Last night my husband and I watched Obvious Child. It’s an atypical romantic comedy about a woman (Jenny Slate, who is wonderful) dealing with the emotional turmoil of a break up when gets pregnant after a drunken one-night-stand, and decides to get an abortion.

My husband warned me that it was about an abortion. I told him that was okay. Abortions aren’t triggering for me, I have watched movies and read books with abortion as a main part of the plot and been unaffected. I honestly wasn’t worried about it one bit.

I don’t know what it was about this particular movie, but the abortion was definitely triggering for me. It wasn’t the way they handled it–I thought they did a really commendable job managing such a sensitive topic–it must have been me. It probably was the two cocktails I drank while we watched it. Whatever it was, I kind of lost my shit emotionally. It triggered the most upsetting re-living of my ectopic pregnancy I’ve endured in a few years.

In the six years since it happened, my ectopic pregnancy has been distilled to a few heavily filtered memories. They come to me, clearly warped around the edges by time and grief, in a series of gut wrenching flashes: Handing my husband the father’s day card when I returned from New York, bursting with the news that he himself was going to be a dad. The first bright red clot I passed in my old bathroom at my parents’ house, crying on my mother’s shoulder as she whispered some inane pretense about how these things happen and I’d be okay. Lying alone, in the sonogram room of the ED as they searched for a sac but found nothing in my uterus and something, they weren’t sure what, in/near one of my tubs. Clutching my husband’s hand and chocking on the sobs as they suctioned the contents of my uterus in an attempt to see if there was any linger “pregnancy tissue” that would assure us I didn’t have an ectopic (basically giving me an abortion). Bending over so they could give me two shots of methotrexate, one in each butt cheek. Calling our parents to tell them that it was over. Finally being released into the cold night air, unsure of how we’d get home.

I’m so far away from all that now, I honestly almost never think about it. The last time it all came back to me was when a friend asked me what it was like, physically, because she was getting an abortion herself and wanted to be prepared for the pain. I was trying to get pregnant with my second child at the time. My friend and I didn’t speak for a while after that.

Time really has healed this wound. Most days it is a smooth scar that I doesn’t draw my attention. It is a numb patch that might as well not even be there. But sometimes the pain flares, hot flames licking at me from the inside, and I cry out in surprise and agony.

Last night was one of those nights, and I wasn’t at all prepared.

I guess abortion is triggering for me, after all.


  1. This is part of you and your life. It will always be a part. Hopefully, over time, the best times of your world and life will be the huge-est percentage and that helps regulate emotionally. You are not alone. Huge Hugs.

    1. I feel like I’m already there, where the best times are the huge-est percentage, but every once in a while that small percentage balloons for reasons I can’t quite comprehend.

  2. It’s amazing how the human brain work and triggers emotions & memories. Anything dealing with pregnancy takes me to that place, my struggle with conceiving & infertility. Time may have healed the wounds but it won’t erase your pain or memories. Hugs.

    1. I feel very fortunate that not all pregnancy stuff is triggering for me anymore. In some places, where I felt a lot of pain and anguish about not being able to get pregnant, it’s still hard for me to see pregnant bellies, but most of the time I’m okay with it. It is funny how the human brain works, especially when you’re talking about emotions and memories.

  3. There’s this movie, Life as We Know It. Not even about pregnancy loss, RomCom, super cute couple drama funny stuff right? So the premise is a couple both has best friends who hate each other. Couple has a baby, goes on a date night when baby is like a year old, gets in a car wreck and dies. Will states best friends co-raise baby. So funny right? It was like a reverse trigger for me, instead of a couple losing a baby, it was a baby losing it’s parents and I LOST. MY. SHIT. For the entire movie. Like could not get ahold of myself, just sobbed. I don’t remember if we bought the movie or borrowed it, but my husband rid our house of it, never to be seen again.

    It sneaks up on you.

    1. What a fucked up premise for a movie! Holy shit! I’d lose it too. Seriously, that was a RomCom?!

  4. Did they have to keep you awake? Yeesh. When I had my d&cs (for missed m/cs-not the same, I know) I was under. It seems like it would’ve been less traumatic if you weren’t awake.

    1. I was awake, maybe because it was happening in the ED and wasn’t a scheduled procedure? I’m not sure why, but I was awake, and it was awful.

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