Sarina

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I am 28 years old and I'm in a Master's Program studying Integrative and Functional Nutrition.

My first abortion happened when I was about 20. I was six weeks pregnant at the time of my abortion.

I pretty much knew right away that I would have an abortion because I was in school, planning to have a future, and having a baby was not something I was wanting and willing to do. To have that responsibility, I was just not ready for it. And then the person I was dating at the time felt the exact same way. So my partner was supportive and went to the appointment with me.

The abortion clinic was in San Francisco. I remember it didn't feel comforting. It felt very cold and sterile. First I had to make an appointment to make sure I was pregnant, then a "consultation," then the procedure. So all together it was three appointments over three weeks.

But I do remember the second appointment. You go into a room and you quickly speak with a practitioner who says, "Well here's a video on making a choice."

I sat in a room by myself and watched the video. It was a really small room, with a TV, really old school. The film just talked about making a decision. It was pretty neutrally weighted. To be honest I was not happy that I had to sit through that. After I left that appointment I knew that I would come back for the procedure.

I got over this abortion pretty fast. I'm a writer, I write poems. I wrote about it. That was my therapy. I'm a thinker. I thought about it. I talk out loud to myself a lot. So I never reached outside of myself for therapy or help. I didn't know it existed. I didn't know there was anything that could be like that until years later.

A few years ago I started volunteering for a talk line for women who have had abortions. After my first year at the talk line one of the support staff came and asked me if I would like to be on the panel and tell my own story. When it was my turn I cried and cried and I could barely get through my story. I didn't expect that. But afterwards I felt amazing. I felt that I wasn't judged at that point. I felt that I did the right thing, for myself and for others. And that validated so much for me. I have learned that your story is part of who you are and always will be in whatever capacity you want it to be.

But in the end I didn't realize how therapeutic and also how scary it can be to say something out loud.

In order to tell your story, to share it, you don't have to feel like you conquered it or you are over it. It's your story and it's however your journey is. And so whatever way it pops up in your life, it can pop up ten years later and you can finally talk about it, it's still OK. You can think about it from time to time and it's still OK, because again, your experience is part of your journey. For a long time I just judged myself too much. So now I feel more secure with myself to admit and tell my story and not be ashamed of it.