I had been broken up with my boyfriend for four days when I found out I was pregnant. What happened afterwards is typical for a girl in my position. I was young, 22, and he was 12 years older. I was stupid. He had been emotionally abusive and often physically aggressive in our relationship, but I stayed with him for far too long. I take responsibility for not making him wear a condom. He accused me of getting pregnant on purpose, of trying to trap him. This wasn’t the case. I was on the pill. Nevertheless, I shouldn’t have depended only on that.
The details of what he did or did not do during the next few weeks are, ultimately, unimportant. Even as I write, I realize that it is true – although I still feel intense anger and hurt at how he treated me during the weeks that I knew I was pregnant. I know one day I’ll let it go, but right now I know myself well enough to know that the hurt is too fresh to forget just yet. Let it suffice to say that I was unsure of what I wanted to do. He knew that abortion was the only thing he would accept. We couldn’t get through a phone call without him being abusive. I finally cut him out of my life, severed all contact and communication with him until after I had made my final decision.
I had made an appointment at the Morgantaler as soon as I found out I was pregnant, but they could not get me in for three weeks. Those weeks were the hardest I had ever gone through. I was starting my new teaching job (I was fresh out of University), and working two other jobs on the side. I had violent morning sickness some days, none on others. I was unsure of whether or not I would go through with the termination. I would walk in the door after school and burst into tears. I had a knot in my stomach all the time. Sometimes I would sit in my classroom at lunch, windows covered and lights off, and just cry.
I made the decision on my own. It’s a decision that I shouldn’t have had to make by myself, something I shouldn’t have had to go through alone, but I did. I think it’s important to note that I didn’t make this decision for his sake. I made the decision to terminate for what I consider to be the right reasons – for the sake of both myself and that of the child. I was 22 and on a temporary teaching contract, I had no long-term health benefits, nothing. I lived with a roommate. My family is religious and not even in the same town as me; I would get no support from them. My friends, although supportive, wouldn’t be able to help me in the ways that I needed help. My ex would be unhealthy for both me and a child. He had been physically and emotionally abused as a kid and felt strongly that he didn’t want this baby, and I didn’t want to risk having a child who would know that he or she was unwanted by one parent. I knew he would take out his resentment on the child, that the cycle that he had tumbled through as a child would be inflicted on this one, and he reminded me time and again that if I had it, he’d never be out of my life – which, considering who and what he is, was a devastating idea for me.
I went in for my procedure on Friday, March 3, 2006. My roommate came with me and was amazingly supportive. The staff was very friendly and professional. The worst parts for me were when I went in for my counselling session. I told the counsellor that I was sure. She talked me through my feelings and my reasons for terminating, and I explained it all matter-of-factly while tears streamed down my face. I couldn’t control it. She asked me a couple of times if I was sure, and I know that I was giving mixed signals, saying yes, and being unable to stop crying. The ultrasound was also hard. The nurse asked me if I wanted to see, and I just covered my face and said no, again unable to control my tears. When I sat up I glanced over and the image was still on the screen. It was just a blob, but it just made me cry harder. I took the drugs and the laughing gas. I remember nothing of the procedure. After, I was a little nauseous from the drugs, but once I got home and ate, I was fine. I spent the night on the couch watching movies, with a heating pad on my abdomen, and was fit enough to drive home to spend the weekend with my family the next day.
So many people think that if you have an abortion it means that you are anti-life, that you hate children, that you never want them, that you’re selfish. I’ve always wanted children. I struggled with the possibility of adoption and decided against it; I knew I couldn’t go through with it after carrying the child that long and then letting it go. I knew I wasn’t at a stage in my life where I could give a child everything it needed and wanted. I was afraid of how my ex would treat it. In the weeks that I waited for the procedure, I grew attached to the baby inside me. Even though I was getting the procedure done, I didn’t drink, cut off my caffeine intake, and ate healthier than I ever do. I thought a lot about what a beautiful baby it would be. I thought about how endearing first smiles, first words, first steps would be. I knew that I would love that child more than anything else in the world. But I am realistic, and I knew, and know, that love was not enough.
One day I look forward to having a family, and I truly believe that I will appreciate my children so much more because I had to lose this one. I will appreciate the type of life I’ll be able to give them, and enjoy them for who and what they are, knowing that I had them at the right time and in the right circumstances.
I’m not sorry. Being “not sorry” doesn’t mean that I don’t ever wonder “what if”, but at the end of every day, I am not sorry. I’m a different person now than I was. I feel older. I think differently. But when I think about the options that making this choice has left open for my future career, my future family, for my future LIFE, I’m not sorry. Not even for a minute.