Bachelor Nation was heartbroken when fan favorite Abigail Heringer was sent home. During "The Women Tell All" episode Monday, she opened up about representing the hearing loss community and the response she's received since appearing on "The Bachelor."
"I was really scared when I decided to come on just because I think people view the hearing community and then the Deaf community -- with a capital 'D' -- as black and white. And I'm kind of that gray space in the middle that hasn't had a lot of light shown on," Heringer said.
Heringer explained that while she was born profoundly deaf and can't hear without the aid of her cochlear implant, she is not considered a part of the Deaf community because she communicates vocally rather than with sign language.
"I had no idea how people were going to receive me," the reality star said. "The response has been incredible. I've had so many people reach out and say, 'Thank you for sharing your story, I have a very similar one.'"
Heringer said she's been "blown away" by the response from fans.
"I've just gotten so many messages like this of people saying, 'Thank you so much for showing this in a romantic light because disability isn't always romanticized,'" Heringer added.
The 25-year-old "Bachelor" contestant felt an instant connection with Matt James, landing the first impression rose on night 1. During the special, Heringer dubbed this moment "the closest [she's] ever come" to love at first sight.
Heringer told Chris Harrison that she was on her way to falling in love with James when he ultimately sent her home, before they got a one-on-one date. But, she didn't go home empty handed -- Heringer is grateful for the experience and the new friendships she's formed with the women.
"I'm just a much better version of myself that I'm really excited to be able to share with whoever wants to share that with me," Heringer said.
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"The Bachelor" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT | 7 p.m. CT on ABC.