Sep 022010

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It was my second year of college, and my boyfriend and I had been in an on-again off-again relationship for a few years. It’s been a long time since then, so some of the details are still sketchy to me. I had been taking the pill for protection, and I assumed that meant I was safe. I was young, just 18, and when aunt Flo didn’t come to visit, the first thing I did was run out to buy a pregnancy test. The answer was the expected one, “pregnant” in large capital letters staring back at me. I had no qualms and no questions- it was time to find out where I could get an abortion. I’d always been pro-choice, but like a lot of women I assumed it’d never be a choice I’d be forced to make. I went in for the procedure, a bit unsure of what to expect. My boyfriend came along and was supportive, but he would have happily kept the child as a way to keep me in his life forever. This wasn’t something I was interested in; part of the reason I was having the abortion aside from being too young to handle the responsibility was the idea of being stuck with this guy for the rest of my life.

I had the procedure without twilight sedation, it wasn’t offered at the clinic I had attended. I didn’t know the pain that would be involved without it. It was the strongest pain I had ever felt in my life. I was more upset by the pain of the procedure than what I had just done. I shed no tears. A scan confirmed I was nearly 8 weeks pregnant. I came home, relieved, rested on the couch with daytime television and cookies.

Fast forward a few years, and I’m still taking the pill. I was convinced that this was protecting me. I had told myself I wasn’t being thorough enough in taking the pill regularly the first time around. I was in a new, but solid relationship with a man I was beginning to feel I loved very much. However, the relationship was complicated. When my period didn’t come one month, I lost it completely. I purchased a test and took it with my boyfriend, and when the result came back positive I nearly collapsed on the floor in panic, “again?!”.

I had been with one other man close enough to the time of my ovulation, and although the timing seemed unlikely, there was still a small doubt of paternity. My boyfriend at the time and I decided we would have the baby. This last a few days, until the talk of paternity became more serious. I had decided that my boyfriend’s position (if it was not his child he would not raise the child as his own and could not deal with that situation) was enough for me to have an abortion. I believe that a lot of pro-life supporters think that woman always use abortion as a means of “birth control”, in my case, that 2% that is more like 10% chance of failure in using hormonal birth control pills had left me in this situation again, and I didn’t approach it lightly. I had to consider what I was willing to live with- and that did not include being a young and possibly single mother.

This time, I found a clinic with reviews online from other women confirming it had provided a comforting environment for them. The last time had felt a little bit like herding of cows and I wasn’t interested in a medical abortion without sedation. This was more recent, and I can remember more clearly what the experience was like. I had twilight sedation, and this time I felt no pain. In and out, a matter of mere minutes. Afterwards, I was sat in an armchair, drowsy, alongside other woman having been through the same procedure only moments before. We had a calm sense of understanding between us and nothing was spoken in the room. My best friend picked me up, as the boyfriend at the time was having difficulty supporting me in my decision to have an abortion. His Catholic faith was giving him a strong feeling of guilt. When I had gone in for the scan, it confirmed that paternity was no issue (I wasn’t far along). In the end, it was his inability to come along as my support that made the final decision for me. Even though I knew it was his child, I knew having the second abortion was the right decision for me. The relationship ended soon after due to a change of job for him and a move out of state. Thankfully, there was no complication of a baby.

Over three years ago, I travelled abroad and met someone. We hit it off straight away, and after our short relationship we continued long distance. Nearly a year later I fell pregnant, and there was little debate as to what we would do. I had the baby. I was with the man I loved, and I was willing to uproot and move abroad permanently. When you know, you know. She’s nearly two now, and I’m pregnant with my second- who was planned. I couldn’t be more content. I have no guilt or regret about the two abortions in my past. Without them, I would have been stuck in complicated relationships that were not making me happy. Instead, I’m with my soul mate and have started a beautiful family on a solid foundation. How could I regret those past decisions? It would mean I’d have denied myself and my partner our happiness and the happiness we have with our daughter (who also would have never existed). Even imagining this alternative life scares me. Thankfully I lived in a country where it was legal for me to have control over my own body and make the right decision for myself.

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