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April 2020 

Created in 2020

Trigger warning: This essay includes some graphic content. Please take care of yourself and don't view the images or read this essay if you don't feel ready.

When I was facing the traumatic experience of needing to have an at-home-abortion, I was having a lot of trouble processing the experience. I hadn’t photographed anything in almost two years, but for some reason I felt compelled to document what was happening. Going through the experience felt too difficult, and the only solace I could find was in my camera. 


It was April, 2020. The world had just shut down due to the global pandemic, and aside from the company of my 10-year old tabby cat, Jerome, I was living alone in a basement apartment in a place I had just moved back to after being away for 2 years. I was in a state of putting my disorganized life back together. Raising a baby in a rental basement suite, without a partner, with debt and no savings to my name felt risky, and not like what I needed at the time. I felt the decision was made for me, and I wanted anything but to process what was happening. 

How does processing happen when we don’t feel capable of processing something yet? With many life experiences we can use avoidance tactics to hide from our feelings, and put off processing and healing until later. But when you’re having a medical abortion you have no choice but to sit with the emotions, for up to 48 hours, until the pregnancy tissue is expelled. 


When you google “medical abortion” there are little to no written accounts of the experience online. Mostly, you find “how-to” type articles by organizations like Planned Parenthood that suggest “Stock up on maxi pads, food, books, movies, or whatever you like to help pass the time, and a heating pad for cramps.” Lots of time for processing. 


When you take the second medication, misoprosto, the pills have to stay in your mouth unswallowed for 30 minutes. 


30 minutes. Processing. 


Making art out of a difficult experience is one way to find healing. On the one hand, I felt uncomfortable photographing this experience. And I feel even more uncomfortable sharing it. But on the other hand, I have felt compelled to document and share.


It’s taken me three years to share this photo essay. A set of 10 images that facilitated my processing of an experience that will always stay with me. Photographing helped me make sense of the situation. It helped me forgive the blur-like state I felt I was in. My senses clouded by confusion and loneliness, but then comforted by community and relief in the end. 


Abortions are one of the most common medical procedures in Canada. In Canada, 30% of people who are able to become pregnant will choose to have an abortion during their lifetime ( So I ask this question: if they’re so common, why did it feel so wrong to share this photo essay? Normalizing this experience was part of my process. We are not in this alone. We’re here, processing it together.

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