Story by: Anonymous
I was 19 when one of the worst fears unfolded in my life. I got pregnant (and yes, saying it out loud still feels difficult). I and my boyfriend had protected sex and I took a pill morning after just to be sure. Yet, somehow, my pregnancy was detected 8 weeks later. I was too far in, to have a non-invasive procedure.
I was lucky, my boyfriend was there through it all. I had my support system in the form of friends around. My gynecologist did not judge me. I received the best possible medical care you can on a college student budget. Unfortunately, this is not the case with everyone. People do have sex, and women do get pregnant out of wedlock. The contraceptives are never 100% safe. Hence, there are rare occasions where despite all the preventive measures, pregnancy does happen. How much do we talk about it?
I come from a broad-minded family. My parents are aware that I am sexually active, yet I could never share about my pregnancy with them. I was scared to do it and did not want to face what they might have to say. I finally did get an abortion. Throughout the procedure, I received judgmental stares from nurses and staff. The social structures condition shame into a woman who is in charge of her body.
Additionally, getting an abortion is mentally and physically tolling. Just before I had my abortion, there was a brief period of about two weeks which to date has been the most difficult time of my life mentally and physically. Even though I was lucky enough to not be completely alone throughout it. What happens to your body and goes through your mind in such a situation is a very difficult battle to overcome. Also, people just don't talk about it.
The first time I ever talked about this out loud is very recently, in fact for the purpose of this page, six months after the incident had happened. It made me feel so much better and lighter. It was like I finally got rid of the heavyweight of guilt and fear, I was carrying inside my soul for so long. I immediately regretted not doing it earlier.
As I recall the horrors of getting an abortion, I realize how reproductive care in the country is just not up to the mark. I saw women in their 20’s and middle-aged women getting abortions. The nurses handled the cases differently, depending on the woman’s marital status. For married women, they acted casual and for the rest, they had judgments, rudeness, and callousness. I know a girl, my age who went all the way to Rajasthan from Delhi to get an abortion from an illegal space, for she was probably too scared to even imagine the possibility of someone finding it out.
People need to talk about unplanned pregnancies. In my case, I had the support of my boyfriend and doctors. I had the privilege to go a ‘good’ doctor and pay for it. Not everyone can do it. I am speaking from a safe position. Not everyone can. There is a lot that needs to be done for the reproductive care of half of the population of the country.
I still have a lot of memories etched in my brain from this period of life which are just difficult to remove. I was scared all the time and I've never felt the kind of loneliness I did back then. Because I was too scared. I and my boyfriend could never talk about it openly ever again, even though we shared such a comfortable relationship.
As a result of this experience, I'm always too careful with everything now. Sex can never be just sex for me anymore. I'm still battling with the mental and psychological repercussions. We need to talk about this, so that it can be okay for people like me to feel what we feel and so that people don't run off to Rajasthan to get abortions or have to be bullied by judgmental doctors and nurses. Teenage pregnancy happens, it’s okay.
Also, it’s already happening. More young men and women are getting involved in physical relationships before marriage. In most situations, women often have to bear the brunt of an unplanned pregnancy, just by themselves. The mental suffering is scarring and paramount just because we don't talk about it just because of the fear of society because it miraculous how much ability someone has to heal you just by lending an ear.