I found out I was pregnant on a Monday morning from two lines that painted my test positive.
I knew I was pregnant beforehand, but the test was my confirmation. I remember being excited that I wasn’t infertile like my doctor had claimed I was some time prior, but nervous as hell, because what was I going to do?
I stared at my situation as the lose-lose situation it ultimately was. On one end of the spectrum was to have the baby, to be a young mother, and struggle together, to be husband-less, unemployed, have no savings, and no real place to live – but to be happy that I was someone’s mother and have faith that in spite of the odds, I’d be a great one. On the other end of the spectrum, there was ending my pregnancy and forgoing motherhood until a time I was ready in every aspect of the word, or at the very least, the way I imagined it.
For about a week, I went back and forth with my decision, on top of having voices that were not very supportive (i.e. the men in my life, one of which was surprisingly my father). I was put in a position where I felt even smaller than I had before I heard the unharnessed opinions of my patterns of irresponsibility and emotional and financial instability. What I heard loud and clear was the dream life I envisioned for this child and I was more fantasy than reality, and I sank further into myself.
I had so much about me that I needed to work on and I didn’t want to run away from my responsibility, but I knew I didn’t want to do things alone. That same week, countering the negativity, I heard many more positive voices, most of them women who felt like I was confident and strong and determined and looked at me in a light that I saw myself underneath on my best days. That light lit a spark, maybe I could do it. But I looked harder at my reality, bills were piling up, I didn’t care too much for my living situation, I didn’t know if its father was who I wanted to be anyone’s father. Not to mention that I was already beginning to feel changes in my body that I didn’t like: I was exhausted all the time, sleeping 12+ hours a day, I got nauseous at the most subtle smells, lightheaded to the point of dizziness, etc. My tits were fleeky though.
I wanted all of this to happen differently, to happen five years down the road when I’m a little older and a little wiser. I wanted to go places and although a child does not mean your life ends, it does create a lot of change, changes that I wasn’t ready for if I were being honest with myself. I felt kind of bad then, because my thoughts no longer mirrored the inner dialogue of the women around me ready to nurture what my body and womb were preparing for. They stepped into their role as a mother immediately, while I was preparing to step down from mine. I didn’t want to be a baby mama. I didn’t want to be the person whose last name didn’t match her child or its father’s. I didn’t want to struggle. I wanted different things for my child. I wanted them to be and do better than me. I wasn’t ready to sacrifice my lifestyle, my desires, my goals, or my body. Call it selfish all you want, judge me or my actions all you want, but being a mother wasn’t what I wanted. Not yet anyway.
So I decided to have an abortion.
I entered the parking lot of the clinic to see a lonely bystander posted near the entrance with a sign that read “PRAY TO GOD TO END ABORTION” in bold letters. I rolled my eyes. Upon entering the waiting room, I was surprised to see how many women were there: white, hispanic, black. There were couples. There were women who were alone. The room was practically full and it wasn’t even 10 AM. The talk show on the TV was ironically talking about contraceptive effectiveness. Everyone seemed to be on their phones. My nervousness subsided a great deal because I suddenly felt a lot less alone in what I was about to go through. Lord knows my man, who came along with me, couldn’t understand. There was a lot of waiting in the waiting room, despite having made an appointment. It was about an hour and a half of watching our phones and laughing inappropriately before my name was called to come to the back. I thought he’d be able to sit with me throughout the entire process but when my name was called, I had to leave my purse and phone with him in the waiting room.
I found out through the ultrasound they performed on me that I was five weeks and five days. I thought I’d feel a huge connection at seeing that spot appear on the screen as a reflection of what was residing in my womb, a shock like the cold gel on my belly as she used the machine on me – but no. I got up, zipped my pants, and was ready to go to the next room and wait to take the pill.
The process is a series of five pills. You take one in the office with the medical professional and the other four 24 hours later. The first ends the pregnancy and stops the baby from growing. The other four start the “miscarriage” the body goes through, a process that involves the expelling of the sac, clotting, bleeding, and cramps so that your uterus returns to the size it was pre-pregnancy. The bleeding is heavy, the cramping is real, but for me, the process was complete within six hours and all I felt after that was an overwhelming feeling of relief.
There are a lot of women everyday who find out that they are pregnant and the two spectrums do not play out anything like the way my options did. Abortion is not an option that is often talked about and is very frowned upon, but I don’t believe that you should have a baby if you are not ready for one. I thought at 26 I wouldn’t be caught dead in a clinic facing the choice of terminating a pregnancy with a 17-year-old across seated across the room from me, undergoing the same treatment and same emotion toward the possibility of motherhood. I believed the 10 year difference in age would somehow up the ante with my feeling of readiness but life happens. Shit gets in the way and even if you have laid out the plan for the way your story is written, there will be edits. This for me happened to be one of them.
[Tweet "I don’t believe that you should have a baby if you are not ready for one."]
I feel a little tinge of pain in what could have been every now and then in my heart when I hear a baby laugh or see a woman with a burgeoning belly, but I don’t regret my choice because I know that things will happen the way that I need them to happen in the future. My time will come and I’ll have my daughter or son. I really just wanted to put my voice out there on the matter though, even if anonymous, because just like women who decide the hard choice of being a single mother, there is also a hard choice in deciding not to become a mother.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The Fall Equinox begins on September 23, 2023, and it’s time to embrace abundance, gain clarity, and know that you are worthy of your desires. The Fall Equinox marks the beginning of fall and the end of summer and is a turning point of the year, where things settle in and come to fruition. The energy that fall brings is one of harvest, but it is also one of release, letting go, and finding your ground. Coming from a summer of intensity, drama in love, and overall moving through a space of deep spiritual growth- now that fall is here, we are ready to decompress, dream, and enjoy that which we have created for ourselves.
What Is the Energy of the Fall Equinox 2023?
The energy this fall is opening up new doors of abundance and is a time of reaping your rewards in life. Fall begins at the same time as Libra Season, and a lot of these blessings have to do with love and the relationship developments that will be taking place over the next few months. With a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Libra occurring a few weeks after fall begins on October 14th, something enchanting is happening in romance right now. The scales are coming into balance, new beginnings are occurring, and clarity prevails.
Relationships over the next few months are about focusing on the gifts and gratitude you find in them and accepting where things need to change as well.
By the time winter begins, most of the planets that are currently in retrograde will be direct, and this signifies the change of pace that fall is bringing. This fall highlights Eclipse Season overall, and the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on October 28th will be a time of creating boundaries, honoring your values and energy, and closing a chapter in your life that doesn’t align. Financial worlds are growing and finding new ground, but with Jupiter still in retrograde in Taurus until December 30th, patience is needed here.
Over the next few months, give yourself the space to gain some new perspectives, make room for love, and grow in abundance.
Your guidance this fall is to take those first steps toward the goals you have been pondering over this year. There is a Full Moon in your sign a week after fall begins, and you get the opportunity to enter this season with less baggage and more closure. You will possibly be starting a new position or working in a new field, and you need all the good energy to back you right now. Know that you can count on your skills and talents to move you further in life and that help will be there when you least expect it. This is a fall of abundance for you, Aries, claim it.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 29, Oct. 13, Nov. 13, Nov. 21
Patience, patience, patience, Taurus. You are creating something beautiful in the world right now, and the time it’s taken to get you here will all be worthwhile. Your guidance this fall is to nurture your world and your dreams and to bring more love and compassion to your life. You are preparing for a new reality but need some more time to dream it up and define that which you want for yourself and your future. The Full Lunar Eclipse happening this fall is occurring in your sign, and you are moving through some major closures in your life right now. This is a creative time for you, Taurus.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 28, Oct. 29, Nov. 6, Nov. 20
This fall is all about taking care of yourself and valuing your time and energy, Gemini. The way you see yourself and your life are coming up for review right now, and you are being urged to look at yourself in a better light. Your ruling planet, Mercury, goes retrograde for the last time this year on December 13th, just before fall ends, and this time is all about taking what you have learned and choosing better for yourself. You may be tested to be more confident or true to yourself right now and over the next few months, and it’s about owning your part in this life and standing up for what you want.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 21, Nov. 20, Dec. 12
This is an abundant fall for you, Cancer. You have worked diligently on claiming the opportunities and new doors that have been opening for you, and you are feeling free to be your successful self. You are encouraged in your independence right now, and you have proven to yourself just how talented you are and how much you have grown. No major aspects are happening in your sign this fall, giving you the space to breathe, create, and receive your rewards. Happiness fills your world, and even though you still feel like you are just getting started in a sense, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the gifts that are presenting themselves today.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 13, Oct. 15, Nov. 12, Nov. 13
This fall is a turning point for you in love, Leo. New developments are taking place in your relationships, and you are being received especially favorably. This is the time to open your heart to growth and new possibilities and to get creative with what you are looking for right now. The Last Quarter Moon happening in your sign on November 5th will be a turning point for you this fall. Your unique charm and charisma are enough, and you attract many to you through your natural energy and love for life. Your ship is coming in this fall, and your heart is fulfilled.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 1, Oct. 31, Nov. 5, Nov. 14
Virgo, this fall is a blessing for the heart space. You are feeling in tune emotionally, and there is positive energy coming your way and into your love life. You have spent a lot of this year healing, forgiving, and finding your voice, and over the next few months, you will be creating the spaces you have been looking to enter in your life. Venus enters your sign for a month on October 8th, and there are some pleasant surprises in store for you during this time. Fresh starts are coming in for you, and spiritually, you are awakening to the gifts within you and in your heart. Your beauty is showing, and love is coming in for you this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 22, Nov. 5, Nov. 20
This fall is a new beginning for your financial world, Libra. Autumn begins the same day Libra Season does, and you have some extra motivation and energy within you right now. You are ready to put the action behind the intentions you have been setting for yourself financially, and this is a time of plans coming together and falling through to success. The more you stay focused and diligent, the more opportunities that can come for you right now. The first month of fall, the Sun is in your sign, and this is really the time to get things moving in your life, especially with a New Moon Eclipse in Libra on October 14th happening as well.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 27, Oct. 14, Oct. 30, Nov. 20
It’s all about the vision for you right now, Scorpio. You are focused on the future, your path ahead, and manifesting your dreams, and there is something passionate about the next few months for you. You may be taking some risks this fall as you test the boundaries on how far you want to go with something and what worlds are opening up to you now. Mars is in your sign from October 12th until November 24th, and life is exciting for you right now. You have your eyes on the prize and are ready to move forward toward the things that are lighting you up right now.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 12, Oct. 13, Nov. 6, Nov. 13,
This fall is about taking a leap of faith, Sagittarius. Your guidance over the next few months is to do the things that you would do if you knew you would be supported in doing them. Less self-doubt is needed now, as you are walking on new ground. You are moving towards personal healing you have been wary of from the beginning, and you are ready to let go of some energy that has been holding you back. Trust that once you decide on something, the universe instantly begins to make it happen for you. Your season begins on November 22nd, and it’s time to put yourself first more. Have courage in yourself this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 8, Nov. 22, Nov. 24, Dec. 12
This fall is all about clarity for you, Capricorn. You are a wise soul, and you are owning this energy about yourself right now. Over the next few months, you will be developing spiritually, helping those who need your sound advice, and evolving in life. You have found a new sense of enlightenment and are enjoying the clear perspective that has been gained. Mercury goes retrograde in your sign on December 13th, right before fall ends, and this is when you will be feeling more tested to take the lead in your life and use your voice. Overall, fall 2023 is your time to surrender to the good within you and in your life, Capricorn.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 10, Oct. 23, Nov. 4, Dec. 1
Things are moving fast for you this fall, Aquarius. This is a successful, harmonious, and passionate time for you, as many opportunities come your way at once. It will be hard to settle down with all the energy flowing through your life over the next few months, as you have so much to do and so many people to see. Overall, however, this is positive energy that you have been looking forward to in your life, and everything is coming together and moving forward where it was once stagnant. Fall is giving you the closure and the opportunity to reinvent yourself and start on new, solid ground in your life.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 30, Oct. 31, Nov. 20, Nov. 28
Your guidance for fall is to have balance in your life. There is a lot of new coming in for you, but you are also working on letting go of what has fallen. You have grown in many ways this year, and financially, you have seen growth as well but may be feeling the weight of responsibilities this has come with now. To move through this season with the most grace, give yourself more time to rest, to be, and allow things to fall into place on their own. Saturn has been retrograde in your sign since June and goes direct this fall on November 4th, Pisces. This is your opportunity to see things more clearly, protect your energy, and feel more in tune with your internal guidance system.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 22, Nov. 4, Nov. 6, Dec. 12
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