Claudia’s Story

I have 10 month old twins, am happily married, educated and have a good job. And I had an abortion 6 weeks ago. I am someone I thought would never have to make that decision. I’m not still in school or single or promiscuous; not a “troubled” person; not any of the things I always assumed were qualities of women who have abortions. I now understand that it can really happen to anyone. It is humbling and it’s a hard choice.

I always thought when I got married that if we got pregnant, we’d just go with it. That worked OK when I got pregnant last year. Then we learned it was twins. Holy crap. We weren’t prepared for that. I stopped nursing in April, got two periods, then didn’t get it again. I figured it was my hormones still adjusting. (Same thing I thought when I got pregnant the first time, after coming off the pill that same month.) I still hadn’t gotten the IUD inserted, completely due to laziness. I thought the timing was right, so we skipped the condom one time. Well, I should have learned the first time that I get pregnant easily.

I took a home pregnancy test to convince myself I wasn’t pregnant; that I was just overreacting. When I looked and it said “Pregnant” after about 20 seconds, my heart sank. I told my husband, who said “We can’t keep it.” I was shaking and sick to my stomach. I agreed with him. Mostly. I didn’t want to tell anyone. I was embarrassed. Here I am, a married woman with two babies, who just got accidentally pregnant and now can’t handle it. I thought I was going to pass out right there in the bathroom. I curled up with him and cried for a good hour.

I called my OB the next day to talk about my options. He recommended a clinic whose doctors all work for a major local hospital up the street, so I felt completely comfortable with them. I didn’t want to go to Planned Parenthood — it just seemed too high-school-ish. I called the clinic and made an appointment — for 5 days later.

That was the worst five days I can ever remember. I was a mess. My coworkers could all see that something was bothering me. I decided to tell them that I was having a minor surgery and I was nervous about the anesthesia (which was true). I finally ended up telling my parents and my in-laws, who all supported us 100%. I also told my best friend at work. It felt good to have some people who knew what I was going through. Work was the worst… and seeing other family members who didn’t have a clue. Trying to be happy and pretend everything was normal, when I was terrified and screwed up inside. Two other things at work made me feel terrible about the decision I was making. One coworker also has twins, through in vitro. She tried for years and spent thousands of dollars before finally getting pregnant. And another coworker recently lost a baby in utero, about two weeks before she was due. We had been giving them all our old baby stuff. Whenever I talked to them, I felt so guilty about what I was about to do. I know I can never tell them about it.

I scoured the internet looking for advice, help, reassurance. I found this website and it totally helped me feel at peace with our decision. I realized I didn’t need to feel guilty about it; it’s just our society that’s ingrained that notion in our heads. And there other women in similar situations who made the same decision without guilt.

But I still kept wondering if there was a way to make it work. We could do it. I could quit my job, we’d clip coupons and eat ramen noodles. But how would we pay our mortgage? And we’d need a new car that could fit three car seats. How would we pay for that? I wasn’t about to ask for aid because of a third and unplanned child. And I can hardly handle the twins by myself. What the hell was I thinking, thinking I could take care of three infants at the same time alone? I’m not that kind of mom. I’d crack.

So no, my husband was right, we couldn’t keep it. I knew it. In my heart I knew it and I agreed. It was just absolutely terrible timing. If it happened in another year, maybe we could make it work. If we didn’t have twins, hell yeah we’d love another kid. We always talked about having two. Well, now we have two. We can’t handle another one right now. Maybe never.

I was the most scared about the anesthesia, because I’ve never had any surgery (other than my c-section — which was an emergency and I barely remember it — and I wasn’t knocked out, just numb). I’ve never been to the hospital for anything more than an x-ray or blood draw. No stitches or broken bones, ever.

It was a long wait when we got there. Got there at 8:30 and I didn’t leave until 1:00. We got there before the protestors, thankfully. It scared me when they said there could be protestors outside. I never thought of that. But I didn’t have to deal with them. Other women told me stories about them… what they said to them or their friends. Glad I didn’t have to deal with them, too.

It happened just like the other stories on here talk about — we all waited together and chatted here and there. Once I got to the waiting room before the procedure, when we were all sitting around in our johnnies, there were about a dozen of us. Only two of the women weren’t already moms — one was 14 and the other was 22. It helped everyone to talk about why we were there, what our situations were. We felt justified and comfortable and confident. Here were a dozen women you would never think had anything in common with each other — but for this one thing. It made us all equal. No matter our life situations, we were all making the same hard choice, on the same day, at the same place, in the same room.

They had a binder in the room with printouts of stories from this website. One of the women picked it up and I told her I had read a lot of them online and found it really helpful. She said she had avoided the internet. I used it too much, I was addicted. But I’m so glad I found this site.

Everything went smoothly. I felt nauseous when I woke up for about an hour and had bad cramps for a few hours. But I immediately felt a huge surge of relief. I could have run a marathon, I was so relieved. I had no guilt whatsoever. I know I would have, if I hadn’t read the other stories from your website. It taught me that I’m allowed to make a decision like that and not feel bad about it. I don’t think of it as a “baby.” I think of it as a potential for life that didn’t make it. I think of it as a seedling in my yard. The oak leaves drop their helicopters and some make it into the dirt and develop into teeny tiny sprouts. If I pick one, I’m not killing a tree; just preventing one from growing there.

So I don’t know what the point of my story is, really. I guess that anyone can make this mistake and it’s an incredibly hard decision for any woman, no matter her social, economic or educational standings. It’s not something to be embarrassed or guilty about. And I made the decision that was right for my family, with the support of my family, and I will not look back. I’m working on forgetting about this chapter of my life, and writing this all down helps give it some closure.