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Health / Parenthood

My Bittersweet Abortion

"Would I choose to kill the maiden in me to become a mother? Or would I choose to nip the lifeform growing inside of me in the bud?"

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Written by Sadie St. Claire
Photo by Mubariz Mehdizadeh

In the Spring of my 29th year, I dreamed I had a daughter, her curls the same flaxen shade as my ex’s.  When I woke up the next morning, I knew that I wasn’t alone in my body.

“Is your period late?” My best friend asked.  

I told her that my most recent cycle had come and gone exactly exactly according schedule, and I had been celibate since.  Later, in the clinic, I would learn that it’s fairly common to have a perfectly normal seeming period in the early stages of pregnancy, which means you might not even have a missed period until you’ve passed Texas’s new 6 week cut-off. But when my breasts started hurting a few days later, it wasn’t the same old PMS boob pain.  It was something entirely different.  I took 3 different kinds of tests to confirm what I already felt in my bones.  I was pregnant, and I definitely didn’t want to be.

I knew that the tiny cluster of rapidly dividing cells in my uterus was the same presence that had visited me in my dream, and you know what? They were pretty cool. 

Though I wasn’t particularly religious, and had been a pro-choice feminist killjoy my entire life, I never thought that *I* would get an abortion.  Especially not after I had made it almost all the way through my twenties without an accidental pregnancy.  But here I was, weeping on the bathroom floor, knowing that I stood before a crossroads where both paths ended in death. 

Would I choose to kill the maiden in me to become a mother? Or would I choose to nip the lifeform growing inside of me in the bud?

I knew that the tiny cluster of rapidly dividing cells in my uterus was the same presence that had visited me in my dream, and you know what? They were pretty cool.  I knew that if I chose to have the baby, everything would be fine. Both my ex and I were stable people from loving families, and he’d probably make a fine dad.  But was that really reason enough to bring a life into this world? And when I thought about being tied to him- not only for the rest of my life as a co-parent, but also throughout eternity as an ancestor- it honestly made me sad.

I consulted my dear friend Madre Jaguar,  who is a reiki master and doula, and they guided me to do a ceremony to make contact with “the spirit bebe.”  Jaguar said that I could tell this being my feelings, and ask them how they felt.

I knew that I wanted to be a parent, one day.  I had visions of giving my offspring an idyllic childhood, spent devouring tart fruits on hot sand, then splashing in turquoise shallows until they were clean and salty.  Of running around and being wild, on a property with lots of space for activities, and a whole room full of art supplies- of time to do it all with them.  I dreamed of co-parenting with someone who was also my life partner.  I wrote all this down, and as I wrote, it became clear to me what I had to ask.

In my mother’s garden, on a clear spring night, I lit a candle and dropped deep into meditation, both of my hands clutching my lower belly.  I called out to the spirit I had met in the dream, and from deep within my own body I felt them answer. I thanked them for choosing me. I told them that I already loved them, and from the moment I dreamed I was their mother, I had felt them. I shared with them the bright visions of tropical fruit and all the fun- the life I wanted to give a child.  And then I told them that I wasn’t ready to care for another human in the material world just yet, but that one day I would be. I asked them, if they were ready to be born now, would they consider choosing another mama?  Or if they had their heart set on me, would they mind waiting a few years?

I asked them, if they were ready to be born now, would they consider choosing another mama?  Or if they had their heart set on me, would they mind waiting a few years?

The answer, I felt, was a resounding yes.  This entity consented to my reclamation of my maidenhood.  At least for a few more years.

A few weeks later I sat in the same spot in my mother’s garden, pregnant no longer, this time bleeding and bleeding as I wept, overcome by gratitude that I had been in a position to choose whether or not to become a parent.  I felt like I had been given a whole new life, infinite possibilities before me.  I knew, emphatically, that I had made the right decision.

As I bled, I wept in gratitude of the maidenhood I had reclaimed, and I thought about the sorrow one must feel, to become a parent against their will. I thought about the absurdity of calling a philosophy “pro-life,” when it prioritizes the assumed will of an unborn- technically parasitic- entity, over its already living host. 

As I bled, I wept in gratitude of the maidenhood I had reclaimed, and I thought about the sorrow one must feel, to become a parent against their will.

There’s no overstating how much my privilege made this a possibility for me.  I had the education and resources to mobilize quickly, which gave me access to a sterile, legal, clinical termination.  And even I, as someone who comes from a lot of relative privilege, would have struggled significantly to support a child.  

How ironic that those who call themselves “pro-life,” are so often aligned with policies that destroy ecosystems, divest resources from marginalized peoples, and ignore Indigenous sovereignty and treaties. Deforestation is the abortion of an entire biome, the murder of all of its thousands of species and billions of organisms.  Laying pipelines is the abortion of clean water access for millions.  The way that western governments have treated Indigenous people is the abortion of entire cultures and ways of life. 

But MY abortion?  MY abortion was a rebirth. 

But MY abortion?  MY abortion was a rebirth.  I was reborn as a whole new person, with a fire in my belly to create a more stable and fulfilled life for myself.  My abortion empowered me to be a significantly better and more attentive parent, if and when I choose to become one.

In telling my story, I hope to chip away at the stigma surrounding abortions, and maybe make someone reading this feel less alone. This was my experience, and of course everyone’s is different.  I know people who have felt very sad about their abortions, and I have friends who have chosen to have an unplanned baby.  All of these choices are valid, all of these feelings are normal.  What’s important is that they remain choices, and that we can support one another in community. Having reproductive rights saved my life.  If and when I become a parent, it will be on my terms, when I’m ready to be present to raise a great human being.  

I want the world to know that to me, my abortion was sacred.  It didn’t feel shameful or dirty or sad.  It felt consensual, magical and holy.  


Sadie St. Claire is an author, artist, stalwart defender of reproductive rights, and cat mom.


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