in April of 1999, i was 23 years old and pregnant. the guy i was with at the time was not exactly "daddy material!" we had only been together about 10 months and one time we had unprotected sex and i got pregnant. once i found out, i knew right away that i could not go through with it. i was in school and it was finals time right around the corner! also, even though i was 23 i did not feel ready to be a parent, i could barely take care of myself. i was working at a coffee shop part time while i was in school and could not afford to have a child, let alone face the responsibility. so i told my boyfriend, we can't do this, i can't do this. i'm going to terminate this pregnancy and get an abortion.
well, my boyfriend says, wait a minute! let's get married! and i was like what? um, i don't know...
and he says, i want to do the right thing. and i say i appreciate you wanting to do the right thing but i don't think this is right for us. i knew deep down in my heart that i did NOT want to end up with him. besides, i told him, you have never even told me that you love me. i don't want you to marry me just because i'm knocked up.
he then says, oh well, uhhh, i love you!
and i say thanks but that's not what i wanted to hear.
he was pretty adamant about us getting married and me having the child but i was totally against it. when the 6 week mark rolled around, i called Planned Parenthood and made an appointment to have the abortion. i was so scared to do it. i didn't want to do it, but considering the alternative, i was not ready for a baby. i started to freak out and i thought that maybe i could do an herbal abortion at home. i went to the herbalist and bought the goldenseal and pennyroyal teas, but i couldn't go through with it. what if it didn't work and it became too late to have an abortion and i had a baby with brain damage? i lost my nerve and just went through the medical abortion.
my boyfriend drove me to the appointment at 7:30 am. he told me the whole time that he would back me up 100% whatever i decided to do. he also tried to convince me to forget the abortion but i stuck with it. we show up to the clinic and i fill out the paperwork. then they take me back into a room and onto a table with stirrups. i lay down and i'm nervously staring up at the flourescent lights above me. the nurse and doctor come in and they place an IV into the top of my hand and tell me that they are administering the anesthesia. they tell me to count backwards from 20. i get to 16 and the next thing i know, i feel very drowsy and can't keep my eyes open. i close my eyes and fall into a deep, silent calm.
the next thing i know, a nurse is waking me up in the recovery room. "is it over?" i asked her. yes, it's over, she tells me. it all went by so quickly. the nurse tells me to put a sanitary pad on my underwear and when i was able to sit up, she will call my boyfriend over to come and get me and take me home. we're finally in the car, leaving the clinic and with pain medications in a paper bag. i'm feeling very woozy and slurry. i feel like i'm stoned and drunk at the same time. i also feel very sleepy and tired and take a nap once we get to his parents' house. when i wake up we go and have lunch somewhere and by 6pm that evening i am feeling ok.
flash forward 3 weeks after the abortion and my boyfriend drops the bomb on me: he doesn't want to be with me anymore. i am crying my eyes out, since i have already been dealing with a lot of the guilt that comes with the social stigma of having an abortion. i say to him, how can you leave me when i need you the most right now, to support me and to be there for me? i call him a jerk and an asshole.
he then says to me, uh, well, ok i guess we can stay together until you're ok.
and i say thanks but don't do me any favors! forget it, take me home, i never want to see you again!
so i grab all my stuff together, cos i know we're breaking up. right then an there. he drives me to my mother's house and i collect all my things and throw a book at his head before i slam the car door. i was so angry at him! he tells me he supports me but then abandons me.
the only person i had told then was my sister, and i made her swear to me that she would never tell my mother. my mom is a born-again christian and i know it would devastate her if she knew. i mean, she already freaked out when she found out i had a tattoo, and it was just one tattoo!
as the years went by, i became less and less guilty about the fact i had an abortion. i began to feel proud of myself for taking my life into my own hands and for trusting myself to make the right decision for ME. yes, i know it was another life at stake here, but i could not give that child a good enough life, let alone be a good parent. ultimately, this decision is about YOU, because a child changes your whole life and you need to be ready for that type of change.
today i am married to a wonderful man and we are 9 weeks pregnant with our first child. i have thought so much about this abortion because it is a contrast to how i reacted when i found out i was pregnant. 10 years ago, when i saw that positive pregnancy test, i got scared and cried. this time, when i found out i was pregnant, i was happy, emotional and excited! this is how it should be! you shouldn't be scared when you find out you're pregnant cos that obviously means you're not ready for it.
i am thankful that we live in america and have the services of abortion clinics to terminate a pregnancy. no one should ever be sorry for making a decision for themselves about something that would impact their life forever. nothing is ever picture perfect. better to have a child when you're ready to be a parent than putting someone through a bad experience.
i hope that for any woman who is reading this who is pregnant and scared and not ready, that they know that there is no shame in having an abortion and it's not selfish. you do what's best and right by you, don't let anything else get in the way of making a decision for yourself.