Abortion (part 1)
This is probably one of the most difficult things I have ever written about. And although it has been a year and a half – the wound has not healed. But it has, at least, been successfully repressed. Some things are better not to be thought about; some wounds simply cannot be healed.
However, here is my story for you. And as usual, my personal abortion was a lot more weird, painful, and dramatic than what most women go through (not to belittle the painful experiences of others). Surely, an abortion will always be a memory best forgotten, it is never an easy decision or experience. But it rarely goes like this:
I had just arrived back in Bangkok after abruptly ending my studies in Psychology and Human Kinetics and Ergonomics. I had been in a relationship, with a newly adopted dog living and studying in South Africa. I couldn’t stay any longer. I couldn’t continue living that life. I missed my old happy hippie single life in Thailand too much. This longing haunted me in my sleep.
South Africa was definitely something else, a very sad, yet beautiful country. I was living in Grahamstown, a grey, rainy place named after a brutal coloniser, and studying at Rhodes University. What a strange thing to go back to university at 28! I did love it there for a time. I loved having a purpose, a goal. I loved the knowledge I acquired, wanting to be the best and achieving it. I loved making new friends and figuring out a place that was so different from anything I had ever experienced.
It was dangerous. Every house had alarm systems, windows covered in burglar bars. It was there that I learned what White Privilege means. But in the end, it wasn’t for me. I was in the wrong place, in a society that was too closed-minded and in a relationship that I didn’t want to be in any more. Leaving South Africa felt like breaking out of a prison I had put myself in. Leaving South Africa also meant leaving Daniel, a man that had just asked me to marry him. This was all a radical shift but I had yet to realise what big changes awaited me.
I spent the last weeks of my stay in Grahamstown by myself as Daniel went back to Australia to work. I spent these nights either on Ritalin in the library, or fucking a handful (or two handfuls) of guys. I had spent a year and a half being monogamous even though Daniel and I were in a polyamorous relationship on paper. So let’s just say I went a bit wild after he’d left. I had relatively few options in South Africa but there was enough room to play with.
Daniel and I were one of those healthy couples. We trained every day, we ate clean. No drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes. So when he left, everything turned upside down. Inside out. Life became exciting again. Wild. Chaotic. Toxic. How fucking good is it to be single???
And in that mess of drugs and sex, it happened. Two condoms broke. With two different guys. You know, It does happen. Condoms do break if you’re too rough or not wet enough or you ignorantly use coconut oil as a lubricant not knowing it causes condoms to break. And then at other times, you don’t even put one on in the first place, or the guy that fucks you from behind sneakily pulls it off. Until then, I had never gotten pregnant. Even though it could have and perhaps should have happened many times. It’s pretty much a miracle that it didn’t.
So I thought it would stay this way. With the same naïveté that allowed me to walk the street in the middle of the night without fearing danger or rape; I believed that I was especially protected in some way. I believed the world was safe and people were good. Then life decides it’s time for that naïve young girl to wake up. She must learn the hard way so she can become strong.
With these two condom mishaps in mind, I was on my way to a clinic in Bangkok to get tested. I was shitting myself thinking I’d caught something. There was no doubt in my mind that I could have gotten chlamydia but I was sincerely worried about having contracted HIV. It was South fucking Africa after all.
I arrived at the clinic but it was closed for a public holiday. I felt like I needed to be proactive and I had a bit of pain in my uterus. So I went to 7-11 and bought a pregnancy test, one of those I had bought probably 50 times before. I pissed on it in the public toilet of a park. I didn’t take it too seriously. It was more of a routine thing to do. And when I saw two pink stripes I laughed and told myself it was probably a manufacturing mistake. A bit concerned however, I rushed home to my friends where I was staying and bought another test on the way.
Two stripes again.
I sank into the sofa as images of last week’s shenanigans fought for attention in my mind but I couldn’t really focus on anything…
…The day before, I had just come back from a crazy trip to Pattaya with some new girlfriends. We went to a gay strip club and I was called on stage, sat on a chair and ten guys with erect penises wearing cockrings circled around me pretty much fulfilling my earliest gangbang fantasies. There I was in the middle and wasted as fuck. So I did what any one would do in that moment. I took the chance and sucked them all off. We went to a normal strip club afterwards and I went on stage pretending to be able to dance, hit on one of the strippers almost to the point of harassment and then blacked out.
I thought of Kgala, a thin, black, handsome and very smart socio-politically active young skater kid who cheated on his girlfriend with me.
When we realised the condom had broken, after he came inside of me, I ran to the shower to clean myself, desperately hoping it would help. When I came back to the bedroom he stood at the window pointing at a rainbow. I joked and said, I feel like this is a sign a baby was just created. I laughed.
But it wasn’t all that funny anymore.
I thought of Chris, my drug dealer lover and his pretty face.
A law student so high on his own supply that often I couldn’t even understand what he was saying. I thought of the night I ended up in the bathtub with him and two other guys. I thought of him then fucking me in the shower and in someone’s bedroom. He took so long to come, it felt like a never-ending story. Until the excitement was gone and I just wanted it to be over. And when it finally was, he pulled out to tell me the condom broke. It didn’t feel good at all, that moment just felt dark.
I thought of Daniel, who I’d left heart-broken in South Africa, trying to sell our car and get the papers ready for the dog we’d adopted so he could take him to Australia…
…I thought of all the drugs I’d taken, it was probably some of the wildest and unhealthiest few weeks of my entire life. A grand finale of self destruction that lead to… you…
…And finally I thought of you.
I touched my belly and a feeling of love overcame me that cleared all other thoughts from my mind and finally, finally I cried.
Would you be light caramel brown or white and tall? Would I raise you by myself on the beach in Thailand? Who would help me? How would I educate you? Would you be healthy? Was this real or was it a nightmare I’d wake up from in a second? Its a strange feeling when you’re at a point in your life where you only have questions and not a single answer.
To be really, really sure I went to the hospital to get a pregnancy/every-STD-exisitng-in-the-world test. I had to wait an hour and when the doctor called me in, he told me he had good and bad news…
He said, “The bad news is you have chlamydia”. Thank God I thought, “…and the good news is you’re pregnant”.
I cried again and told him he got it mixed up. Chlamydia is the good news and the pregnancy is the bad news but he didn’t get it. I listed the drugs that I had taken in the last weeks and he promised me the baby would be fine. I didn’t believe him. I got a picture of the ultrasound and a tablet against the chlamydia.
I walked home through Bangkok’s smoggy, dirty streets, sweating and crying. It was real. You were real. It was a nightmare. No, hell. I was in hell.
Back at the apartment, I called my mum and her first reaction was anger. “How could that have happened?”, she said. “How could it not be Daniel’s?”. And she did what she’s always done all my life – she slut shamed me. Not that it would have any kind of effect, she’s done all my life and look at what I’ve become.
She probably didn’t do it hoping to change me but it was just how she learned to react to an extremely sexually liberated woman. Even though she’s a feminist, an alternative witch, politically rather than sexually liberated. Maybe she hated men too much to have lots of sex with them. Or maybe she was jealous of my sexual freedom. After her sadness and anger had calmed down she told me that although she normally wouldn’t suggest it, she thought I should have an abortion.
I was disappointed, but I thanked her for the advice I didn’t want to hear and the insult I didn’t need. Quite shocked having not received what I needed from my mum, I called about 6 more people whose opinion I trusted, only to find out that everyone said exactly the same. I need to have an abortion.
No one believed you should be born? What the fuck was wrong with them, cold-hearted assholes. They had no faith in us? How could they all think like this? It’s because they didn’t carry you in their bloody bodies like I did. All of this while the hormones hCG and estrogen rushed through my blood making my skin glow and my tits swollen and sore. Everything very soft including my mind. I was really really pregnant and it felt…. Kinda good. It felt yummy. And I felt so much love, it would be impossible to kill you. Even if everyone said it was the right thing to do.
I went out and bought chocolate cake and a pink dress. Might as well… this is when the most confusing and painful few days of my life began. Days of considering whether to keep a baby whose father I didn’t even know or somehow find a way to have an abortion in a place where it seemed close to impossible.
To be continued next week (the decision)…