
Showered down upon my head

Hidden within the deep silence of neglect
I wished that I was dead

America, that upbringing
Taught me just one thing;
How to feel afraid
Long after the violence ceases to sting

America, I am still too afraid to say ‘no’
You can imagine how this created problems as I started to grow
I knew only how to please                                                      

So I had unwanted sex
That lead to unwanted pregnancy
That’s how that goes
When you don’t have birth control

America, you gave me hope
When I received health insurance even though I was poor
Insurance that would have covered my whole pregnancy and the birth of my baby
Who could ask for anything more?

But America, I didn’t want to be pregnant or have a child
After all, my own life is still quite wild
It seems an ill choice to bring a baby into this world
When my own ability to make ends meet has yet to unfurl

I thought that since my health insurance would’ve covered the pregnancy
Asking it to pay for an abortion would be a relief
A relief for my body, my future and a relief for the insurance company
Because an abortion costs a tiny fraction of the price of having a baby, and at a much smaller health risk than childbirth, America

But my insurance refused to cover even one penny of the fee
and the ‘Powers That Be’ maliciously made me suffer through bureaucracy;         waiting and watching a ridiculous video that delayed for more than a week
the medical treatment of which I was in desperate need

America, have you ever been pregnant when you didn’t want to be?
Have you ever felt so exhausted that you were incapacitated from doing anything?
Have you ever been nauseous all day and all night?
Have you ever had your sense of smell so heightened that you felt suffocated by the stink of misogynistic bullshit?

America, I begged and scraped to pay for my abortion
The abortion was painful and bloody and rushed
Just another American day

America, I think we need to have a heart-to-heart talk
Abortion saved my life
Thanks to my abortion, I am now free
I am free from an abusive relationship
I am free from a pregnancy that I didn’t want to keep
I am free from having a baby when I wasn’t ready

America, how could I not feel hurt by your bias?
You would have given me full support if I kept my pregnancy,
yet no support at all when I chose to end it                                     This made me feel like you did not respect my life, my body or my autonomy
It put me in dire financial straits                                             For which I am still washing the dishes
But I’m grateful that the choice was mine to make

America, I too have a dream
That one day
Women will have abortion services
Covered by their health insurance
As much as any other reproductive health care
America, we can do better

America, I want every woman to have
The right to decide what she wants to do with her body
Women are more than baby-growing machines to be controlled by others
Women are people too
And we have something to tell you:

Keep abortion legal
Keep abortion safe
Let women choose what to do with their bodies
Let Freedom Ring

Take Home Message

Take Home Message

More than a half-dozen moons ago
Just before the first snow
I caught Autumn’s fire
And in flames of desire
Got burnt by a liar
Who told me that he pulled his cock out in time
But he did not
It cost me more than dimes
For nine long weeks I was a baby-growing machine
It was extremely stressful and beyond exhausting

When my woulda-been baby daddy
Demonstrated his mental instability
I made the best decision I could:
I ended the pregnancy
Had that little life sucked right out of me
I never felt so much pain or saw so much blood
Months later I am bleeding still
Though I am too broke and scared to incur another doctor’s bill

Yesterday something fell out of my vagina
It wasn’t blood, nor was it obviously an embryo
It was an irregularly-shaped mass of fleshy tissue
Although I’m bleeding profusely, I am finally pain-free
I’m not entirely sure what the thing is or what it means
It quickly acquired a putrid smell
My take home message is:
Use protection y’all, to prevent this hell