Abortion: My story.

I always feel compelled to write on here when I feel my thoughts cannot be completely empathised by people around me; when the answers to my rants or deeply-rooted issues or experiences can only come from within, rather than through words of mere sympathy from those who have the best intentions but just don’t have the right words of reassurance.

Ten days ago I underwent a surgical abortion to terminate a 6-week pregnancy that I had only discovered three days prior. Never in my life did I think I would ever need to say those words, given my natural tendency to always take precaution in my actions. But alas, this is real life, and this did happen to me.

They say the copper IUD contraceptive method is 99.8% effective in preventing unexpected pregnancies. Condoms range in only 85-98% effective. The only superior contraceptive method to the IUD is the contraceptive implant that you insert into your arm, which is 99.9% effective. Prior to this decision I remember reading horror stories online of how some women fell pregnant with one in place — but surely I wouldn’t be that unlucky. Surely. 

But no, I just happened to be the 1 in 500 women who did fall pregnant with one in. On the day of the procedure my doctor saw in the ultrasound that my IUD had moved out of place within my uterus. Whether its misplacement caused the conception or that it had moved after I’d conceived will forever be a mystery.

My decision to terminate my pregnancy was straight forward and simple, and having my partner have the same stance as me on this situation made things easier. I have and always will be an advocate for pro-choice, and after I saw the third pregnancy test showing positive, the only thought that crossed my mind (other than FUCK MY LIFE) was not whether I should continue with the pregnancy, but how soon I can terminate. Believe me when I say there is probably nothing else in this world that I feel will give me the same satisfaction or fulfilment in life that raising my own children would give. Not only this, I fell pregnant with someone that I know will one day be the best father to my children in the years to come. At 27, every bone in my body tells me I was born to be a mother — just not right now.

The procedure, for me, was a psychologically manageable experience. I’m sure it would’ve been much different had I gone into it without such a firm decision in my mind, and I think this is where women making such decisions should be clearheaded about prior to entering the clinic. I also feel that personally, my conscience felt light as I knew I didn’t become pregnant for being reckless or irresponsible. I used a reliable contraceptive method that just unluckily happened to fail on me. End-to-end, it was about 4-5 hours in duration. I was under twilight sedation, meaning I was apparently half awake throughout the procedure but the anaesthesia blocked me from forming memories about it. So thankfully, I remember none of it. One moment I was on the bed pantie-less with a waist drape over me and the anaesthetist telling it was time to go under; next moment I was in a reclined chair in the recovery room with my undies magically back on. The surgical procedure was about 45 minutes in duration.

Pain-wise, I felt close to zero pain in the days following the procedure. I was incredibly fatigued for the first two days, and bleeding was light relative to my normal periods. Nine days in I am still bleeding/spotting and have had sporadic and very light period-like cramps, but this should cease in the coming days. Because it was such an early termination, I’ve had to get an extra ultrasound and a couple more blood tests done to ensure that the doctor had properly removed the embryonic sac (which would’ve been, at 6 weeks, just a tiny speck on the ultrasound, so uncertainty of complete removal was higher than normal) and also to exclude the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. Fortunately I passed all tests, so within the next week or so I should be back to being as fertile and as pregnancy-prone as ever before.

I guess the reason why I’m writing this post is the psychological impact that this has had on me since a few days ago. As soon as the procedure was over, I felt relief. However, now that everything is over and I’ve had some time to let it all sink in, a ‘mixed bag of emotions’ might best describe my mind right now. On the one hand, I stand by my decision to terminate. However, if there was a single english word to describe the sense of having quiet, reflective and melancholic ‘what if’ thoughts and imagining the potential outcomes had I walked down that other path, this would be it.

I recently met a happy couple in their early 30s at a party who have a two year old daughter and honestly, their daughter eerily looks like what I imagine my own daughter would look like. I later found out that they had gotten married sooner than later for the very reason of an unexpected pregnancy. These two combined was a majorly unexpected trigger for the emotions I feel now. I see photos of their child and feel sudden triggers of guilt, grief, and what-ifs.

As I come from a very scientific background, my way of coping with the entire termination was to dehumanise the pregnancy as much as possible. Rather than thinking of having a baby inside of me, I thought very much of it as just a ball of embryonic cells without any form of consciousness, especially at the week I terminated. While it’s not to the extent of emotional trauma, I do feel that these emotional triggers are somewhat chipping away at this construct I’d formed in my mind.

In the days following my termination I searched online to read other people’s stories, I guess as a way to grasp how I should be feeling after this all-too-unfamiliar experience. However, a lot of these stories I just couldn’t fully relate to, mainly because of how emotionally traumatised many of these women felt throughout the entire experience. I wonder if there are any women who can relate to my sense of feeling psychologically sound in my decision, and yet also feeling melancholic and pensive.

I don’t think there is any true solution to how I’m feeling; I’m merely using my words on here as a therapeutic outlet of sorts. As I said before, this is just something that no one else but myself and time can provide solace for. Knowing myself, in many ways these feelings will likely to follow me throughout my life, where it will always lay somewhat dormant but ever present in the back of my mind. I can only hope that this experience will make me feel more protective, appreciative, and aware of myself and my future children when the time comes.

I hope my words bring some consolation to those who come across this post. Whatever you are feeling, you’re not alone.

Advertisements

When I started this blog I was 23, in my first relationship, and about to move to a new country and start a new chapter in life. I am now approaching 27 and down to the last 2 months from closing said chapter of my life. What a fucking rollercoaster it has been.

I bumped into Jeremy again, funnily enough in the exact same spot, time, and event as 1 year ago when I last saw him. I’m not going to lie – I knew he would be there so I purposely put myself in a situation where I was highly likely to bump into him. The logic behind it? Not much. I genuinely just wanted to chat with him.

It was much more comfortable than the last time I saw him. Much less small talk and filling in any awkward silences, and more genuine questions about how we’ve been doing. I asked him about New York, his optometry work, about how things are with Wendy. I told him about my PhD progress, about how my final oration is in a few days. I told him how I finally sold the GT that we semi bought together. I told him that I was really happy that he was doing so well in the career that he’s been building for himself. We talked about how everything we started together is finally wrapping up and coming to a close.

What a weird feeling it is to see his face and watch him talk, and at the same time realise that at one point in my life he used to be my everything; that I once felt a love for him that I thought would never end. And then I realise that this exact moment is what I knew I had the capacity of doing – to be able to see him again as a friend and feel nothing but happiness for him. So little and yet so much about him has changed, and it was welcoming to see this in him. We spoke in the way we did prior to our relationship when we were solely friends, except this time our words were weighted with a heavy history of events and emotions that we once shared.

Three and a half years ago we came to this country looking to start a new chapter in our lives. Although we were unable to finish the chapter together, my heart is content in knowing that after all our trials and tribulations we both came out more mature with a newfound respect for each other.

It’s been a while.

Yes, it’s been a while. The last month has been whirlwind to say the least – but it appears I say this every time. Prepping for presentations left and right, trying to smash out as much thesis writing as I can, prepping for the next set of experiments… You know the drill. It’s funny, I always find myself coming back to this blog as a way to reflect and recalibrate. There’s a saying that we all need ‘me’ time to understand and reconnect with ourselves better. Writing on this blog is my form of reconnecting with myself.

A lot has happened already, but the next few months will really test my mental capacity as I head into the last 6 months of my PhD. Can you believe it?

I have a love/hate relationship with being on the grind and hustling. I hate it, because I think I am inherently lazy. I am so good at doing absolutely nothing. When I am doing work, at times I catch myself daydreaming of lying on the couch and just existing, doing nothing. I would be the most boring person to watch as a star of The Truman Show. Unlike others, being proactive doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to expend a significant amount of energy to go against my inherent laziness to think of ways to be proactive.

On the flip side, I love hustling because it gives me purpose to my days. After much convincing from the SO I finally invested in a physical scheduler/diary to improve my time management. Before, I would solely rely on my iCal and always managed to forget something. Hate to say he’s right, but so far I love it. I love managing my days with tasks that I need to complete. Some days I give myself unrealistic goals for the day after which I always feel shit for not completing. But when I do? Much victory.

I don’t know if it’s an age thing, but I am also slowly becoming a morning person. If you knew me 5 years ago or back in high school this would be huge news. Everyone knew me as the one who would sleep at 1am the earliest, and wake up 10am the earliest. I loved my sleep ins, and believe me I still love a good 11am sleep in on a Saturday, but as I get older I am becoming more aware of 1) how valuable time is, and 2) how little I have of it. I mean, we’re already nearing the end of May. Which means we’re already nearly half way through 2017. Seriously? Seriously?!?!!? For this sole reason I have been willingly sleeping no later than 11pm, waking up at 6.30am and getting into work before 8am just so I can get an extra hour out of my day. I don’t know why but it just feels good to wake up before everyone else. The tram isn’t so packed, and the people that get on at that time just look more peaceful and serene. An early bird trait perhaps.

This next bit also ties in with the whole “me being proactive” and “there’s no time left” crisis, but lately I have also been more mindful of the amount of uselessness that I feed my brain. From those stupid memes, videos and BuzzFeed surveys on Facebook that we get sucked into doing (“Choose your ideal IKEA furniture and we’ll tell you when you will die!”) to the weird side of YouTube that we always manage to find ourselves in every once in a while – I got to a point where I started to get into the habit of asking myself: I have so little time to do the things I want today, this week, this month – is this really worth my time? 95% of the time I answer no. There are so many more useful things and information that we can feed our brains with and yet because of the social construct algorithms that social media enforces on us I feel like a lot of us have become blind to this. I want to make the most of the little time that I have, and while I can’t completely eradicate all of my guilty pleasures I have become more conscious about compartmentalising my time for those pleasures and using it as a positively enforcing ‘reward’, and not letting it bleed into my productivity.

Wow, this post became longer than I thought. That’s all I have for today.

New year, new self. 

I’m currently sitting on our bed in our guesthouse in Luang Prabang waiting for the other two to wake up from their naps before we hike up a mountain close by. I feel like right now has been the only time since early December since I’ve truly had time to myself to just think and reflect back on everything. So here goes.

2016 was both a good and bad year for me. The first few months of the year felt like a haze, nothing eventful and yet spending my days feeling unsatified with my life. My relationship was on a downward spiral which I tried so hard to keep afloat from, my social life lacked any real substance which I was becoming increasingly frustrated by. Once the break up happened, my life turned around 180 degrees. The break up propelled me to take control of my life without the constant back thought of someone else’s feelings or opinions. I made a new group friends who now feel like home to me. I met someone who finally shows me the respect I deserved from the beginning, someone who shares the same values in life and in love, someone with the same level of patience and understands the crucial importance of open communication. Together we make a good team; despite sharing similar weaknesses we do our best to push each other to help achieve our goals. We just get each other, which always feels good. 

In terms of my work, I really hit a brick wall towards the end of the year. I developed an anxiety issue which eats me alive at times of solitude. This consequently led to a growth of a negative, toxic mindset that propelled me into the brick wall. I became unnaturally lazy with my work last year which is most likely how my anxiety came about.

With the new found support that I gained in 2016, I’m optimistic for what’s to come in 2017. This year is crunch year for me. I have solid goals that I want to achieve which I know I’m going to have to up my hustle game for – I know for sure that this will be the only cure to my anxiety. This time next year I’ll be equipped with an extra degree under my belt. I let myself down once, I can’t do it again. 

Ramble

With the start of the new Spring season I can’t help but feel an array of emotions that will sound more or less like a ramble and incoherent, as my thoughts always are.

It has already been two seasons since leaving an old chapter of my life and turning over a fresh new page. I entered the gloomiest seasons of the year emotionally scarred and battered, and came out of it intact and… actually happy. I’ve always regarded the beginning of Spring as the beginning of a rejuvenation. The end of year is in sight, days will get longer and the prolonged sunlight and warmth will only keep me more energised. I feel like as the months of gloom are past us, from here things will only start to look up. I can finally start to get excited about end of year travel plans, and excited (but nervous) about inching closer towards finishing my PhD, my growing relationship with someone who I’ve come to be so grateful for. I started a new chapter six months ago and now I can truly feel like I can call that last chapter a form of reminiscence.

It’s a weird phenomenon, though: that feeling you get when six months sounds so long ago and yet it feels like time has rushed by so fast. There needs to be an English term for this.

A message.

This will be the last I speak of you on here. This post will be my form of permanent closure to that chapter of my life.

So, I learned you got yourself a new girl recently. We both moved on fast, but to be honest I wasn’t too surprised of your news – probably would’ve been more surprising if you didn’t, considering you haven’t been single for longer than three months since you were 17. I’m sure she’s kind, well mannered and down to earth – just the type you like. If she is anything like me we probably could’ve been good friends in another lifetime.

For some reason, I care about her. Yes, I care about a stranger I don’t even know. But I know you. And I know she would’ve gotten sucked in by your initial charms. You are attracted to girls who don’t make you feel overpowered by intellect or humour. So you use those factors to charm a girl. I know it all, I’ve seen it all, I’ve felt it all. She will see how much you care about your family, your friends, how career-focused you are, how hardworking you are. How you have a soft spot for cute things when your outward persona is quite the opposite. These are genuine traits about you that I liked.

You love that initial rush and excitement of a new relationship, of getting to know a new and attractive girl. But it won’t be long till you let complacency and comfort replace the initial excitement of a relationship, because you believe a honeymoon phase is naturally supposed to end, so you make very little effort to make it last for as long as possible.

It’s funny that I’ve managed to feel and experience almost everything I wanted you to be and do in the two years we were together all in the space of a mere 3 months of being in my new relationship after you. I understand now how every girl should be treated. I realise now that at least while you were with me you lacked fundamental values in what it meant to be the best partner for your other half. I want to give you the benefit of the doubt by thinking maybe you’re just not aware of these values, maybe because you were just really spoiled by myself and probably the one before me who gave you everything you wanted and us being too naive on how we should’ve been treated back.

Because I care for this stranger, the following is what I urge you to implement in your new relationship. She deserves this.

  1. Communicate and be transparent. We both know how bad you are at face to face confrontation. You lose your words when you have to talk feelings face to face and you feel more comfortable typing out your feelings. You find it hard processing feelings in general. That’s fine, but don’t pretend you are okay with something when you’re clearly not. Communicate with her straight away when you’re uncomfortable with something, don’t leave it until you get upset. And when she voices out her discomfort about anything that you might consider as paranoia, don’t ridicule her. Give her assurance with clear communication. 
  2. When you talk to her, actually talk to her. You’re good at talking about your day and what happened to you, you you you, but you’re not good at asking back. Ask her things. Ask about her day and actually be interested in it by asking more questions. Ask if she’s okay. Ask her if there is anything on her mind that she wants to talk about. Be interested in what she likes. Show your curiosity. It’s not a conversation when you only talk about yourself. Talk to her.
  3. Do not lie in any circumstance. None. Zero. Honesty is the best policy, and openly establish this early on in your relationship. I don’t care if you wanted to protect me from being hurt, I’d have rather get hurt a little from the truth than be even more hurt from figuring out that you lied or tried to hide it from me. The moment she catches that you told a lie, her trust in you will diminish little by little and be replaced with doubt, like the way mine did in you. 
  4. Don’t victimise yourself in arguments. You are so good at this, and in turn it makes the other person feel so guilty and ridiculed at the same time. Probably the worst you ever did was when you lied about something and then tried to hide your lie by victimising yourself and either 1. accuse me of accusing you for lying, and/or 2. make me feel like an absolute fool for thinking that you lied, then when I found out the truth you victimised yourself again by saying you were just trying to protect me, and that I found out the truth only because I invaded your privacy. Don’t be a dick, say sorry first, don’t get defensive. Listen to what she has to say, try to understand where she’s coming from. Don’t give up on an argument because you’re too fed up with it. Let down your inflated ego. You’re not right all the time. Pick your battles.
  5. Give her assurance with the little things. Hold her hand when you’re walking, don’t make her hold yours first. Wrap your arms around her. Kiss her forehead when she doesn’t expect it. Give her long hugs. Tell her how much you love her every chance you get. Wipe away her tears when she cries. Tell her how beautiful she is even when she has the darkest eye bags with a bare face. Tell her how hot and sexy she looks in that new outfit. Take good pictures of her, take good pictures with her. Make her feel like a queen, because she deserves it.
  6. Be encouraging in all aspects of her life. You have a knack of wanting to be the better one at everything. Give her words of support and advice when she needs it. Tell her how much you believe in her when she doesn’t believe in herself. When she achieves something good, whether it’s a really good grade or when she gets a bullseye while playing darts, tell her well done and that you’re proud of her. Words of affirmation go a long way.
  7. Never take her vulnerability for granted. The longer she is with you the deeper she’ll fall in love with you, and that takes a great deal of vulnerability. You took mine for granted and used it to your advantage and as a result at some points I found myself forgetting how much I’m really worth. Never let her feel that way.
  8. Be selfless. Show your initiative and do things for her that you know she’ll appreciate. When she cooks you food, help her mince the garlic. When she’s busy doing her makeup, take out the garbage. Cook her breakfast in bed. Insist that you do the dishes. Buy her flowers every now and then. Help fold the laundry. This is a huge part of never taking her for granted. Thank her for cooking you food. Thank her for anything she goes out of her way to do for you. Tell her directly how much you appreciate her, don’t assume she already knows. She will do so many things out of pure love for you. Never take that for granted.
  9. Don’t let complacency get in the way of a long lasting spark in the relationship. And when you do find your relationship in a rut, address it openly with her and plan things to keep that excitement last. Go on weekly date nights. Go on day trips, or plan a romantic getaway. Plan things with her only, don’t include your friends just to kill two birds with one stone. Keep the spark going, because contrary to your belief, the honeymoon phase can last for as long as both parties make an effort.

I hope she loves you the way I did, and I hope you love her back the way every girl deserves.