When I was first starting HWB four years ago, I spent a lot of time thinking about what the future would hold. I made a huge, life-changing decision to leave the career path in which I had invested a college degree and the better part of a decade’s labors to… what? Be happy?
I remember a conversation around that time with a good friend in which I had no other explanation. The language I now have around things like burnout and trauma was still new to me then. I didn’t know how to tell them that, though I’d had the more impressive job title, my anxiety was so intense that I was throwing up every morning on my way to work. Or that, in the year after exiting an abusive relationship, I was still experiencing the shockwaves of trauma and doing the all-consuming work of healing.
What I wanted to do was slow down. I wanted to give myself space to heal and to do things I enjoyed doing. I wanted to commit to myself in a way I never had before.
And entrepreneurship really is a commitment to yourself. I have always loved making things by hand, and since Day 1 of thinking “I could do that…,” I have counted myself as incredibly privileged to be in a position to pursue this dream. But knowing that it’s all on you can be as daunting as it is thrilling.
The first several months were a whirlwind—really, the past four years have been, but especially the early months. I packed up and moved, and somewhere in the midst of moving boxes I researched FDA regulations for apothecaries and established wholesale accounts with herbalists and packaging suppliers. I resettled my cats in our new apartment and established a working soap-making studio. Really, there was a lot going on.
And somehow, before HWB was even 6 months old, I found myself staring down a positive pregnancy test. I was very early into a new relationship, happy enough but not one that was to last, and I knew in the moment that my anxieties were confirmed by those blurry lines that I absolutely did not want to be pregnant.
I honor the experiences of others who wrestled with their decision, but for me, it was always as simple as that.
Within 3 weeks of finding out, I’d had all the necessary appointments and opted for a medication abortion (aka, “Plan C pills”), taking the first dose in-clinic and the second the next day at home. Again, I counted myself as incredibly privileged— to have such ease and access. I spent the better part of 2 days lounging on my couch like an elder-millennial version of Titian’s Venus. I binge-watched junk TV and snuggled my cats and ate the yummy food my mom delivered to my apartment (because she is the literal best). I remembered my grandmother’s story of a failed attempt at an herbal abortifacient. Even now, I am struck by how afraid she must have been.
I also spent a fair amount of time over those 48 hours watching the Kavanaugh SCOTUS confirmation hearings. The dichotomy of literally sitting in my privilege and seeing Kavanaugh, the embodiment of a threat to bodily autonomy, elevated to the Supreme Court was a surreal and jarring experience, to say the least.
The physical effects were not lasting, and I was back to my routine no time. I have not regretted my abortion for a second. Truly, since that first day of thinking “I could do that…” and committing to myself, this life and this business that I have built are all possible thanks to choice, to access to basic healthcare, to bodily autonomy.
I am thankful every day for the countless individuals who helped make abortion legal and accessible, who helped make my life possible. But with Republican-dominated states passing restrictive bans, and SCOTUS poised to overturn Roe, I fear a future—no, a present— in which our rights are stripped away.
At its core, HWB is a feminist business, because it is my business. I know that in sharing my story, I open myself up to the perils of being a femme on the internet— the audacity!— but I believe in living my values, in transparency, and in engaging in radical honesty. And I believe it is through the sharing of our stories that we de-stigmatize the narrative around this vitally necessary healthcare— I feel no more regret about my abortion than I do about having dental work, or antibiotics for a sinus infection. This is part of how we become not just one voice saying “never again,” but a chorus of us crying out.
Did you know that 100% of the profits from Reclaiming Our Ancient Wisdom are donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds?