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A Woman's Lived Experience

It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make but if I didn't have that option, it's entirely possible that both baby and I would have died.

By Anonymous

photo: Pinterest

Be a woman in 2022, they said. It'll be fun. We are accepting of all shapes and forms. All are welcome. These ideas are plastered on every billboard you see, and your Facebook friends all share the same #positivemessage. Everything looks safe on the outside, colorful and sparkly in big bold letters for all to see how progressive people are. A deeper look into the lives of women shows a slightly different image. Let's use my story for an example because it is the one I know best.

This story starts in a religious background, my family were Christians and weekly churchgoers. Bible study on Wednesday sometimes. I was taught from an early age to be someone else's property and to be agreeable the whole time. To do otherwise would be disrespectful. Today we were told that we are someone's property. That what happens with our health and bodies is not our sole burden to bear. Well, that is unacceptable to say to anyone, to a child or a nation.

I was very vocal in my youth about how wrong that was, it led to misery and punishment for me alone. My body was not mine. It was at the mercy of those who had more power, and they used it. I was molested when I was younger by my stepfather. He used me like an object then publicly shamed me for the way I dressed and acted. I was looked at like I was a loose immoral young woman. My parents were so vocal about it that even my church and friends' parents looked at me differently.

I remember one older man at my childhood church who seemed to be struggling. I felt bad and would have a conversation with the man every Sunday, he seemed judged by the masses too and I felt empathetic. Isn't that how it goes though? A woman smiles at a man or offers pleasant conversation and that's all it takes sometimes. The wrong man takes that as an invitation to do whatever he pleases, to touch or leer after her. This man at my church started paying the wrong kind of attention to me and I was horrified. I was just doing what everyone should, I was just treating another human being with kindness.

I along with many women now have to wonder if every person they see is going to take advantage. Yes, body positivity and wearing what you want is very important. What's more important is the ability to walk in your town and not feel strangers' eyes on you like groping hands. To confidently walk down that alley because it's windy and you wore a mini skirt. It's not up to us how others react though, so we wear what we want and say what we want because it's our right. There is a lot of progress being made today on that front. Women are doing what they want and slaying it, I hope that continues. I hope that the overturning of Roe v. Wade doesn't set a new precedent on what is acceptable to do to a woman.

As I got older, I continued to fight against the mistreatment I was witnessing in my life. Stand up for myself and end up more mistreated than before. Eventually 18 came and I started working, I became an EMT to help people. The bunk room at the squad house quickly became my bed every night and when I wasn't working, I was volunteering. I never had to go home if I just worked all the time.

The workforce being a more objective and impersonal place allowed me to earn my respect with hard work. There were still those that only saw one thing in me and that was sex. Not my ability to save lives but my breasts in the uniform. What can you do? You have a job to do, and nobody did anything against the rules. So just another day I guess, people walk all over you because you smile and are nice. They tell lies about you and insult you. They didn't do that with their male co-worker. No, they get along because they share pictures of nude girls over messenger. I loved my job despite all of that. I would've done that job my whole life, dealt with the garbage until I ran things. That didn't happen though because my uterus betrayed me. I was diagnosed with endometriosis and the daily pain and anxiety made it too hard for me to perform my duties. So, I moved in with my boyfriend soon to be husband and left my dream job, because of my body.

Endometriosis is a hard disease, very little is known about it and it's incredibly painful. To simplify the disease, uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus causing adhesions. These adhesions become inflamed and very painful, they can grow anywhere and can even fuse your organs together. The women who suffer often have a difficult time becoming pregnant and successfully carrying to term. As a result of that fact physicians will often urge their patients to try and get pregnant as early on as possible.

So, my husband and I tried for months. Eventually we conceived and I immediately fell very ill. Several hospital trips and agony filled days later we decided that an abortion was our only option, after all we can always try again. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make but if I didn't have that option, it's entirely possible that both baby and I would have died. I can't imagine not having that option, all the women that will feel trapped and hopeless. They might die from an unsafe pregnancy or suicide from being forced to carry an attacker's baby. Abortion is not free birth control and shouldn't be used like that. I believe it is a medical practice that has necessary and lifesaving purposes. It is solely the responsibility of the woman and her physician to determine its necessity. The world is not black and white, there are some things that require consideration of the prior circumstances. Abortion is one such thing.

It was suggested when writing this article to tell our story and about what it's like to be a woman in 2022. It is scary, to be perfectly honest. I recently attempted suicide as a result of all the things mentioned before and the depression and anxiety that followed them. I'm getting medicine and therapy yes, but the problem isn't in my head, it's in the world. Every single person young or old that I have spoken too in the last few weeks has been at the end of their rope. We are all depressed and stressed about the world we have made for ourselves. It is only going to change if every single person does their part. That has to start with people ceasing to oppress and harm each other. It's obviously not just women who suffer, it's all people who have to struggle just to survive. Living is hard enough without making it worse on each other.


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