Abortion: What It Feels Like For A Man

February 2nd, 2011JozenLeave a commentGo to comments
I suppose I should start by saying everything about this story is true. Jermaine knew about it, because he was the first person I called when it happened. My mom never knew until I told her two nights ago, years after the fact. I couldn’t write this before I shared it with her, but it wasn’t as though I was asking her permission or seeking her approval. What’s done was done. I just wanted to share it with her before I shared it here, out of respect for our relationship.

The other thing I should say is, no matter what your views are on abortion — whether your pro choice or pro life — I share this not to advocate for either side of the issue. Today’s post isn’t motivated by an article I read or some story in the news or something I watched on TV. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know why I’m writing about this other than to write about my life without shame like I always do.

And most importantly, this post is not to pit a man’s experience against a woman’s experience, to say one is more deep than the other. Frankly, I don’t think there’s much of a contest between the two. I have no idea what it’s like to be the woman in this situation, not mentally, not physically. All I know is what it feels like for me, a man.

One can say, how it all ended is how it all started.

She was a crush I had in middle school who moved away before high school began. We promised to stay in touch, but I never heard from her until my sophomore year of college. She found me on AOL, back when people had profiles with pictures and the best you can do is a name search. Luckily for me, my name is pretty uncommon, so when people searched for me, their gamble usually proved to be correct. Such was the case when she searched my name.

I was out in my dormitory hallway at 1 a.m., talking with friends when I heard the Instant Message alert go off in my room. I excused myself from the conversation to see who hit me up, and it simply said “Jozen? From King?”. That was me, I confirmed and then she revealed who she was. I went back into the hallway to tell my friends goodnight, closed the door, and proceeded to talk to this girl online for two hours, and then talked to her on the phone for two hours more.We took all the time we needed to catch up on everything.

My bio was simple, I graduated from high school and went to college in D.C. Hers was a little more complicated. She was married at 18, and already getting a divorce. Her and her estranged husband had a child together, and she was raising it mostly on her own. Also, she added, child birth almost killed her and so the doctors told her she couldn’t have another child, which was partly why her husband left, she said. He wanted more children. She lived in the Bay but still made frequent visits to my hometown area because her grandmother still lived there.

Sure enough, I was planning on being back home within the next couple of weeks, so we made plans to see each other when I was there. In between that first conversation and my trip home, we talked everyday, just like we did for a time in middle school. And no sooner did I arrive back home were we making plans to be together, if only for one night.

The plan was for me to pick her up from her grandmother’s, to do a whole date and then spend the night together. Both of us knew, our time together would be brief, so we wanted to extend it as long as possible and with my mom and sister being home, and her grandmother already knowing her granddaughter wouldn’t be home until the morning, a hotel was our only option. So that’s what we did. Dinner, drive along the coast, a night at a hotel together.

The morning after we went to get some breakfast together, and then I took her home. Everything went better than we thought. There was no awkwardness between us, and we weren’t shy around one another at all. All the chemistry that we had over the phone and over the computer carried over seamlessly in person, and when I dropped her off, we made plans to get together one more time before I left.

But unfortunately, it never happened. She had to go back to Oakland. Her son was ill and she had to take him his pediatrician. I told her it was fine, and sometime during the summer she should come to Detroit and visit me. I was headed there once I left home to do an internship for three months. Sounded good to her, and we left it there.

When I arrived in Detroit, I got swept up in my internship. There were a few calls she made to me and a few calls I made to her, but none of them lasted long and none of them had the same spark our old conversations had when we first reunited.

Then one day — I recall it was a warm afternoon — I was in the kitchen of the house where I was staying pouring myself some Coke. From upstairs I could hear my Instant Message alert go off, so I went upstairs to check who it was.

We hadn’t spoken in a long time online. Most of it was on the phone. But this time, wasn’t like the last time she reached out to me online.

Jozen?

long pause because I wasn’t around my computer at the time…

Okay, I don’t know where you’re at right now, but I was just trying to let you know that I’m pregnant and the child is yours. But don’t worry, because of what the doctors told me when I had my son, I have to get an abortion and I’m getting one this week. My grandmother is taking me. There’s nothing you can do or say to make me change my mind about this and there’s nothing you need to do to help. Everything is fine, I just wanted to let you know.

***** has signed off

I dropped my glass of Coke and let it spill all over, paying no mind to its flow running underneath my feet and foolishly, I tried to type a response to her, hoping she didn’t really sign off, that she just went invisible online. No such luck. So I read the message again, and again, and again, and again.

There were two things I had to get over: The first being the words, “I’m pregnant and the child is yours.” Television likes to sensationalize this kind of moment. We either see a man who is overjoyed and immediately runs out to his garage to size up his car in an attempt to figure out how a new body is going to fit, or we see them on a stage of an afternoon talk show trying to deny, deny, deny and insisting on a DNA test.

I had neither reaction. My knees went weak on me and I had to sit down in the desk chair, my fingers frozen over my computer in home-row. She was pregnant and the child is mine. She was pregant and the child is mine. What? How? I mean, I knew how, but when? I mean, I knew when, but what? What? What? What? I didn’t want to believe her, but honestly, I didn’t want to not believe her either. I just wanted to do something, to help in anyway I possibly could. So I called her immediately. She didn’t pick up. I called her again. She didn’t pick up again.

I called her and called her and called her and called her and called her. I never called someone so many times in my life. She still holds the record.

During all the phone calling I did, I had to get over the second part of her message: Don’t worry, because of what the doctors told her, she was going to get an abortion. The words “don’t worry” are what stuck out most in my head. It was as though she was doing me some sort of favor by getting an abortion. She might as well have told me, “I got your back baby, you can still go to college and get your degree. I’m just going to be out here getting rid of this child we conceived together.”

I learned then, some men have no say whatsoever in a woman’s decision to keep or abort a child. We’re not even given options from which to choose, I certainly wasn’t given any. All I was left with was an Instant Message. I mean, certainly I wasn’t in a good position to bring a child into the world at the time, but I remember thinking of all the ways we could have made it work.

I would have transferred from Howard to be closer to her. She could have moved to D.C. to be closer to me. If she stayed home she had her grandmother, I had my mother. All of these ideas I had were life-altering decisions that I knew would have affected a lot more people than just me and her, and who knows what the verdict would have been, but she didn’t even give me a chance to put forth any of these ideas, crazy as they were. She just sent me an Instant Message and didn’t even bother to pick up the phone after she signed off. I felt powerless, lost, and scared. At the very least, I thought, she could send me her mailing address so I could send some money to help her on the operation. I paid for the hotel in which the child was conceived, I could certainly pay for this. But again, she wasn’t picking up her phone. I was trying to be a good man, and she was treating me like I wasn’t a man at all, as though I was still a boy who wasn’t ready to deal with the consequences of my actions.

No sleep was had that night, I couldn’t even cry enough to get there. I just stayed up calling her until 1 a.m. in the morning her time. At some point she blocked my number so my calls weren’t even going through, but I kept on trying anyway. As for the rest of the world, they were shut out. I just stared at my ceiling and thought of everything from my past, my present, and how both were going to affect my future. I thought of what it would be like to have a child with this woman. I thought of what I would say to change her mind, and what I would say if she couldn’t change her mind. I thought of what it would be like to go through the rest of my life without a child all because of the fact that I was going to abort one now. I thought about whether or not I was as pro choice as I said I was and I thought about how no man should really ever take a stance on something that is as deeply connected to a woman as this.

The next morning, I went straight to my internship and called her again, this time from my desk phone. Not knowing it was me, she picked up the phone.

“Don’t hang up,” I said.

“Jozen, stop. There’s nothing you can do.”

“Don’t tell me that,” I hissed, because I couldn’t yell in the office. “Don’t tell me there’s nothing I can do or we can do. I can do something. I’m not trying to change your mind, I just want to talk, don’t I deserve that? I mean, I can at least help with this operation if you’re going to go through with it.”

“I told you what the doctors said a long time ago,” she said. “And I even asked them if there was anyway the child can be kept, but they said the risks are too high. You don’t have to do anything.”

“I want to do something,” I pleaded. “Just give me your address, tell me where I can send some money.”

“My grandmother is helping me out, you keep your money,” she said. “Now I have to go so…”

“Don’t hang up,” I yelled.

“What, Jozen? What?” She said.

I was stuck. I didn’t know what else to say. I just choked up, and felt my hands trembling.

“I have to go,” she said. “I’ll talk to you later.”

She hung up and I did the same. Later that week, I tried to call her again, but she still had my number blocked, and she blocked my number at work as well.

Throughout that summer, I looked for her online as well, but she seemingly made herself invisible to me. When she hung up, that was the last time I spoke to her and I haven’t spoken to her since. But I will admit, with Facebook and Twitter, and my fairly Googable name, I still wonder sometimes if I’m ever going to hear from her. I don’t know what I would say or what we would talk about, but if I had to guess, I would ask her what happened in the days and months after. What did she learn and what it felt like for her. Then, I would probably tell her what it felt like for me, a man. How I never quite got over it and how it’s nothing like we see on TV and how every time I look at my niece, I think about what I did, what was done, and how I didn’t know what I could have done differently.

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The Process: Day 3 of the new workout…keep pushing.

Poppin’ Questions Podcast: Episode 21 is up now. Episode 22 is now in the works, so please hit me on my Formspring or email me at [email protected] for a question to be considered.

Categories:Stories, guysTags:
http://twitter.com/MultipleHeart JC
Thank you for sharing this extremely personal experience. The line of “What did she learn and what it felt like for her” bore a hole through my heart. From my own experience I learned that I made the right choice in not telling the father because to go through what she and you went through I didn’t want, couldn’t take. I didn’t want to hear pleading and questions, other options. Making that decision was one of the hardest ones I had to make. But at the time I knew in the long run it would prove to be the correct one. At the time I couldn’t be clouded with memories of what my emotions felt like while this child was made.
As to what it felt like…it felt like what it was…a part of me and a part of someone I loved that was ripped out of me, to never be replaced. I do pause and think “what if” but I never linger there too long.

Anonymous
as I always real, uncensored talk. thanks for sharing. a lot of people can gain from this.

http://twitter.com/TrendySocialite Adeea Rogers
This post was so compelling and thought provoking. I have never really thought that men could have an emotional reaction to a situation like this…especially at the stage of life it happened to you. But I suppose instincts and emotion kick in for you just as it does for us. Thank you for sharing a very personal story with your readers.

http://twitter.com/bashowell Bethany Showell
Thanks for sharing this. No one ever really thinks about the other side. I had to read this a couple of times through. Just…wow.

http://suburbangirlandthecity.blogspot.com Maiah
extremely well written. thanks for sharing this personal moment.

Theryl
Jozen this is probably the best post, by far. Not because of the subject matter, but I can feel the emotion coming thru. To comment on what she might have been going thru outside of the obvious, is a power struggle. A struggle to control her emotions, her reactions, and most importantly her heart. After going thru a failed marriage, complicated child birth, and then not being able to have more kids can make u feel powerless. So by blocking you out of her life, she could attempt to block all the other stuff out too.

Anonymous
*standing ovation* I’ve stood in that young lady’s shoes..and that’s all I care to say about that.

http://www.facebook.com/people/Brittany-House/737925716 Brittany House
Thank you for sharing the male perspective. This post is full of emotion and honesty. I understand you much more and that is a gift to allow so many strangers t know you and understand you so much more.

RockheadDawn
Yes! This is the writing I’ve missed. Great post : )

http://twitter.com/paigeworthy Paige Worthy
I was ready to put up my dukes, tell you what an idiot you were even to TRY comparing your experience to a woman’s…

But there you are, saying something rational and powerful. I’m sorry it happened like that, Jozen. This is a wonderful piece.

http://twitter.com/Kat_LynD Katina-Lyn Denosi
Thank you for sincerely sharing yourself. I’m speechless as to anything else. All I can say is thanks.

Inquiring mind
But I will admit, with Facebook and Twitter, and my fairly Googable name, I still wonder sometimes if I’m ever going to hear from her.

How come you can’t just reach out to her? Even send her a link to this post… I would love to read a follow-up… Looks like you may still need the closure (assuming that’s attainable). I’m curious to know why she was so determined to not speak to you about it, I mean, considering it was life or death (her’s that is) it seems she had no other choice, we’re talking suicide… you wouldn’t have been able to talk her into that… so why the strong-arm?

Keep us posted if you do her from her ok.

Titi
Thank You for sharing your point of view. In most instances, the male perspective and feelings of helplessness are never considered, heard, or acknowledged… Do you ever wonder if she was telling the truth, or whether or not she actually had this abortion?

Ms.Riss
Thank you for sharing. I give you a ton of credit for sharing something so personal, that you hadn’t even shared with your mother. I know it probably took a lot of courage.

Mamajc7
I LOVED this post. Often times we hear it from a woman’s perspective and I enjoyed reading it from a man’s experience. It was real, raw, and a very thought provoking read. Thanks for sharing your experience.

SimplyBeautiful
Jozen…I’m not even sure where to start.
I guess with this…she is/was WRONG. Yes, she made a choice. BUT she shouldn’t have blocked you like that. I mean she just discredited you as a man for whatever reason. Maybe her ex-husband did a number to her emotionally, but still. 1- you don’t IM someone that information. She had your number and should have used it. 2- you don’t block someone from calling you after you took the cowards way out of informing them of what was going on; half of him is connected to the child…
If she was woman enough to lay up with you, she should have been woman enough to call you to have the conversation with you or at least mature enough to answer your call to discuss your feelings about it. Just because you physically didn’t go through the process emotionally you still hurt. That was your child too, not just hers…
My heart really goes out to you for the coldness of how she handled it.

SimplyBeautiful
JC I try not to think about the choice to abort my child because my heart just breaks at the thought of what I did…I’ve asked God to forgive me a long time ago and every day I get closer to forgiving myself.

rw
not my fave post, the most personal and honest one, thank you for it
hope more people can talk about it

http://www.stonesreport.tumblr.com Delan Stone
Thanks for sharing your story. The woman’s story has been shared many a times with something as difficult as abortion but rarely do you hear about a man opening up. I appreciate the high amount of courage that I am sure it took to share something like this. Great blog.

http://twitter.com/MultipleHeart JC
{{{hugs}}} I can’t say I have completely forgiven myself…I think if I did I wouldn’t look back as many times as I do.

D Nunn
one word…Dynamic

ThoneyGSweet
amazing. what struck me most is how she never tried to give you the chance to “man up”….. so often we’re forced to believe that men want to run, or even trap women into children[my ex really knocked me up on purpose because i have good hair/would make an athelete] this was a GREAT READ! i’m new to your blog, and am thoroughly enjoying catching up on everything….[gotta love snowdays]

Purplehearted
I think you covered a lot of the emotiins that a guy experiences when they get the news and the decisions you may have to make afterwards. As usual when I thought I was the only one who felt a certain way, I read your blog and find Im not. What did your Mom say? I am always curious about what parents and other older folks have to say.

wahoo4uva
I can’t help but wonder…how do you know she actually had the abortion? She said a pregnancy jeopardized her health, but…you just never know. We’d probably be surprised at the huge secrets people keep for whatever reasons they feel they need to keep them. You could have a child living in this world and not even know him/her.

Ericka
Wow…what a wonderful, emotional, candid piece. Thanks for sharing something personal to your readers and I pray you get the closure that you need on this issue

Miss White
This was a great post Jozen. Very heartfelt and honest. I felt horrible and I don’t even know you. I know this is not just a story, it’s your life. But those are always the best stories aren’t they? I won’t lie though…after I read it I wondered, what if she never went through with it? I’m sure you may have pondered this before but if not, sorry for bringing it up now. I just think this is a great cautionary tale for women who aren’t more careful with the way they handle situations, namely such sensitive ones.

ThoneyGSweet
that’s deep. a friend of mines said the same thing. “what if she saw his potential and is waiting on springing this baby on his post career take-off. could you put it past her? she’s kinda mean/clucky… i mean atheletes aren’t the only ones that get intentionally trapped!”

funny how more than one person saw this not so obvious angle….. sips wine… well @ least Jozen is cute/smart. the kid should fare well in society?

Bee Mack
Fabulous post, thank you.

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=780690191 Shai Ramzan
Thanks for sharing <3

me
all i can say is damn…

n/a
Thanks for sharing your story, no one ever thinks of the guy’s point of view on this issue.

SimplyBeautiful
JC *vrirtual hug right back at you*

http://www.facebook.com/amanda.trinity Amanda R. Trinity
That was just…sheesh, I have no words…but you gotta know God sees you..man, be blessed babe!

Ghknnf
Man! I’m sorry u had to go thru that!!Just left hanging…i’m sure it was tough!! As fasinated & inspired as you were of ur niece I could def tell there was a back story!!great post

Kae-Toya
wow you have officially bared your soul to us.

Thatgyrl3
if only all dudes felt the way you do/did

http://twitter.com/kindasweetish Aisha
*heavy sigh* First, thank you for sharing. As a woman who has been there, I think she did not want to hear you try to change her mind or offer to be a part of the experience. You all were not in a relationship and the less she made it feel like a relationship the easier it was for her to do something that I know was not an easy decision. It may not be fair to you, but trust when a woman is pregnant, her main priority is the baby…not you. You were definitely being a good man in this situation, but all the goodness in the world cannot cover the range of emotions she went through. As much as it hurts, she just did not want to share the experience with you. I will say, my boyfriend at the time, did have a say in the experience and he was there for the whole and the aftermath…but had he been a one night stand, I would’ve done what she did. It makes you think twice when you’re a little bit late…..

Thatgyrl3
this is my personal opinion but unless a man doesn’t know where babies come from, you can’t “trap” anyone

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=30401700 Tahani Tompkins
really? how do you explain the hole pokin groupies that force babies on bawlaz?

Eish19
Very powerful, thank you for sharing…

rpw
“Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more. Thus says the Lord: Cease your cries of mourning. Wipe the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward. There is hope for your future.” —Jeremiah 31:15-17

Inquiring Mind
Dats ninjas should always bring they own rubbers.

I. Mind
Dats *why…ugh

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