I am so honored to have an essay about the women in my family, including myself in this baller anthology. It’s a dream as an artist and as a human to be included among these other incredible people.
Here’s a snippet of my essay, to read the rest, buy the book here.
In 1915, my great-great grandmother, Iva Urie, had an illegal abortion arranged by her second husband, Archie. Iva was already a loving mother to Floyd, her 11-year-old son from her first marriage.
Floyd was sent out of the house during the abortion. His options were limited: he could chop wood or go into town to watch the brawls that regularly spilled out of Mountain View, Washington’s one tavern. Floyd chose the fights. He watched as two men, one missing an arm from a logging accident, barreled out of the tavern and tangled up in the muddy road. He watched as they beat each other bloody, blood churning into the muddy ground until it disappeared. Floyd, my great-grandfather, had no idea what was going on at home.
I had my first abortion at 17, at the home of my boyfriend’s parents. I chose a medical abortion. I took two small, white pills over the course of two days and cramped out the pregnancy in the living room. I threw up while watching 16 and Pregnant on MTV while my boyfriend’s mom rubbed my back. I snacked on apples and peanut butter. I cried, missing my own mother. I made 30 trips to the bathroom that night, watching as clumps of clotted blood swirled in the toilet. I was too young, too unstable, too focused; too much and simultaneously not enough to become a mother.
Iva’s abortion went badly. She bled onto the sheets of newspaper covering her thin mattress, which sat directly on the springs of her iron bed frame inside the cheap cedar walls of a home that was never built to last—just one tiny room for the three of them. I think about the pale floral curtains she hung around the tiny, wavy glass windows, the kind of windows that make the rest of the world look distorted.