I had an abortion in my 40s. I will never forget the shocking words that the doctor said to me.

I never imagined my first abortion would be when I was in my 40s, married and already a parent. But that’s the situation when her pregnancy test came back positive in July, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initially, I thought I had COVID. Or it was just anxiety from a helicopter flying non-stop over Brooklyn. But when my period got late and finally came and became lighter, I thought maybe I was menopausal.

I didn’t finally know until I spit out a nursing glass of wine. The only time alcohol felt like poison was when I was pregnant six years ago.

So, I took a pregnancy test. Then another — and another. (A year later, when we were finally able to do our own weekly COVID tests, I thought about how similar they were to pregnancy tests. So I wondered why the COVID indicator was only two straight lines — Silent Judgment.)

My husband was thrilled when he learned the news. I was her 41 and had just completed her 3 months of distance learning with a 6 year old daughter. And then there was work. I was starting my own business — the path I took after being kicked out of my previous tech company because I was a mom. The flexibility and independence I now have would have been more desirable, but it also made it impossible to take any kind of maternity leave without losing a large amount of my income.

But aren’t these selfish reasons questionable? Who wasn’t raising a child for less money?

Not knowing what to do, I booked an obstetrics and gynecology department. One who gave birth to a daughter moved from downtown to the Upper West Side. There was no way I could take the subway to her office while the coronavirus was still raging. Instead, we found a local place within walking distance. It was scary because it was her first visit to the doctor since the pandemic started. She double masked. she put on her gloves.

After arriving, the nurse changed me into a hospital gown. I was waiting alone in a pure white clean room. My belly was covered in cold wet jelly and rubbed with a converter. I looked at the ultrasound screen, even though I really didn’t want to.

“There it is,” said the doctor. “Baby!” I stared at this moving, living mass in my stomach. “Congratulations, Mom,” she said. “You are already six weeks old!”

The doctor handed me a black and white picture of my uterus. I had a similar picture of her daughter hanging on the fridge with a magnet. I folded it by hand. From the doctor’s look, it never occurred to her that during the pandemic, her married mother, who already has one child, might not want to keep her baby. I noticed. another choice.

“You’re an elderly pregnancy, so you’ll need extensive blood work and weekly appointments.

How many times have my friends and I teased the term in Mommy’s Wine while complaining about the gender division of labor in the home? he is 41 years old.

“What if you decide you don’t know if you want kids?” I asked.

She didn’t expect this question. She was used to delivering positive news in a shiny clean office, so she had a full-time nanny and was able to give birth to a beautiful, healthy baby in Park Slope, who at the age of five was fluent in Mandarin.

She looked away from me. “Then you have a few options.”

But I didn’t want to burst her bubble – and maybe she was right.

I later learned that 59% of abortion patients already had children. Most women who choose to have an abortion are so they can better support their existing children. My situation was actually very common. Throughout history, women have made decisions like this. I also learned that the U.S. fertility rate is declining every year, and that 74% of her parents under the age of 50 are not interested in adding another child to her life.

On my way home, I cycled down Vanderbilt Street, I was sick of all the blood drawn for my elderly pregnancies with the ultrasound images folded into my shorts pocket. I started crying from behind my mask. I couldn’t give birth to this child. Gone are the days when people around me were suffocating because they couldn’t breathe, and when I woke up terrified at 3 a.m. every night with an asthma attack.

When we went to bed later that night, I asked my husband if he was disappointed.

“It’s your choice,” he said quietly, turning his face to me. He still looked like my husband boy. I was imagining it too. their plump cheeks. their first beautiful smile.

My previous pregnancies were not easy. Her daughter was in trouble. I had meconium in me – and I had a fever. Thanks to the OB-GYN I didn’t need a C-section.

But I was very sick and scared of my daughter. I had to take antibiotics during labor. And when she showed up violently, I was allowed to monitor her and hold her briefly before transporting her to her neonatal intensive care unit to administer her antibiotics.

Birth doesn’t happen the way everyone thinks it does, but the experience was terrifying. There was a time when she was told she might have to go home without her, and she remembers her relief when she was able to leave the hospital in a child seat.

my next day new ultrasound, I tried to call Planned Parenthood, keeping my daughter out of hearing, but they were fully booked. So I had to go back to the bright, glowing gynecology office that provided the image of my womb. my dead child

This time they gave me some options. I told them I liked the one with the pills— Mifepristone When MisoprostolIt looked the cleanest, but I knew nothing was going to be easy, blood, tissue, clots and debris would pass, and that they would all hang on me forever.

I was told about the risks, but I didn’t really think about them. I just wanted to do it – and knew that medical abortion was 95% effective when administered properly.

After that, the nurse sent me to the doctor’s office there. A doctor will usually come to you.

The man sitting behind the desk was about 60 years old. he told me to close the door.

“So how did you get here?” he asked after I sat across from him. “People like you really should be more responsible. You should know better. I recommend coming back after this for an IUD so that this never happens again.” To do.”

I laughed involuntarily. His comments were so silly and insulting that he felt like he wasn’t there, his brain was separated from his body.”I’m responsible,” I said. repeated. “I’m married. I already have kids. I’m on the pill. Anyway, I thought I was peri-menopausal.”

“It’s not menopause,” the doctor told me. “You are young and strong. This can happen again and you need to take more responsibility for these things.” was not lost.

“Look,” I said.

The word “responsibility” crossed my mind. The endless paperwork to sign, the ass to clean, the meals to cook, the sheets to be changed, all the frantic work calls I had to take while my daughter was calling me in the hallway, I’ll do it later. I thought of all the rush that must-have school pick-up from the subway earlier. Of course I was to blame. Of course, I carefully considered this decision.

The doctor opened a desk drawer, took out a bottle, and handed me some pills. He wrapped them up in Kleenex for me and I felt like this was somehow wrong or illegal or illegal, like drug dealing. He carefully explained how to manage it.

“But I want people to know the risks,” he said. “Sometimes these things go wrong and you have to come back.”

I took the pills from him and closed the door. More than anything, I just wanted to walk away and run away, but I still needed to settle my copayments and schedule follow-ups — because I’m responsible.

I went north with my family to administer medicine at my friend’s houseI wanted to be with her—woman. I was ashamed to see her husband.

I bled that night and passed a clot. No one wants to talk about the physicality of birth or the elimination of it. blood. organization. All that horror movies.

The next week I had to go back to the same awful office, double mask and gloves. A third doctor (a woman in her 50s) came in and examined my uterus. Her face was as nonjudgmental as the others.

But the news was not good. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this,” she said after checking my uterus. – Dilation and curettage surgery.

“What do you mean? I had a blood clot,” I said.

“I’m sorry,” the doctor said to me. “Unfortunately, we see this from time to time. That’s why we recommend procedures instead. People are unaware of the risks.”

Later, when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, I thought about this. Think of all the women ordering pills online to terminate their pregnancies in states that have made abortion illegal. All the women who read about the 95% success rate but never imagined that they would be the other 5% of her. Where do they go after that? who will help them? what will they do next?

The following week, my husband and daughter accompanied D and C in the city.I didn’t want her daughter inside, but her husband was told to come inside her for a discussion. We had some details and no other choice. I told him to take me to the playground during the surgery. Another male doctor administered anesthesia.

“You see this sometimes,” he told me.

“Yes,” I said. “I know it now.”

“But you already have children,” said the doctor. “why [did] doing this? “

I didn’t answer. what was he trying to achieve? It was too late anyway. I was put down When I woke up, I was dazed and confused. Her daughter and her husband were waiting. I wonder if she knew what happened to her daughter. Will she ever speak to her? Could she be worried that she was unwanted?

I later found out that two of my good friends suddenly became pregnant during the pandemic and had their babies in the exact same month I was due. All I heard in elementary school was the story of a 50-year-old PTA mom’s miraculous IVF baby, and I wondered why women’s experiences were so difficult and other women’s were so easy.

A month after Roe was overturned, I met one of my friend’s babies. She’s almost two years old. Her daughter and I read her books, held her hand and sang her “The Wheels on the Bus” for her. Watching them together, I wondered what a wonderful sister her daughter had been, and she imagined the fierce and confident young woman she would one day grow up to be. She feels sad and sad, but she has no regrets.

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