Grief Period

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I'm gonna get straight into it...

After my abortion, I bled ~ non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no breaks, just a constant flow of heavy bleeding from my vagina ~ for 8 months straight. I was told by doctors before I went into theatre ~ I had to have a surgical abortion, I wrote all about it here "Do you ever think about our abortion?" ~ that there would be some bleeding after the operation; that was normal. However, I was not prepared for 8 months of constant bleeding, and it seems like this was surprising to the doctors too as various tests and check-ups were carried out over some time to see if anything had gone wrong during surgery. Nothing was found, there were no other health issues either; everything was "fine". There was no explanation for the constant bleeding that I thought might never end. I was then given some tablets to stop the bleeding ~ which did reduce it but the bleeding continued, and it was only after 8 months that the flow of blood stopped.

I was 19 years old, surrounded by abusive relationships (familial and romantic), heartbroken and really struggling with an undiagnosed mental illness. After those 8 months of bleeding, I was so happy to no longer be bleeding that I did my best to suppress my feelings and just move on from the abortion. After all, I didn't want kids so this abortion didn't mean anything...right?

It wasn't until over a decade later that I opened that abortion box and began to deal with the feelings I felt back when I was 19, feelings that were now intensified as I had forced them to hush for so long. With the help of a ~ bloody (pardon the pun) marvellous ~ therapist, I started to process and deal with that abortion; how I felt about it and everything else surrounding it, such as my abusive then boyfriend who forced me to have that abortion, the history of trauma in my family and in my life, the pressure to be a young woman who conforms quietly into a sick society...y'know, the usual.

I'm in a much better place now at 31 than my 19 year old self was; I no longer suppress my emotions and I have boundaries now ~ which helps keep narcissistic people who emotionally abuse me into having abortions away from me.

I feel good, I'm taking care of myself; I'm healing.

But I never again questioned that 8-months-long-post-abortion bleeding. Not until recently, when someone I've been following on Instagram for a while talked about grief period ~ not just the time of grief, but the bleeding that can take place for some of us during times of grief. The person who mentioned this has recently gone through a really traumatic time and has been on her period since the trauma. Her doctor told her that "it is perfectly normal to experience irregular or "mourning periods"" as she calls them. Since she shared her story, many others have contacted her to share their mourning period story too. This blew my mind, left me in shock, opened a wound that I thought I was done with; a wound I believed had healed. Did I bleed for 8 months straight after that abortion because I was mourning? Whether I was mourning or not, I don't know how else to explain that constant bleeding other than the abortion was quite traumatic for me.

Since this realisation, I've started to remember how attached I felt to whomever was in my belly. It's opened a gate for me. I remember the morning sickness (or more like all day long sickness ~ why is it even called morning sickness?), the cravings ~ I couldn't go a day without oranges & orange juice ~ the emotions, and I did feel attached; I felt this strange & mysterious love for my child. It was painful to have that abortion, it was painful to go through all of it; the pregnancy test, hearing the "it's positive" result, being manipulated by a narcissist boyfriend who claimed to want the best for us but who couldn't even attend the post abortion appointment with me because he had "football with the boys". It was all just too fucking much.

But as I'd never wanted kids I thought "I shouldn't feel these things; I shouldn't feel attached, this abortion shouldn't be a difficult thing to go through!"

Thing is, even if we don't want kids, it is difficult. And it is okay to struggle; it is okay to not feel okay. Abortions are an extremely difficult experience to go through, for anyone; whether it is necessary to terminate the pregnancy for health reasons or for personal reasons, it is fucking hard.

When we're pregnant, our bodies adjust to become grow a baby and give birth, and we go through changes and things we just cannot be fully prepared for. I didn't want kids then, and I don't want kids now, but that does not mean that it isn't hard to go through an abortion. I believe that I would have always followed through with that abortion, it was the right thing to do for me, but I needed time to make that decision for myself; it shouldn't have been my abusive boyfriend's decision. It shouldn't be anyone's decision but the person who is having to go through this process. Terminating a pregnancy is a very difficult decision to come to, and to process and cope with. We need to let people decide what to do with their bodies, and we need to support them no matter what their decision is. The stigma surrounding abortions and periods needs to fucking end, and I hope to see positive changes when it comes to pregnancies, breast feeding, pregnancies, periods...and I plan to be part of that positive change.

To my 19 year old self, I'm sorry I wasn't there for you. But I am here now.

(I chose this photo of my 19 year old self as I was still going through my post abortion grief bleeding here, and I spent a good chunk of this party hiding in the bathroom in tears. Can't tell though, can you?)

Darling girl, I'm taking care of us now. You're healing, living ~ really living ~ and you have so much love within you and in your life now, and that narcissistic boyfriend is fucking long gone. Things get better, so much better!

I love you xxx 

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