Claudia Aviles

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i had an abortion, and 10 years later i became a mother. you have the right to decide whenever you are ready to take that huge step.

1994 Chile (born in Chile)

at first i felt very relieved, even happy (i was a teenager!). but then i had to have a surgical procedure to remove tissue that remained from the abortion, and that night i spent in Maternity was very sad. i felt guilty when i heard all the babies crying, and i thought i was the worst person on earth, and that i'd never get the chance to be a mother again. i was very sad for some weeks, then i began to process all that i had through. it took me some time, but finally i realized that, even when a baby brings a lot of love and joy to your life, if you're not prepared to face the huge responsibility involved in being a mother, it's better not to bring a baby to a life of suffering or abandon. ten years later, i became a mother for the first time. i had a career as a therapist, a good job, a supportive partner, and enough peace of mind to face that challenge. i was ready. now i'm the proud mother of two beautiful kids that have everything they need, and of course all my love and care.

i had to cross the border and go to Peru, where they had plenty of illegal clinics where you paid to get a surgical abortion, about 500 dollars at that time. unfortunately, the doctor didn't do it properly and i had to attend to the local hospital later, with an infection because of the remaining tissue.

i was only 19 years old, i had no job, no money, no career, no husband or partner... and as if it wasn't enough, i had a major depression that i wasn't treating because i couldn't afford a therapist.

Did the illegality of your abortion affect your feelings?

of course it did, i felt like i was a criminal for defending my right to decide. even now i can't talk about this freely, people in this country is very judgmental about abortion. i remember that i was afraid that the police could know what i did and arrest me... the fear dissappeared only when time made my abortion prescribe as a crime.

How did other people react to your abortion?

this is something i don't talk about very often, because many people react as if i was an immoral person, and others feel just uncomfortable with that issue. my family supported me by paying for the procedure, but they never wanted to talk about it again. my friends have always been very loving and understanding, and they were very important to overcome the sad feelings that sometimes come with that experience.

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