“A Tale of First-Term Miscarriage and Abortion along with one Pregnancy Journey, All Before I was 24 Years Old,”
by Emily Budd
By the time I was 24, I had been pregnant 3 times.
Each time was excruciatingly difficult — not the pregnancy itself, but deciding what to do about it.
The first time I was pregnant, I was 20 and in a very unhealthy relationship.
During my first ultrasound, the doctor said, “The heartbeat is very low. This pregnancy probably won’t stick.”
Basically, I was going to miscarry,
but I didn’t want to hear that.
Even though I knew that not having the baby would be my best option, I still wanted to be pregnant.
I actually thought I could be a good mother. After all, I was 20 years old – and not 15.
I knew I would figure things out.
Also, I hadn’t prevented it. I was being careless, and realized it. Thus, I felt very guilty.
The father was a dangerous sociopath, so I knew in my bones I couldn’t have his baby.
Already scheduled for an abortion, I miscarried a week or so before it.
I chose to ignore any miscarriage signs I was having, as I was in denial.
And, even though I had an appointment for the abortion, I was playing out a different story in my head. I dreamt about one day mothering this soul energy that was taking up space in my womb.
I was in denial about miscarrying because I wanted the pregnancy, but my logical mind knew that I had to get rid of it and
this was all so confusing.
My miscarriage was confirmed at my abortion appointment. No fetal heartbeat was detected. Thus, my abortion appointment became a D&C. (Dilation and curettage refers to the dilation of the cervix and the surgical removal of part of the lining of the uterus, and/or contents of the uterus, by scraping and scooping.)
To this day, I feel lucky about the way my first pregnancy turned out. Wanting to have a baby, but knowing it was the wrong decision, was a gut wrenching experience. Which, apparently, the wise energy in my womb intuited – it’s tiny heart muscle blowing out like a candle flame in the wind.
Thus, my miscarriage was a blessing. I didn’t have to make a decision; rather, the decision was made for me.
I felt incredibly relieved,
and still do.
My second pregnancy came 3 years later.
It was a one-night stand type of situation.
I had been quite careful about pregnancy after my previous one, but had a reckless night, and was SHOCKED to find out I was pregnant.
I didn’t think it was even a possibility as I didn’t believe that it can truly only take one time.
I was casually dating this guy. It wasn’t serious and he was not someone I would want to parent a child with.
And, unfortunately, this time it wasn’t likely that I was going to miscarry.
With the first pregnancy, I had no pregnancy symptoms. Nothing.
This made sense later, when I found out that I had miscarried early on. But this time, I had horrible nausea all day for the duration of my second pregnancy. I knew I wasn’t going to miscarry and that, this time, I had to take action.
I felt so disappointed because I had been carefully protecting myself for 3 years! I simply had a lapse in judgement on one night. And it was from that one night that I got pregnant.
I made sure to learn about ovulation after this experience!
And I felt so angry that, in twenty three years, no one had taught me about ovulation!!
The seed donor and I knew immediately that we needed to get an abortion.
I went through the motions, and didn’t emotionally process too much.
It was “inconvenient” timing, as I was in the middle of moving to a different state.
So, I actually fit an abortion in the middle of traveling from one state to another!
I left the place I had been living, then arrived in another state and got an abortion. I rested for a day at a friend’s house and then I continued driving across a few states to my final destination. Talk about… moving things along.
I think I moved things along so fast so that I didn’t have to process what was happening.
The effects of which would show itself soon enough…
One year later and I found myself having moved again, in a new relationship and, actually, happy this time. (Yayyy!)
We were so smitten with each other and totally in “puppy-dog love,” when I began experiencing feelings of wanting to be pregnant.
I knew it didn’t make sense, as I was in such a new relationship, but I had a really strong drive to be pregnant!
My new partner and I talked about it and mutually agreed that, “If it happened, it happened.”
I wouldn’t get an abortion. And, though we weren’t ‘trying’ (i.e., we would avoid intercourse during ovulation), I wasn’t going to get on birth control either. But, dang! — my biological desire to be pregnant was so strong!!
Reflecting more on it, I think my desire was rooted in some of my pain that I felt over losing two pregnancies in the previous two years.
While I knew it was illogical, I was yearning to carry life again — and to actually see it through this time.
Within 5 months of dating, I was pregnant.
The father was elated. A few years older than me, he was ready to start a family. And we were so caught up in the honeymoon stage of our relationship, that it all felt really euphoric.
However, even though we agreed and not getting an abortion, I was having a change of heart.
I started thinking, “What is wrong with me?
Why do I keep getting pregnant?!
And, why would I have a baby with a man whom I just started dating?!”
I felt scared… really scared.
Doubting my own emotional health, I questioned myself for ending up in these situations so regularly.
Thus, I made an appointment to get an abortion, and canceled it.
Then, I made another one and I wanted a certain type so I had to travel 4 hours to get it.
I went to the appointment, got the ultrasound (validating a healthy pregnancy), spent a few hours there, and was still
I felt all of the pressure of guilt and societal shame that made me feel like having this baby was the “wrong” decision, but I had to choose for myself and this took all the courage I had.
I walked out of the appointment, and I chose to become a Mother.
On the drive home, I stopped in a forest – to sit with trees for a few hours – taking in the magnitude of the decision I just made.
I was going to have a strong, healthy baby. Wow!
So here I am, 28 years-old with a 2.5 year old.
I’ve been pregnant 3 times — 1 miscarriage, 1 abortion, 1 pregnancy and birth.
And I feel as though my journey of pregnancy, loss, and life have shaped so deeply who I am as a human being.
I wouldn’t change any of my experiences – even though each was very hard and trying in its own way.
I am where I am today — happily mothering a beautiful little toddler — because of all that came before, including my losses.
–Emily Budd raises her toddler in Taos, New Mexico with her partner.
**Story by Emily Budd; images & editing by Pregnancy Loss Ritual**