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Category Archives: Worry

Respect, the “Friendzone,” and Rejection

We’ve all read about the shooting in Santa Barbara. With the help of #YesAllWomen, we’ve seen the damage that men have caused women. We’ve all heard about the “friendzone” but what exactly does that mean?

I’ve had a guy friend for just over two years now. During that time, he’s expressed that he’s interested in me on multiple occasions. The first time, I ignored the advance. The second time, I responded with, “Yea, I didn’t respond the first time for a reason…” and then he stopped talking to me for several months. When he’d cooled down, we snowboarded together and would hang out. I found another guy as my boyfriend. I’d finally felt like he’d gotten the hint that I wasn’t interested.

Just recently, he’d come over to hang out. We watched The Hunger Games, took my dogs for a walk, and had some drinks. I expressed again, I’m only interested in friendship, and am involved with someone else. He spent the remainder of the night “drunkenly” trying to hold my hand. Thankfully, my dog was on my lap and made it impossible.

He left the following morning after sleeping on my couch, and I asked him to message me when he got home. This is the conversation that ensued. I’ve bolded the portions that I have extreme issues with what he said but am not delving into in this post.

*Out of respect, names have been changed.

Him: I’m home, L, I hope you realize after traveling for over a day the one person I wanted to get back and see wasn’t my family or any friends, it was you. I really want to be more than friends and that hope is what keeps me going and keeps me coming back. I’m not sure where I failed other than being short, but it hurts a little that we are so comfortable together yet you put up blocks. I hope you see me one day for who I am. If you take away my hope that will change our dynamic far more then the other way. I have stood aside so many times while you dated guys who were terrible. I’m sorry but won’t do that again.
Me: B, I’ve told you this a million times. I don’t want to be anything other than friends with you.
Him: Yeah, and I’ve always tried to be more. The part that really hurts is you’re more then friends with guys like J, D, P, etc. Tell me what I lack that they have. You’re proud of my accomplishments. Yet you retreat under the slightest touch. If you really won’t take a step forward then maybe it’s time I take a few steps back.
Me: You think? B, I’ve always been up front with you about the way things are between us. I enjoy being friends with you. I am not attracted to you. We are friends
Him: You’ve airways been up front with me about the way you see things. I’m offering the same courtesy. The biggest reason we are still friends is I had hope. It made things with and made me durable. Walk softly now.
Me: So are you saying you only want to be my friend if there’s a chance of fucking me? That’s pretty low, dude.
Him: No I’m saying I’ve always gone the extra mile, made time during the day, taken you out to dinner, etc in the hope you would take that step.
Him: Well not that step, but just maybe you would finally see me.
Me: It’s ridiculous that that was your expectation all the time. YOU don’t decide how I feel about people. I’ve gone out to dinner with FRIENDS forever, and they don’t put this added pressure. This conversation is making you out to be a shit friend and I need you to stop talking to me for the time being so I can cool the fuck off.
Him: So much for walking softly…
[End of Conversation]

 

First of all, I don’t even know what “Walking softly” means, except for the quote that says something like, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Secondly, the part where I said, “So you only want to be my friend if there’s a chance of f@#$ing me?” he continued to state,  “In the hopes you would take that step.”

That step.

Meaning, yes, in the hopes I’d bang him. And not even so much hopes as expectation. Because he’d always “gone the extra mile.” He admits that I’ve been up front about “the way (I) see things,” and yet somehow this isn’t enough for him.

Again, I’ve told this “gentleman” and self proclaimed “nice guy” countless times that we are friends, and will be nothing more. I’ve tried to say I wasn’t interested in a relationship. I’ve blatantly said I’m only interested in friendship. And yet we still had to have this conversation.

I’m posting this on the blog to illustrate to people who may not experience this type of thing, or maybe have, that this happens, all the time. For some reason, guys feel entitled to a woman’s body if he puts in time and effort. This needs to change. Saying “No” or “I’m not interested” once should be enough and for some reason it hasn’t been. Now people are being killed for saying no. Saying no to going to prom. Saying no to having sex. Not being interested in having sex, and pursuing other guys.

Women are now in a position where saying no may kill them. Where saying, “This is my body, and I’m not interested in you touching it” may get them hurt, threatened, stabbed or shot. This is the reality that women face, that women deal with on a daily basis.

What I’ve posted here is one conversation, one interaction of thousands.

And things have to change.

***UPDATE***

Since writing this piece yesterday, I’ve posted it to my social media pages. The guy in question has read it. This was his response:

Him: That’s it L, if you want to make my words out to be some sort of evil vile sex driven mad man, then you really don’t know me. Btw, it’s “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” you sound like an idiot. Goodbye, you know how to burn bridges like no other. You’re even going after your friends now.

Yes, it was in poor taste to post about my friends. However, at AbortionChat, we strive for personal stories. This is an incredibly personal story to me. I struggled with whether or not to post it, and sought advice from several male friends. They encouraged me to do this, because this is exactly my point.

He has since un-friended me on Facebook. And yet, I still feel like if I hadn’t done this, if I hadn’t taken things to this level to prove a point, he would still be attempting to pursue me. Because no matter how many times I’d said no, I wasn’t interested, we still had those conversations.

The Shaming of Pregnant Women

A week or so ago, an acquaintance of mine posted on Facebook a picture she took of a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette. She was wearing a grey tank top that barely covered her expanding stomach, and in the background a guy was walking toward her. (Assuming her significant other.) She did not ask permission to take said picture, I can only assume she also did not tell the woman that she would be posting her picture on social media. (This acquaintance has since also posted a picture of people’s addresses who bought her items on eBay. Ugh.)

Anyways, a conversation ensued, an angry rant on our Twitter feed, and lot of our followers chimed in. We submitted a panel proposal to the Sex Ed Conference this year about training people how to maintain a level head in heated arguments. In the following conversation, I (Lynne) utilized everything I would teach in that panel. With no further ado, here is the conversation/debate that ensued after this acquaintance posted that picture:
*Only the first names of the participants have been used. The Sasha person is the acquaintance who posted the picture.

  • Elizabeth What? That dude looks like he is about to kick some butt. Which Shaw’s?

    May 11 at 7:29pm 

  • Judith Nothing like low birth weight and adolescent respiratory issues, not to mention proven learning disabilities, it’s 9 months of your life makes me so sad 

    May 11 at 7:34pm

  • Sasha They were both swearing at me…I continued to state that I cared for only her children. A dude rolled up and offered me a loss prevention job at JCPenney Hahahaga

    May 11 at 7:39pm 

  • Judith Classy

    May 11 at 7:40pm

  • Elizabeth Oh no, I kind of thought that dude was looking your way. Be careful, Sasha! Why is this chick on her phone too? She is busy!

    May 11 at 7:43pm

  • Sasha She was calling the cops she said

    May 11 at 7:49pm 

  • Elizabeth Why was she calling the cops?

    May 11 at 7:50pm 

  • Sasha Because I was taking pictures of her smoking while pregnant.

    May 11 at 7:51pm 

  • Rob Series Of Unfortunate Events.

    May 11 at 8:04pm 

  • Travis You are hilarious.

    May 11 at 8:56pm 

  • Sasha Travis hilarious???

    May 11 at 8:58pm 

  • Travis Yeah. I think you are funny.

    May 11 at 9:01pm 

  • Lynne Yea….I’m not cool with criminalizing a woman while she’s pregnant. She knows the health risks associated. She’ll also be the one to pay the associated medical bills.

    May 11 at 9:02pm

  • Sasha I guarantee you Maine Care with cover it…and guess who pays for Maine Care…

    May 11 at 9:11pm 

  • Lynne I don’t care if MaineCare, Obamacare, or anything else pays for it. I don’t care if she’s shooting up heroine in the bathroom. No one has the right to police or demonize what this woman is doing to her body. It may come out stillborn, it may be a tragedy. It may be the only cigarette(s) she’s had during her pregnancy. You don’t know, it doesn’t matter, you will never see her again.

    May 11 at 9:15pm

  • Sasha I was standing up for the only person that matters. The child within. Somebody had to.

    May 11 at 9:16pm

  • Fritz They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture is Way beyond that!

    May 11 at 9:17pm 

  • Sasha Here is another one!

    ::At this point, she posts another picture of a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette and speaking to a man::

    May 11 at 9:19pm · Like

  • Lynne Schmidt “I was standing up for the only person that matters. The child within”

    That is an incredibly ignorant and dangerous thing to say.

    May 11 at 9:21pm 

  • Lynne May I use this picture/scenario on Abortion Chat?

    May 11 at 9:23pm

  • Heather So then when do we hold people responsible for what they do? Never? We should just let whatever happens, happens. Let the pregnant woman smoke. Let the man who wants to rob the old lady rob the old lady. Hell, I feel like driving drunk. Hope the cops don’t feel like they need to pull me over!

    May 11 at 9:24pm 

  • Jeremy How did this situation play out? Did they just start yelling at you out of the blue?>

    May 11 at 9:24pm

  • Sasha This has nothing to do with abortion. This woman has other children that she smoked while pregnant with and brags about how she will have more and continue to smoke.

    May 11 at 9:25pm · Like

  • Sasha Oh Heather I love you.

    May 11 at 9:25pm 

  • Lynne Heather, yes she should be allowed to smoke. At this point, you, nor anyone else but the woman and potential mate know if the fetus is even viable. Criminalizing and demonizing women is where unhealthy laws are put in place. If laws start being passed saying “If a pregnant woman tests positive for nicotine…” women will stop seeking prenatal care. Premature babies will be done, suffer horrendously, and die. Women, like this one who is smoking while pregnant, may need support while trying to quit. May need support in general, which may be why she is smoking.

    May 11 at 9:26pm

  • Jeremy I wonder if these people will have a change of heart as a result of your conversations with them.

    May 11 at 9:27pm

  • Lynne *be born, not done. Spelling error

    May 11 at 9:27pm 

  • Sasha Well Jeremy I opened my big mouth and asked her if she was aware of what smoking while pregnant will do to a child…and the fireworks exploded from there.

    May 11 at 9:28pm

  • Sasha Lynne heather was being sarcastic.

    May 11 at 9:28pm 

  • Lynne I highly doubt Heather was being sarcastic in regards to the situation.

    May 11 at 9:29pm 

  • Jeremy Sounds like she had an attitude, I can see why that’d make you angry.

    May 11 at 9:30pm

  • Lynne I’d have an attitude if strangers were taking pictures of me, too.

    May 11 at 9:30pm

  • Heather I mean, I’m a social worker by day so I agree with you that she probably needs some support, yes. But I don’t think Sasha is arguing that a law needs to be passed that prohibits pregnant women from smoking, but I also think it’s somewhat condescending to not hold people at all responsible for what they do. Sure, she may be suffering for a whole host of reasons, and yes, I think it’s on some level important to discern what these reasons are and educate her about her choices, but I also think it’s worthwhile to point out to people the potential consequences of their actions instead of just saying, “You know, it’s okay, you’re stressed have that cig.” No. It is actually more compassionate to hold people accountable.

    May 11 at 9:31pm 

  • Lynne Yes, however, there are surgeon general warnings on every pack of cigarettes. She is probably well aware of the risks, and for some reason, whatever that reason may be, is still choosing to smoke. It is her right to bodily autonomy. Some people decide to have healthy pregnancies. She, oblivious, is not. As a result, she will have to live with the consequences.

    May 11 at 9:33pm 

  • Sasha Jeremy I wasn’t angry. I felt bad. She acted nuts because her defense went up. I wanted to believe she actually felt bad about what she was doing but when she inhales a huge drag and exhales like a dragon well…she seemed proud.

    May 11 at 9:33pm

  • Heather And you do not think as fellow human beings we owe it to each other to point out consequences to others? Isn’t this an act of love? I see it as an act of love.

    May 11 at 9:34pm

  • Sasha Not just her Lynne, the poor defenseless baby that never asked to be stuck in such a gutter of a womb.

    May 11 at 9:35pm

  • Jeremy It’s too bad her child will have to live with the consequences too, should it be born.

    May 11 at 9:36pm 

  • Lynne Poor, defenseless baby. Do you know the gender? Do you know him/her personally? How are its rights more important than the mothers? Or are you one of those people who think women’s soul purpose in life is to be an incubator?

    May 11 at 9:36pm

  • Heather It seems like you have given up on her, Lynne, while Sasha has not.

    May 11 at 9:37pm

  • Lynne I have not, actually. I work with Abortion Chat and the reproductive justice community to avoid women like this being harassed by people like Sasha.

    May 11 at 9:38pm 

  • Jeremy Which is better: holding someone accountable by giving our adverse opinions, or biting our tongue when our opinion will not be heard?

    May 11 at 9:38pm 

  • Sasha Well Lynne, the baby inside of her has rights, not more rights than the mother like you said (seems like you enjoy putting words in my mouth)…if i saw a woman blowing cigarette smoke in her baby’s face i would speak up to her too. i will not turn my head way from child abuse I didn’t physically harm her, i didn’t call her names, i only chose to take her photo when she started acting absolutely disgusting and throwing her cigarette at my car.

    May 11 at 9:44pm 

  • Heather That is a very good question, but I would always say an “adverse opinion” can sometimes, years later, be remembered as someone’s attempt to care. Instead of remaining quiet and so complacent. And, Lynne, I don’t think we are talking about reproductive justice here. This isn’t an anti-abortion conversation. This is about the fact that this woman was smoking, and whether you like it or not, that has direct consequences to the child inside of her. You can still be a feminist and a liberal and also feel the need to express this and draw attention to it.

    May 11 at 9:47pm 

  • Lynne The fetus inside her has no rights. It can’t vote, it can’t feed itself, it can’t even breathe. Feel free to remove it from the hosts body and care for it the way you see fit.
    I didn’t put any words in your mouth, actually. I was asking a question. Until a fetus is born, it has no rights. It is not recognized by the government as a person. It holds no social security number.
    It is one thing for this woman to put whatever she wants into her body. It is another to have a child, outside of her body, ingest arsenic.
    I grew up in a household of cigarette smoke. It was awful, and I wish it on no one. However, I refuse to shame a pregnant woman based on her decisions for her health, and her body.

    May 11 at 9:48pm 

  • Lynne Actually, policing a woman’s body for any reason is a reproductive justice issue. FYI.

    May 11 at 9:50pm 

  • Heather By not holding her accountable for her actions you have given up on her. You are essentially arguing that Sasha should have just been like, “Oh well, she can do whatever she wants.” And that is condescending and actually not very just, speaking of justice.

    May 11 at 9:51pm 

  • Heather This is also a spiritual question, and I would guess you and I don’t see eye to eye on that either, so peace out.

    May 11 at 9:52pm 

  • Lynne Going up to a stranger, taking their picture without permission, and harassing them with their own opinions is generally considered wrong (or whichever order these events happened in). Just throwing it out there.

    May 11 at 9:53pm 

  • Jeremy What if an adverse opinion remains seen as one? Sasha, do you feel like there was any other way for you to voice your opinion and this woman hear it?

    May 11 at 9:53pm 

  • Heather Her boyfriend is kind of hot, though, Sash.

    May 11 at 9:54pm 

  • Heather yum yum

    May 11 at 9:55pm 

  • Sasha So the government is not the end all be all to this world. Our lives on this earth are more spiritual and important than the government could hope to be. this is about common sense and right and wrong. but if you want to play that laws and government bullshit well check this angle, why have people been charged for a double murder when they kill a pregnant mother. no rights lynn? hmmmmm?

    May 11 at 9:55pm 

  • Jeremy Laws usually follow some sort of ethical philosophy, perhaps a fetus should have some degree of rights, but where does the mother end and the fetus begin? How could we respect the rights of one without compromising the rights of the other?

    May 11 at 9:57pm

  • Lynne 1) You spelled my name wrong and 2) It depends on which state people are in, and how far along the pregnancy was. Also, how would you like it if when you decide to reproduce, you’re told you shouldn’t or you’ll be a crappy mother because of all of your tattoos?

    May 11 at 9:59pm 

  • Lynne Bodily autonomy is everything.

    May 11 at 10:00pm 

  • Heather What does that even mean

    May 11 at 10:01pm 

  • Sasha my tattoos aren’t going to medically hurt the child within….and id never get tattooed while pregnant.

    May 11 at 10:01pm 

  • Heather I do think the star tattoo on her leg, the big one, indicates that she will be a pretty bad mother.

    May 11 at 10:02pm 

  • Lynne No. I’m saying you don’t know her situation. You don’t know if she’s trying to quit smoking. If that’s the first day she’s smoked during the entire pregnancy. What the circumstances surrounding the situation are. No one has any right to harass this woman.

    May 11 at 10:04pm 

  • Jeremy I wonder if babies can get tattooes

    May 11 at 10:04pm

  • Heather If she has the right to smoke, Sasha has the right to harass her. If we should all just sit back and let whatever happens, happens, then Sasha can do whatever she wants, as can the woman in the photo.

    May 11 at 10:05pm 

  • Sasha i had a conversation with her actually. so i do know. she said she had smoked through all of her pregnancies. she would keep having kids and smoke while pregnant with them too.

    May 11 at 10:05pm

  • Lynne People pierce baby’s ears. No one is in an uproar about that. It’s considered “cute”

    May 11 at 10:05pm

  • Lynne It’s her body, it’s her potential child, it’s her right to smoke. She also could have been lying to piss you off.

    May 11 at 10:05pm

  • Sasha i think its disgusting to pierce a babies ears, to circumcise a baby, to dress them up like little sparkly dolls

    May 11 at 10:07pm 

  • Heather This is such dangerous logic, Lynne. Honestly. I find it very dangerous. You are saying a woman, just because she has a body and republicans are scary with their anti-abortion shit, can do whatever she wants. This is so dangerous to me! It is truly scary to not be invested in the child’s life AS WELL AS the mother’s. That seems so disconnected to me, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. Honestly. Are you for real?

    May 11 at 10:08pm

  • Sasha well she hacked 4 times as she pulled the pack of cigarettes out of her bra…i bet that was her first cigarette ever LYNN. Maybe she was just trying it out…maybe her other children all under the age of 5 peer pressured her into it.

    May 11 at 10:08pm 

  • Heather The hands-off mentality is like in direct response to the terror of the anti-abortion assholes. There is definitely a middle ground. You don’t have to go in the exact opposite direction; it is just as dangerous.

    May 11 at 10:10pm

  • Lynne Funny you mention “terror of the anti-abortion assholes.” They also take pictures of pregnant women, post them online, and shame them.

    May 11 at 10:10pm

  • Sasha exactly. i believe a woman has a right to choose, and every situation is different. I don’t even have shit to say to someone who has multiple abortions. Id rather someone terminate a pregnancy than smoke all the way through it.

    May 11 at 10:12pm

  • Heather Yes, but this is a different conversation. You have to attune yourself to the conversation. I know Sasha is for women’s rights, so it isn’t really correct to lump this conversation with those conversations. And it doesn’t have to be an either/or. It’s not like if you point out that this woman is hurting her child by smoking, you’re SUDDENLY one of those terrible anti-abortion assholes. You can say this, bring this up, and not instantly be on a SIDE. I know contemporary politics would have us think (the PC culture) that instantly you are either FOR or AGAINST but it isn’t that simple. And if you begin to ascribe to that mentality and you fight for your opinion as if you know and nobody else does, then you’re occupying the same role as the anti-abortion assholes.

    May 11 at 10:13pm 

  • Lynne I don’t agree with the way Sasha handled the situation. I am not for pregnant women smoking, or drinking, or doing drugs. Do I hope that when the baby comes out it’s healthy? Yes. But I also know that if I were pregnant, and wanted a drink, a smoke, a whatever else, I’d do it. It’s my body. And honestly? I’d have called the cops on someone harassing me in a parking lot.

    May 11 at 10:15pm 

  • Sasha Well any man that considers getting you pregnant will have to read this first. a lot of people don’t agree with the way i role and thats fine. i know what is right and what is wrong and if i see it I’m going to say something. I didn’t harass her, belittle her, or call her names. I asked her a question.

    May 11 at 10:18pm

  • Lynne And took her picture without permission. And posted on social media for the world to see.

    May 11 at 10:19pm

  • Lynne You’re welcome to your beliefs. It’s not cool to exploit people, and I, like you, will speak up against it.

    May 11 at 10:20pm

  • Lynne Also, any man who gets me pregnant needs to understand I’ll have an abortion. (So I guess I’d probably continue drinking during the pregnancy, anyway.)

    May 11 at 10:21pm

  • Heather Wouldn’t want to be your bay-bay.

    May 11 at 10:22pm

  • Patrick The baby was asking for her to smoke if you ask me, its naked for christ fucking sake.

    May 11 at 10:22pm 

  • Lynne Patrick, I just laughed so fucking hard.

    May 11 at 10:23pm 

  • Sasha the thing is Lynne you went off on a tangent that was completely off topic and dragged abortion into so your credibility in this forum is shot.

    May 11 at 10:23pm

  • Lynne Actually, I didn’t, I asked if I could post it on Abortion Chat, which is a reproductive justice venue to discuss all faucets of abortion (pregnancy is considered it that, sorry to inform you). And I didn’t go on a tangent. I stuck to the fact that what you did was way out of line, and in some states illegal.

    May 11 at 10:25pm

  • Sasha as long as thats what you believe

    May 11 at 10:26pm

  • Patrick I bet they’re juggalos. Either way these two (assuming he’s the baby daddy) shouldn’t have been allowed to reproduce.

    May 11 at 10:26pm 

  • Patrick https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWliAVpjArA

    Ice Cube – Crack Baby

Ice Cube – Crack Baby (By Mr.PsychoOo 9mm) http://icecubehiphoprapwestside4life…. See More

May 11 at 10:27pm

  • Sasha are you a grown nic baby born in Maine……

    May 11 at 10:29pm 

  • Heather It is also fascinating to me that what Lynne is expressing is a real consequence (speaking of consequences) of a capitalist mentality where the individual is the most important — and the locus of ultimate power and focus. It’s all about the individual, the individual’s body, the individual’s existence, the individual’s choices. There really is nothing outside of the individual. The baby is there, sure, but it falls to the wayside in the context of what the individual needs/wants/desires/feels. It’s actually very American. Very capitalist.

    May 11 at 10:29pm

  • Lynne She could still decide to have an abortion. Legally depending on where she’s at. She could still miscarry or have a stillborn, which is why, until it’s born, I don’t consider it much.

    May 11 at 10:31pm

  • Patrick No Heather, its #feminism

    May 11 at 10:31pm

  • Tasha Lynne you are absolutely wrong. Babies practice breathing while inside the womb. They eat. They pee…they just aren’t born yet. So YES at this late in her pregnancy…this baby HAS rights!!!!

    May 11 at 10:31pm

  • Lynne Tasha, next you’ll tell me that they feel pleasure and masturbate in the womb, too, no? They do not eat. They ingest what the pregnant person does. They cannot breathe their own air, they do not take care of themselves.

    May 11 at 10:33pm

  • Jeremy Isn’t it individualism to side with the fetus against the mother?

    May 11 at 10:33pm

  • Heather Yeah, but it is actually more feminist (in my opinion) to be attuned. To be attuned to the fact that there is a beating heart inside of your body. I love how that is somehow so uncool: to think about the beating heart. It’s like, how unfeminist of you to think about the beating heart! Like if you think about the beating heart, you are simultaneously NOT thinking about you. If I want a drink, I’ll have one, Lynne says. As if the idea of personal autonomy and choice is somehow inherently in contradiction with the beating heart.

    May 11 at 10:34pm 

  • Sasha a day old baby sure isn’t masturbating, eating on its own, or taking care of itself…and lets remember, i wasn’t against the mother, i asked her a simple question and it turned ugly.

    May 11 at 10:35pm

  • Sasha what if the fetus is female?

    May 11 at 10:35pm

  • Patrick Lynne actually babies do masturbate in the womb, its been proven through ultrasounds.

    May 11 at 10:36pm

  • Sasha http://www.facebook.com/l.php…

    GOP Congressman Wants to Ban Abortion to Save Masturbating Fetuses

    news.yahoo.com

In a preview of the many pronouncements to come on the floor of Congress as the … See More

May 11 at 10:37pm 

  • Jeremy So maybe we should start an anti-smoking pro-choice support group for this woman?

    May 11 at 10:37pm

  • Patrick We should just give her child free birth control and an obamaphone

    May 11 at 10:39pm

  • Sasha she doesn’t want to abort her child. she wants to smoke while carrying it. and she wants to have more children and smoke while carrying them.

    May 11 at 10:40pm

  • Lynne My brain just exploded. Damn you Patrick and Jeremy.

    May 11 at 10:41pm

  • Sasha I’m going to put Lynne in my womb and chain smoke all day!

    May 11 at 10:41pm

  • Patrick I bet she bought the cigs with her welfare money Lynne

    May 11 at 10:41pm 

  • Lynne She might have. I’ve known friends to trade food stamps for alcohol. Sasha, just do it while you’re snowboarding. That way it’s like a joyride.

    May 11 at 10:43pm

  • Tasha You obviously have NOT had a child or gone to the obgyn for prenatal appts. They practice and CAN breathe. They move their mouths, they suck their thumbs, they are alive inside of a person. A person who is supposed to do what’s in the best interest of that child. I won’t lie…I’m ashamed to say I smoked a few weeks out of my pregnancy. But, I quit bc my baby inside me WAS ALIVE! SHE HAD A HEART…A HEARTBEAT…SHE HAD ORGANS, AND BODY FEATURES SUCH AS EYES, EARS, NOSE, MOUTH!!! You just seem like a very ignorant person who should just shut the fuck up!

    May 11 at 10:45pm

  • Sasha ill never do it again. i used to smoke and i quit. i quit cold turkey one day because it was poisoning my body. you know those rooms in the airport where people sit and smoke. those little rooms should be everywhere. and people should have to sit together and inhale everyone else’s second hand smoke while they are smoking. its absolutely disgusting to have to walk down congress st and tell my niece to hold her breath every 10 feet because people are human fucking chimneys.

    May 11 at 10:47pm

  • Jeremy Did someone take a picture of you and post it on social media when you did it? <——— Did you look like this? 

    May 11 at 10:48pm 

  • Lynne You’re right, Tasha, I haven’t had a child because I had an abortion, because I knew myself well enough to know that I’m selfish, and angry, and would make an awful parent right now. I also drank, smoked, had x-rays and an MRI while pregnant. The fact that you’re ignorant enough to start being aggressive shows that you don’t know how to have conversations civilly. Congratulations. You win.

    May 11 at 10:50pm

  • Patrick Lynne you’d suffocate on that joyride, heard that shits tight

    May 11 at 10:55pm 

  • Tasha Oh that makes me want to tell you to SHUT THE FUCK UP even more!!! I always said I didn’t want children. I was selfish too…I wanted to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. With a child you CAN’T… and I accept that! So while you WERE ABLE to get pregnant some women are out there wanting so badly to have a child and can’t. To me you having that abortion makes you no better than this hot mess!!! No I would not be so aggressive had you not been so ignorant to this post. This is SASHA’S fb…she can post whatever the fuck she wants. If you DON’T like it then fuckin there’s a delete or hide stories from this person option. But you chose to be ignorant and you’re right and everybody else is wrong! Go fuckin kick rocks you selfish bitch! Some woman could have made a great life for that baby you murdered!!!!!

    May 11 at 11:02pm

  • Sara sasha exploiting as in benefiting from lynne? exploit comes from outcome of an action, having advantage, achievement. her achievement here is her voice she can not have that? ego of preg lady is at stake you suggest? true turnaround/healing for anyone causing suffering to themselves and thereby those around them is usually a good slap in the ego the way true self likes it. in this parking lot sasha is participating in her life and those around her. no different than you are here so kudos all. it is an endangered art in a mechanically law abiding sleepwalking world.

    May 11 at 11:03pm 

  • Lynne Dearest Tasha, For your information, I was going to kill myself. If you’d like to read more about that story, it’s here: http://abortionchat.org/why-chat/. It’s why I’m in Maine now, and why I’m a mental health professional. Because you know nothing about my circumstances, or who I was at that time, or the fact that the guy who got me pregnant had left me for my sister, and they are now engaged, or any other portions of that time, the fun thing is, I don’t care what you think. I didn’t murder my “baby”. I kept myself alive.

May 11 at 11:06pm

  • Patrick I feel like “kill myself” and “I’m a mental health professional” shouldn’t be in the same sentence. One of my closest friends was able to commit suicide in a facility due to inadequate mental health “professionals”

    May 11 at 11:09pm

  • Sara if mental health is not holistic it is insanity

    May 11 at 11:10pm 

  • Lynne Truly, I am sorry for your loss, Patrick.

    May 11 at 11:10pm

  • Heather I’m a social worker, and have suffered with different stuff, too. It can actually be really good to carry that understanding of suffering into your work; it can make you much more compassionate and understanding of others. But that is a whole different conversation!

    May 11 at 11:13pm 

  • Tasha Just so YOU know NOT that it’s ANY of your business. I was assaulted in the military in 2007. I suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and fibromyalgia! The whole time I was pregnant I was not able to take any medications for those conditions!! So please feel free to throw yourself a pity party. My opinion of you has not changed! What you went through doesn’t compare to what I endured and still endure! But let me tell you despite all those things…I’m a damn good mom!!! #SorryNotSorry

    May 11 at 11:21pm

  • Sasha ignorant…you keep using this word…i do not think it means what you think it means…

    May 11 at 11:24pm

  • Tasha Did I use it incorrectly?

    May 11 at 11:26pm 

  • Patrick I think she’s talking to Lynne

    May 11 at 11:28pm 

  • Tasha Ohhhh I figured it was me bc I used it a lot!

    May 11 at 11:30pm · Like

  • Tasha  And Patrick I’m sorry for your loss  I was not liking that part of your comment

    May 11 at 11:32pm 

  • Tasha No Jeremy I quit long before I looked like that! And nobody took my picture. I hid it bc I was ashamed, but it was the vice I had at that moment to help with not being able to medically treat my “disabilities.” I’m not proud, but I won’t do it again if I have another child. I lucked out with my child…she was born healthy and is healthy and thriving!

    I believe after I left the conversation that they continued for awhile about things of non-importance. What are your thoughts on this dialog? Was my acquaintance right in taking a picture and posting it on social media without permission? Who had strong points of view? Why?

Irrational Fears Before Obtaining An Abortion

Walking into an abortion clinic is hard for most women. For many, it’s because of the unknown, the risks we’ve all read about, and the backlash from the anti-choice community. But outside of those factors, many women walk in with irrational fears that add to their stress level. So if you are considering having an abortion, here is a small list of things you SHOULD NOT be worrying about before your procedure:

*Pubic Hair
With the rise of the pornography industry, there has been a lot of stress on pubic hair and whether or not women should have it. This, by far, should be the LEAST of your worries. Going under the “It’s your body, it’s your choice” mentality, that does not just apply to an abortion, it applies to your hair, too. The people servicing you will be doctors. They will be men and/or women who have seen over a hundred vaginas in their day. Yours is your own. Feel comfortable (or as comfortable as you can) with it.

*Male Doctors
This is harder said than done. There are many wonderful woman doctors, and when I sought my abortion, I was hoping to have a female doctor. My heart nearly fell out of my mouth when a male walked in and asked how I was. But the reality is this: a doctor is a doctor. They are trained professionals.There are awesome female doctors, and there are awesome male doctors.

*Your Friends and Family
If you’re obtaining an abortion, chances are you’ve told at least one other person, and I hope they were supportive. Right now, support is the one thing you need. If you’re worried Aunt Sally or Uncle Joe will judge your decision, stop worrying. It’s your decision to make. You don’t ever have to tell them if you don’t want to. Right now, you need to focus on yourself and your body. Surround yourself with supportive people. Call the Pro-Voice hotline. Call anywhere that will make you feel better.

*Work
Work is work. While it’s nice to have a job, as previously stated, you need to focus on yourself and your body. If you need to take a personal day before/after the abortion, do so. Right now, getting through the day may be a priority. It’s okay to work, it’s okay to work the day after your abortion, and it’s okay to not work the day after your abortion. What do you want to do?

*Protesters
This one isn’t quite an irrational fear because protesters do exist, and they can be mean. The nice thing is that many times there are escorts for the clinics where protesters are just a little too close for comfort. Otherwise, it’s always recommended that you bring a friend, your significant other, whomever else with you. I had protesters yell at me as I walked in, but I also had a friend with me who put her arm around my shoulders and said not to listen. That made all the difference. I know it’s difficult, but try not to let them stress you out more than you already are.

*Crying
CRYING IS TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE.
I didn’t know this when I underwent my abortion. I didn’t realize this during my first appointment, and I didn’t realize it until I stumbled out and knocked over a box of tissues. It is okay to cry. It is also okay to not cry. It is okay for you to react however you want or need to react, but please, allow yourself to react. Allowing yourself to process things is the first step in taking care of yourself.

While this is only a small list, we welcome  your comments, questions, and even anything else you would like to add to the list.

Remember, priority one is to take care of yourself, be you ProChoice, AntiChoice, Religious, Cis, Trans, Boy, Girl or Atheist (or any variation in-between).

Abortion in High School, An Interview

I had an interview with high school student, “A”, today. Her friend obtained an abortion last summer. Here is “A”‘s side of the story:

Something to always keep in mind
Q: How old are you?
A: 17.
Q: How old was your friend when she sought an abortion?
A: At the time she was 16.
Q: Did she tell you she was pregnant, or that she had an abortion?
A: She didn’t tell me she was pregnant, she just told me through the summer that she was having a really rough time and she couldn’t wait to see me. When I finally saw her, she told me all about it.
Q: How did she tell you?
A: We were having a heart to heart, we were talking about summer. She got a little quiet, not really shy, but she said she had something to tell me. Then she told me not to judge her. Then she told me. It was shocking to me.
Q: What was your reaction?
A: I was shocked. I was kind of heartbroken for her because she told me she’d had a terrible summer, and I thought it couldn’t have been that bad. I was just like, really surprised that something like that could happen to one of my best friends in the whole wide world.
Q: How did she handle her abortion?
A: It happened in the summer, so she had a lot of time to think about it. She went to her mom’s and told her mom. She had a therapist for a little bit. She tried her best to contain her emotions, it was one of those decisions she didn’t make for herself. She was sad. Really, really, sad. I feel like she handled it like any other person would. She was generally upset about it. She was drugged by her significant other at the time, but she insisted it wasn’t rape, and then she got pregnant. She knew she had sex, but she didn’t remember it. She thought they used a condom, but they didn’t.
Q: Did she tell her parents?
A: She told her mom first, and then her dad. Her mom insisted abortion was the only option.
Q: Did she tell her significant other?
A: Yes, and he like too many males out there just kind of fled from it. They couldn’t press charges because she didn’t say it was rape. The age of consent is 16, I think he was either 19 or 20.
Q: Why did she decide to have an abortion?
A: Because she knew she was way too young to be a mother, she wasn’t ready, it was either this baby for the rest of her life, or she goes and tries to live a teenage life. She really just wanted to be a normal teenager. She knew if she had the baby it wouldn’t happen. She was scared, she knew the significant other wasn’t going to stick around. It was one of those “I’m going to hurt this child if I have it. If I have it, it won’t have a good life.”
Q: Do you feel like she was pressured into her decision?
A: No. Not at all. She was not going to have this kid. She wants to have kids when she’s old enough and ready, but at that time she just wasn’t.
Q: Do you support her decision?
A: I definitely support her decision because I know it’s the best for her right now, even if she gets sad about it. I know she thinks about it every day, but I think it’s best for her. If she’d gone through with having a child, she wouldn’t have been happy.
Q: Did any member of the school district know about her abortion? Do you think they should have?
A: Yes, a few of her teachers knew about it. I think her mom sent an email. Definitely her counselors knew about it. I think some people should have known in case she broke down in class so there was someone to go to. It’s not one of those easy quick fixes. It’s been over a year since her abortion, and we’ve had countless conversations about it. She just needs to be supported.
Q: What were the hardships surrounding your friend and her abortion?
A: Oh, man. Seeing little kids, and interacting with small children. She told me a story, one of her teachers
Photo Credit:
Allie Rosnato

has a kid with curly blond hair and blue eyes, and she thought her child could have looked like that and asked, “What kind of monster am I?” Her relationship with her mother was definitely tested. She really liked this guy, but she pushed him away because he was the cause of all this.

Q: What do you feel were the important aspects of supporting your friend?
A: Texting, that was an important thing. Communication, talking to her, asking her how she felt today. I think the most important thing was having her be able to talk about it. A lot of the time people try to sweep it under the rug, I think it’s something that needs to be talked about because it did happen. She told me she doesn’t talk about it with her mom, and I think I was that person she went to to talk about it and her feelings.
Q: Is she okay now?
A: Yes, I mean, there’s going to be that one little part that will always, always see a kid and feel that guilt, and that pain, and that sorrow, but I know for a fact she’s going to be okay. I know when she has kids someday and she’ll know she made the right decision because she’ll give that child the life it deserves.
Q: What is your sexual education curriculum like at your school?
A: Um…well…we have a freshmen year health course, but it’s not really that technical.
Q: Do you feel like this is sufficient?
A: Not at all. I mean, I honestly think we should have this course our junior or senior year. I feel like only 2% is sexually active freshmen year and as you get older it’s more relevant in your life. Freshmen year it’s kind of a joke, and you don’t really care about what’s going on. Freshmen are immature and you can’t take it seriously. When you’re older, it’ll matter to you.
Q: Do you know how to operate a condom?
A: Yes.
Q: Are you a virgin? If no, when did you lose your virginity?
A: No, and April 2013.
Q: What would you do if you were to get pregnant now?
A: Um, well, I’d probably do the same thing as my friend just because I have the same opinions as she does.
Q: Have you told your partner this?
A: Yes, and they agree.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: I think that people need to be smarter. If you don’t want kids, do everything in your power to not. Use a condom. Get birth control. Use Plan B if you need to. It’s fun to have fun, but I can’t stress it enough: BE SAFE.
Also, Relationships take two people, and when it ends up one sided, things go wrong. It’s important to know what you’re getting yourself in to.

Choosing Life by Rachel Troumbly

The first 16 years of my life were something out of a Lifetime Channel movie; alcoholic, misogynist, abusive stepfather, enabling and psychologically damaged mother, and a spoiled, bratty, but obedient younger sister. 

We were upper middle class, well educated, Catholic, and lived in a predominately white rural area right outside of a large city. We were the picket fence kind of people, hiding our secrets behind a nicely manicured lawn, shiny cars, and family portraits with exaggerated smiles. 

I reference all of this in effort to illustrate the fact that I was by no means what the far right would consider the “typical” abortion seeker. I wasn’t poor, uneducated, or a delinquent. I may have had a broken home, but I was smart and motivated. Though my family was quietly prochoice, it wasn’t an issue that I ever considered for myself. 

I moved out at seventeen with two-hundred dollars in cash, a full tank of gas, and only one goal: to be better than the home I came from. Granted, my road to self discovery wasn’t without pit falls. I found the bottom of a bottle, various lovers, and some debt along the way, but I was determined to get where I was going. 

I hear a lot of people talk about the “convenience” of abortion. I want to note here that I’ve had two children, one before and one after my abortion, and neither child came at a convenient time in my life, but neither were aborted. This is because my convenience wasn’t a factor in my decision to abort. What factored into my decision was directly tied to the complications and ensuing health problems that were brought to light in my first pregnancy. 

I was 19 when I found out I was going to be a mother. It came at a time when I was still trying to find my way. I had a new car, a steady job, and a home with my boyfriend. I didn’t want a child, and I considered adoption, but never abortion. 

Not because I was against it, but because I had no reason, in my mind, to do it. The nightmare of my pregnancy prompted me to decide against adoption, as I was too scared to go through pregnancy again and I didn’t want to miss out on having children. 

I suffered a rare complication while pregnant called hypermesis gravidarum that caused me to vomit violently at all hours of the day, for the entire pregnancy. I couldn’t hold down water, let alone food, and I often passed out from dehydration. Since most women experience vomiting in their pregnancy, my doctor thought I was exaggerating the circumstances, so I wasn’t diagnosed until the 7th month. All in all, I lost 12 lbs, and only ended up 7 lbs heavier at the end of my pregnancy than I was before it. 

I wish I could say that my sickness was the worst of my pregnancy problems, but it was only the tip of the iceberg. Like most women, I was prepared for the long process of labor and vaginal birth; the idea of a Caesarian never crossed my mind. I didn’t want the epidural either, but after a couple of hours of back labor, I was screaming for the euphoric release of a spinal tap. I had little time to relax before the real nightmare began. After six hours of labor, my doctor informed me that the baby’s heart rate was dropping and that I hadn’t dilated past 2 centimeters. After two shots of pitocin and no improvement, I was prepped for an emergency c-section. 

I was terrified. 

All I could think of was the life of my child. When they finally pulled my little boy out, I held my breath waiting for a sign that he was ok. One, two, three, four… Silence. I heard someone say that his cord was around his neck and I saw his blue face. Tears fell down my cheeks as I lay there, strapped to a table and unable to help him. Then, finally, I heard him scream. It was the greatest sound I’d ever heard. My baby was ok, and after a few days, we headed home to live happily ever after….

     …. For three days. 

Six days after my son was born, my left leg had swollen 3 times its normal size. It had turned red and purple and I sobbed with every step I took. My mother rushed me to the hospital emergency room. After one look, doctors swarmed around me, sticking me with needles, checking my blood pressure, and poking at my feet. I was informed that I had a clot in my femoral artery and my lower calf and they had progressed to a point of imminent danger. 

The doctors said with the size of my leg and the amount of elapsed time, I was a ticking time bomb and could release the clot with the slightest movement. No one knew exactly why I had developed a clot, and from what I learned, a femoral clot was rare. After having it, my chances of future clots increases, since the old clot leaves the major artery corroded and scared. 

I spent seven days in the hospital, with blood draws every six hours, heparin every twelve, and a strict order of bed rest with absolutely no exceptions. Those seven days were torture. Since I’d already left the maternity ward, I wasn’t allowed to keep my son with me. My mother and husband worked, so I saw my baby for a couple hours a day. Outside of that, I was all alone. 

Turns out, I had an undiagnosed blood disorder that causes my blood to clot easily. I was advised to abstain from having more children, as my disorder (known as Factor V Leiden) coupled with the femoral clot, made pregnancy an extremely dangerous endeavor. Unfortunately, the Catholic run hospital wouldn’t preform a tubal until I’d had a second child,  and I couldn’t take any birth control that released hormones without risking further clots. I chose to use condoms as a means of preventing pregnancy from there on out.

My second pregnancy
After my scare, I went on to go to college and I worked full time to raise my son. My husband at the time wasn’t very reliable and rarely held a job, so I took on all of the responsibility. We split up when my son was two. When my son was three, I dated a guy who was very controlling. I wanted out of the relationship and started making plans to leave, but I was keeping the relationship going until I could get my ducks in a row. 

Apparently he knew I wanted to leave, because soon after I found out I was pregnant by him, he revealed to me that he had poked holes in the condoms as a means to get me pregnant so that I would stay. 

I was terrified. Given the situation I was in, my medical condition, and the brush with death from my first pregnancy, I wasn’t prepared to risk another one. I moved in with my family, three hours away, only two days after discovering that I was pregnant. We discussed my options. I knew that the father wouldn’t help with the child, just as my ex husband didn’t help with my son. I had only one year of college under my belt, and couldn’t afford another child. 

At only six weeks pregnant, I was already vomiting day and night, and feared being able to care for myself and my three year old. My aunt told me that she would adopt my child if I wanted, but I was only concerned with the prospect of dying. I didn’t want to leave behind the child that I paid for in blood, sweat and tears. I lived for him. What good was I to him if I died? 

After days of consideration, I chose to have an abortion. My great grandmother, who was Catholic and extremely pro life, stood behind me the whole way. 

The day after my 24th birthday, she and my grandmother drove me to the clinic, three hours away. As we pulled in, I looked out the window to see the pro life protesters lined up on the walk way. 

They yelled at me, begging me to choose a different option, throwing fliers at me. 

I felt the tears running down my face. They don’t know me, I thought. They don’t know where I’ve been or what I’ve been through. If they knew, would they still ask me to risk my life for this baby? I couldn’t force my legs to move. I knew I was doing the right thing, but I couldn’t endure the spotlight that they were shining on what was the hardest and most private moment of my life. 

I looked up, with tears staining my eyes, to see my 85 year old great grams. She pulled me to my feet, wrapped her arm around my shoulders, and told me to ignore them. She sat right next to me in that clinic, holding my hand while I filled out my papers. 

I was escorted back for a checkup before receiving an ultrasound. The technician asked if I wanted a copy of the ultrasound, and I said yes. In the back of my mind, I felt like it was my penance to pay, my scarlet letter, a reminder of my sin. After the ultrasound, I was escorted to a psychiatrists office. She asked me why I chose to have an abortion, whether I was forced and the process of the procedure, including diagrams of d&c and the possible side effects. 

The woman gave me phone numbers, literature, and a variety of alternative choices like adoption and raising my child, before sending me back out to the waiting room for a required four hours, encouraging me to consider all given routes before they would continue the procedure. 

When the time came, the nurse came to get me. She explained again the procedure, and the medication options and side effects. I received my dosage and was escorted to the procedure room. It looked like any other room in a hospital. The walls were white, the floor was cold, and there was the unmistakable smell of rubbing alcohol and cleaner. 

I laid down, closed my eyes, and waited. It was over in minutes; quick and painless, a fact that, for a long time, plagued my conscience. I knew the implications of my choice, and the social stigma that it carried with it. I was, and still am, at peace with my choice, but that doesn’t mean that I am without reverence for it. After time in the recovery room, I walked out to my car, with my great grams wrapping her arm around me, drowning out the angry voices of the protesters with her fearlessness. 

She died a month later, not long after telling me how proud she was of my strength and my courage. 

I’m 27 now. 

Last month marked three years since my abortion. Since then, I’ve gotten married to a wonderful man, and we’ve had a child of our own. You might wonder why I could argue my health as a means for abortion, yet risk it in another instance. 

It’s because this time I didn’t have to worry about leaving my child alone in the world. This time, he had a steady, reliable father to love him and raise him. When I chose my abortion, I didn’t disregard life, I simply weighed the life of the 8 week old fetus against not only my own life, but the life of the child that I was already charged with protecting. I weighed how his life would be affected by my death or impacted health, against the life that hadn’t even begun, and couldn’t miss what it didn’t know. 

I know that I made the right choice. I know that it is because of that choice that I can hold my children at night and love them and kiss them. I know that it’s because of my choice that I can give my children two loving parents and a home where they are protected. I know that it’s because of my choice that I can finally reach my goal. My home is better than the one I came from. I love my family and I will continue to put them first until my dying day. 

When it comes down to it, convenience never played a part in my abortion. It would have been most convenient to have one at 19, when I had the world at my fingertips. It would have been convenient to have one at 25, when I was newly married and my child was going to school, leaving me the chance to pursue a degree. 

No, convenience wasn’t a factor, life was. My child’s life, the child with memories and warm hugs and sparkling blue eyes, the one I bled for… His life mattered. This is why I can confidently proclaim that I am pro LIFE; because I chose to protect the lives that I was already responsible for. 
     I am only one of thousands of stories, each unique to the individual. Our voices have been silenced by those who refuse to listen, but I refuse to remain quiet. I refuse to return to the shackles of slavery, where my body is synonymous with an incubator. I’ve heard that its easy for me to fight for abortion, because I got to be born. I think this is inaccurate. I think it’s easy for people to argue for life, because they are, in fact, living. 

Life isn’t biology. 

It’s not a heartbeat, or the air in your lungs. When a person is only kept alive by machines, they aren’t living, because there is no life to live. There are no memories for that person, no laughter, no warmth. They survive only at the mercy of the tubes that tie them to the living world. They know nothing beyond the dark abyss behind their closed eyes. 

It is only the person who’s mind is aware of what would be missed, that can argue for it. 

If they had never lived, they’d never know it. 



Rachel Troumbly is a 27 year old psychology major living in the frozen tundra of Northern Michigan. When she’s not nose deep in her studies or chasing after her two boys, she can typically be found rummaging through thrift stores (pack-ratting), mastering her culinary skills (hello hot pockets) and attempting to blur the lines of societal expectations by the glowing light of her keyboard. If all goes well, Rachel hopes to one day open up a shelter for abused women that will help them to start a new life. 

Abortion with Sedation by Lynne Schmidt

This is a chapter from my memoir about my personal abortion experience.

We arrive at Virginia Beach way early. The protesters are already out. It’s not even yet. To kill time, we stop at Shoney’s so she can have coffee and I can have water.

When we deem it is time to go, we drive to the clinic and park. I take a deep breath, take my bag and exit the car. As we walk, I hear someone yelling, I know it is one of the protesters but I assumed they are either talking to each other over the traffic, or yelling to the traffic.
Instead, when my friend puts her arm around me, I realize, They’re yelling to me. At me?
“We know you’re scared but you don’t have to do this!” a woman’s voice calls out. I hear this for a long while after this moment. She has no idea what fear is, she has no idea that I have to do this.
“Just ignore them, Sweety,” my friend assures. Under the safety of her arm, I push the button on the outside of the building. This time, when they ask for my name and appointment, I’m prepared.
They unlock the door. “Go to the room to the right,” the woman had told me. We step in, protesters still calling from behind. There are three rooms. I can’t remember which way is right, and I’m terrified of missing my appointment and being forced to stay pregnant.
“This way,” my friend says taking the lead of the lost little girl in front of her.
When we get to the door, I can’t figure out the lock on the handle. She has to open the door for me. Slowly, uneasily, I make my way to the check-in window. Keep going. You’re okay. You can do this.

“Check-in, please,” the woman behind the glass tells me.
I write my name:
Stephanie Schmidt
Arrival Time:
Appointment Time:
I look at my name in blank ink on the lines of the paper. My name. For an appointment to have an abortion. Me. My name. Proof that I am here, right now.
“Do you have your envelope?” the woman asks, breaking me out of my horrified trance.
I hand the woman my information and ID.
“Your total is $255,” she tells me. I get out the money I got at the ATM wondering how much of this bullshit he’ll actually help with.
She hands me back five dollars. “Take a seat, they’ll call you shortly.”
As I’m sitting, I see another girl walk in with black sweatpants. She has, who I assume is, her boyfriend with her. It’s suddenly hard to breathe. I can’t look at her because she’s so much like me right now.
My friend puts her arm around my shoulders and says reassuring things. I again consider suicide as a viable alternative. I think about just asking to leave, and finding the razor blade in the bathroom and slitting my arteries. The one in my neck would cause me to bleed out in seconds.

Before I’m able to think further, the door opens. The woman with the chart looks right at me. “Stephanie?”
This isn’t a knee doctor appointment. For the first time in my life, I’m ashamed to hear my name.
I rise, unable to shake the chill that’s swallowed me. It hasn’t even been ten minutes of me sitting. The song Brick by Ben Folds Five runs through my head, “They call her name at ,” only in my life it’s . But he was right, I am alone.
I follow her and she tells me to, “Empty your bladder.”
I don’t tell her how much water I just drank at Shoney’s.
The bathroom is stark white and much too big to make me feel comfortable. I lock the door, then pee and wash my hands.
For the last time I look in the mirror. I turn to the side and see the slight bulge that no one else but me, the girl who’s spent hours staring at herself in the mirror thinking she’s too fat, would notice. It shouldn’t be there. It’s what I’m here to get rid of. My eyes feel raw as they tear up again.
I’m sorry, God. I’m sorry body, stomach for what I’m about to do. I’m sorry, Baby. I pull my shirt down, I step out of the bathroom.
When I come out, she motions to a chair and takes my pulse and blood pressure. Like a robot she hands me a cup with a horse-sized pill in it, “800 milligrams of ibuprofen to help with the cramping after the abortion,” she tells me in a matter-of-fact tone of voice.
How old are you? I wonder as I swallow the pill with some water. How did you decide to work at Planned Parenthood? What is the hardest part of your job?

She sticks my finger to test if I’m anemic (I’m not) or RH Negative (I’m positive). I could have told her all of these things.
What do you think of me?
She leaves the room to run the blood samples and while she tests, I sit and roll my finger over my lip and try not to cry. If I cry, will they still give me the abortion?Or worse, if I cry, will they refuse to sedate me?
She comes back. “Are you okay?”
I’m not. My hands are freezing, it’s too cold. I’m pregnant, I’m terrified. He isn’t here, my mom doesn’t know I’m here. One of my sisters doesn’t even know I’m here. I have to work tomorrow. Am I even going to be okay enough to work tomorrow? Deep breaths, Steph. Keep going.

“I’m fine,” I say. She leads me to another waiting area. There is a book on the table that says “Tell Us You Story” and the writer in me wants to add the missing R. Tell Us YouR Story.
I flip through the pages and read a couple entries. They’re written in beautiful bubble script, stories of girls who have been through the same thing as me. Girls who some day admit in these pages that they want to have children and that Planned Parenthood was the best thing for them. These are the stories I tried to find online.
I put the book down. How will I feel? Will I regret my decision? Will I someday thank Planned Parenthood?
I don’t know and the uncertainty is ripping me apart. I try not to cry. I try not to imagine what’s going to happen. Why am I not sedated yet?
Down the hall, the girl with black pants who came in after me is told to empty her bladder, to take the pill that’s supposed to help with cramping. Then she is lead to the chair beside me. I’m reminded how business like this process is. They probably see a hundred girls a day. I don’t matter to them. My baby doesn’t matter to them.
Then again, my baby doesn’t matter to me either, right?
Beside me, the girl picks up the story book, flips through, puts it down. We sit. Men In Black is playing over the radio. I make a comment. She laughs.
“I wish it were Madonna playing,” I tell her. But then she has Papa Don’t Preachand I’m not keeping my baby. She has Like a Virgin and I never want to be touched again. He was playing Madonna when I got in the car. He’s not here now. I take a deep shaky breath.
As if on cue, Borderlinecomes on and we laugh.
She admits that this isn’t her first abortion, that she’d be afraid of sedation, that she already has three kids. Wow, I think. You should take better birth control.

In a split second, I realize, I am in no position to judge.
Soon, I’m lead back to another room and the girl and I wish each other luck.
“Undress from the waist down. Put your clothes and bag there,” the nurse tells me. “You can cover yourself with a drape.” She exits quickly.
Why aren’t you here to hold my hand again?

I look at the exam table, it’s the same sort of drape that covered me during my first clinic visit. I expected a hospital gown this time, or something that signifies how traumatic this ordeal is. My manager had called it life threatening surgery, yet…I’m in a drape that refuses to cover up my ass crack.
As I look around the room, it looks like someone’s living room made into a surgery lab. I wonder if this is a legitimate abortion clinic or if it’s one of those horror stories you hear about on TV. Are those protesters outside are actually collected pregnant, desperate girls, and torturing them so they learn their lesson?
Panic, real cold, breath stealing panic sets in. I haven’t stopped shaking since Shoney’s and my hands still haven’t warmed up. I take a deep breath and allow myself to fall out of the safety of my pants. I scurry to the exam table wondering again, Why aren’t you holding my hand? I can’t breathe, think. I keep telling myself to just keep going.
I’m about to have an abortion.
Keep going.

The floor around the table has blood spots from girls before me. I wonder if this is actually a sanitary area, or if I’m going to end up like that girl in Dirty Dancing. This is all just one big horror scene, isn’t it? I try not to look at the stains, but there’s nowhere else to look.
A nurse comes in. “You doing okay?”
“Define okay,” I answer. Will they still sedate me if I panic? Why am I not sedated yet?
“Nervous?” she asks.
I vacantly nod.
“Do you have any questions?”
“Actually, yes. I read on the forms that the tissue can be donated. I was wondering if I can do that, so it’s not a complete waste.”
“They didn’t tell you?” she asks suddenly standing still, making sympathetic eye contact with me.
I shake my head, confused.
Her face looks sad for a second. “That surgeon is only here on certain days, not Fridays. You won’t be able to donate it. You came on the wrong day.”
“Oh,” I say while my heart sinks. Don’t cry, you’re okay. Keep going. I don’t tell her how many times I’d asked the pissy nurse about the donation, or how they were the ones to set up my appointment for this day even after I’d asked, several times, about donating. I got pregnant, and now everything is going to be wasted, and killed because I was irresponsible. This is my fault. I hate myself. I hate myself so fucking much. I deserve this.
Silence falls in the room. Can I reschedule for next week? Maybe then he’ll be able to come.

If I leave now, I’m not coming back. Things won’t change. Even with a different date, he won’t come.

If I leave pregnant, I’ll kill myself.
Keep going.

“Thank you, though,” the woman offers.
The next nurse comes in and brings my pants to me, which contain my iPod. Then the doctor comes, a male, not a female, and I die inside a bit. He greets me, asks how I am. The first nurse says nervous while the second places my bare legs so that the world can see inside me. I stare at the ceiling to avoid focusing on the fact that the drape isn’t even covering me anymore. I again consider suicide. I could just pull the cap off the IV, bleed out…
The doctor’s fingers are inside me. He didn’t even warn me. Oh God, oh, God. Fuck, fuck, fuck. My stomach rolls into my throat, into my mouth. Stop touching me, stop touching me! I try to act like I’m not freaking out, like time isn’t spinning so fast I think my head will fall off. I feel nauseous, not just because of the pregnancy anymore.
Keep going.

“Nervous,” he reiterates as he removes himself. “We can help with that.”
The second nurse pushes play on my iPod, rests it near my head. The doctor injects stuff into my IV. It takes less than five seconds before I feel it. The ceiling takes on a heart beat, waves and cascades in and out.
And then I’m in darkness.
In the dark, like I’m rising to the surface from a black out, it hurts for a second, like my insides are being torn out of me. Oh God, they’re ripping the pregnancy away from me. I can feel this.

Whatever. You deserve it.

Rip, rip, rip.

When I’m present again, I’m trying to help the nurse get me into my pants, and then I’m in darkness again. Sometime between the darkness and seeing light again, it’s like I’ve become two different people. Stephanie, the girl who walked into the clinic, and Stephanie, the girl whose pants are on, with a thick pad somehow in my underwear. There is the residual voice (the Stephanie in pants) that continues to say, Keep going, and the old voice that still says, You can still kill yourself. One voice struggles to keep me alive, to keep me going. I recognize the voice from my Alanon meetings, the one that says slogans like One day at a time, and Let go and let God. The other is the voice my parents instilled in me.

There are girls sitting on lazy-boy chairs like an abortion mill. I join them, scared I’m the only one losing consciousness because I’m the only one that’s a coward and chose to be sedated. Thankfully, I’m still too tired to care.
I’m woken up and offered something to drink. I choose Ginger Ale like I do every time I’m on an airplane. They hand me my cup and a bag full of papers and pills. Antibiotics, so I don’t die from this shit, my poor life decisions.
Though I’m safe inside the haze of residual sedation, and the confines of the walls, I know just outside the doors there are protesters. I also know that in 2009, George Tiller, an abortion doctor, was shot and killed as he walked into church. I also know that there have been bombings and fires in other Planned Parenthood clinics. While I sit in my Lazy-Boy chair, I wonder, is someone going to blow this building up?
“You deal with the protesters every day?” a girl asks.
A nurse nods her head while handing a drink to another girl in a large comfortable chair.
“Aren’t you afraid of working here?” someone, possibly me, asks.
“Sometimes. Sometimes they can be really mean,” one nurse states. Another also says she’s sometimes afraid to come to work. The girls and I continue to talk: mainly about the protesters.
I’m amazed and humbled by the fact that they’re still here, taking care of girls and women like me, potentially afraid for her life.
One by one the nurses have us all pee and change our bloody pad. When we emerge, we’re asked to gauge how bloody it was and say it out loud like show and tell.
All of us seem like we’re fine, like we’re not bleeding out too badly, though there’s still time for that to change.
Shortly after, they match us up with our rides and I’m again reminded that it’s my friend and not him driving me home. Keep going, you’re okay. They have us leave out of the room with the comfortable chairs, the back exit. At least you have someone, anyone here.
As I rise to leave, still slightly high off the sedation, I miscalculate the way I’m walking and manage to knock over a box of Kleenex. I realize that those are there, because it’s okay to cry after the surgery, to grieve the loss of life.
I start to bend to pick the box up, and a nurse runs to me, “Don’t worry, we got it.”
I thank her, apologize, and continue my walk of shame.
I’m still wobbly and as my friend pulls her vehicle forward, we see that the protesters have gathered in numbers. Hatred runs through my bones for them. Sometimes it’s the best option! Sometimes we get left alone! I want to make them understand that those girls inside that room are not monsters, that I’m not a monster.
I imagine what I’d say to them, We’re young, and you’re right, we are terrified. We may end up regretting our decision, but it was our decision to make. For whatever the reasons, we made this decision. We have to deal with the consequences, you don’t. Stop judging us because for some of us, this was the only option!
“Are you hungry?” my friend asks breaking up my thoughts.
I’ve only had candy to eat this morning. “I think so,” I tell her. I’ve still only been able to eat roman noodles at home, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to eat anything right now.
We make our way back to Shoney’s and I move slowly, now because I’m terrified to move too quickly. My stomach is cramping like I’m being serrated with butcher knives from the inside out, and it hurts.
The mean unsupportive voice tells me, You deserve this.
We eat and talk. She makes me laugh and each time my abs contract, the knives twist and slice. Though I wanted to take her out for lunch, since she won’t even let me pay for the gas to get here, she refuses, and pays for our meals. I thank her and she gives me her keys to I don’t have to stand long.
She drives, we get lost. I sleep. We make it back to the parking lot we met up in this morning. “Do you need anything else?”
Though I need more liquids, food, a thermometer to make sure I don’t run a fever, I don’t tell her this, she’s done enough. I expect him to call, to ask if I need anything, and then I’ll get these things that I need. “No, I’ll be fine.”
“Do you want to rest on my couch?” she offers.
“No, I need to get home to Baxter,” I tell her.

            She nods, an animal lover herself, and hugs me before I exit. I hug her goodbye and tell her I’ll be fine. 

Lynne Schmidt is the Real People columnist for the Advertiser Democrat, and a memoir and young adult author. Her work has appeared in Zephyr and Authors of Tomorrow.
She lives in Maine with her dogs Baxter and Kyla.
You can find her on her personal blog or twitter.

My Crisis at the CPC by Cynthia Di Angelo

New location of the CPC. They’ve moved in directly next door to the actual clinic. They have been confusing women into missing their appointments at the clinic next door by having misleading signs. I was told by some of the clinic escorts they will offer women thinking they are at the clinic food when they walk in, so when they realize they are in the wrong place they can’t go next door and have their procedure

A few years ago, I made the decision to return to school and found myself living on my own in Kentucky. Most of my life had to be financed with student loans and the small wage I made at my job. I had left a very good job to return to school, but paying for the COBRA plan was out of the question. I had done well in taxes the year before so Medicaid was out of the question. I have a pre-existing condition so buying a health insurance policy was not in my price range.

Another Crisis Pregnancy Center

During this time, I hadn’t gotten a period in about 4 months. I hadn’t been sexually active for at least 6 months. I knew I should start by getting a pregnancy test before assuming anything, so I stopped at what I assumed was a free health clinic. The sign out front read “A Women’s Choice: A Free Special Health Clinic” and advertised free and confidential pregnancy testing.

The clinic I walked in to was small, and had posters and propaganda for finding Christianity. This should have been my first clue. A majority of the healthcare in Kentucky is affiliated with the Catholic and Baptist faiths so having religious affiliation didn’t raise any concern. A volunteer greeted me, and told me about their free testing and ultrasound capabilities for diagnosing pregnancies. Why was I not to think this was a healthcare facility? I went to the bathroom with my test, given to me by either a volunteer or employee. No way to tell. 


It was negative.

Next I was waiting in what seemed like it was an exam room, sitting on a chair next to the ultrasound machine. I assumed a doctor or nurse would be there. Nope. A volunteer with brochures about salvation came in to counsel me about my negative test. I was confused and scared, and still without any explanation to why I was having medical issues.

The volunteer said, “You are just lucky all of your sinning hasn’t caught up with you yet. While you aren’t pregnant, how do you know you haven’t been infected with HIV, and have been infecting others? You have to walk away from how you have been living your life, hand yourself over to Jesus, and beg for forgiveness for what has lead you to us today”… My mind drifted off as she scolded me, and I began to worry about my health even more. She asked if I had any questions and I mentioned I have an auto immune disorder that could be the root of my health problem. The volunteer obviously wasn’t a healthcare professional, I was told about a place that was hiring locally that had great benefits. She reached for my hand and asked me to pray with her. Again, my mind drifted away and I found myself just looking at the floor, thinking about the physical pain I was in.

The Crisis Pregnancy Center


Many people see no harm in the Crisis Pregnancy Center. However, I can’t be the only person who has confused one of the Crisis Pregnancy Centers as healthcare. Emergency mental health centers are often called “Crisis Centers”. If they were called an adoption recruitment center, or a chapel then I would have no reason to be complaining that I had showed up seeking medical assistance.

To promote itself as a medical resource is just irresponsible. The poor who have little access to quality healthcare are the most likely to have this confusion. Any number of medical emergencies could present themselves as a women being confused she is pregnant. How would they diagnose a situation requiring immediate care from a doctor such as an ectopic or high risk pregnancy? Substituting the care of doctors, nurses or midwives for religious guidance does nothing to serve the community. 
In my case, I ended up in the ER a few weeks later. I had a week long hospital stay for my auto immune disease. I can’t help to think this situation could have been much easier for me if only I had found actual healthcare, not a religious organization posing as a clinic.

Cynthia Di Angelo has been battling Crohn’s disease for over 20 years. A native New Yorker, but somehow wound up living in Kentuckybefore ending up in Philadelphia. She has a three year old daughter and is an adult adoptee.

What It’s Like to be ‘Late’ by Jennifer Martin

Photo Credit:
Lynn(e) Schmidt

Sometimes I don’t do the dishes for weeks. I work three days a week to support my never ending car problems. I go without the essentials at times; toilet paper, laundry detergent, dish towels, etc. And occasionally I find myself living off ramen noodles when I run completely out of money. Like most people my age, I have a hard time taking care of myself. My habits are partly to blame, the economy is mostly to blame. My simple life of barely getting by had taken an unplanned turn when I realized I might be feeding my ramen noodles to someone else, someone inside me.

When I realized I was late, I didn’t think much of it.The thought of getting pregnant terrifies me, and truth be told, babies scare me. I avoid them for the most part. I’m not ready at this point in life, to care for another person other than myself. When I hear a baby cry, I try to be as far away from it as possible. When I see a little kid throw a tantrum, I give them candy and toys so they’ll stop making noise. When I see they’re crying, I quickly busy myself to avoid the situation. So, when I realized I was late, these thoughts of my experiments with small children did run through my mind, and I was queasy.

After the sixth or seventh day of the absence of my period, I found myself checking for it frequently. I would be walking through Wal-Mart and see babies around every corner and feel the need to make a quick run to the bathroom to check if I had started. Every little pain I had in my stomach, I’d assume that my period had come at last and run to check in the nearest bathroom, only to be disappointed. I was so desperate for some kind of answer, I broke down a bought a pregnancy test. 

Photo Credit:
Lynn(e) Schmidt

Though they both came back negative, I still wasn’t starting my period. I started to come to the conclusion I was pregnant. Some people would suggest having the child and putting it up for adoption but, honestly, I don’t think this is not an option for me. I’m skinny and my body isn’t set up for the caring of a baby. I don’t eat healthy whatsoever and being pregnant wouldn’t suddenly make money appear for nutritious foods. I searched online to check where the nearest abortion center was located and watched videos of exactly what the procedure was for an abortion.

My friends and boyfriend were supportive of my decision to get an abortion. They understood, like so many people wouldn’t, that I wasn’t ready to support another life other than my own. One of my friends even said she’d hold my hand during my appointment.

Then one day, while I was at work, I felt a sharp pain in my side. I knew this was it. I went to the bathroom and was overjoyed to see what I saw. I was glad not only because I wasn’t pregnant but because I wasn’t in need of an abortion. 
An abortion isn’t something that you look forward to getting done to you. It’s a step that happens when other contraceptive don’t work. It’s something that gets done when a mistake happens, and/or you’re not strong enough to bear a child. Even though abortion is the choice I would have made, I’m glad I didn’t have to. I’m grateful to have open-minded friends and family who would have supported me through my decisions. Not everyone has people like that around them and are forced into a path they’re not ready to take.


Jennifer Martin is a nineteen year old retail associate in Maine. Her friends call her Genevieve, but she’s not sure why. She enjoys pina coladas and occasionally getting caught in the rain. Reading and recycling are little hobbies of hers. 
Jennifer has a cat named Blue who she rescued from a near-death experience (involving a bald eagle and a dirty sock). 
She tries to be open-minded and looks forward to meeting different people because she enjoys talking about anything and everything!