Sep 032010

I’m not sorry about the abortion, but I am sorry for the conception. I was 19 years old, a sophomore in college, and searching for love and acceptance in men. Looking back, I think mostly I wanted to feel attractive and sexy. An old friend came into town, Dan. He had always had a crush on me and that made me feel good about myself. And that giddiness led to stupidity. We had unprotected intercourse, but he pulled out. It was the mentality of “it’ll never happen to me.”

Weeks after he had left town, I had to leave one of my classes to violently throw up outside. That was when I first had fears and a few days later I shared them with one of my closest friends. She drove me to Safeway and bought the tests for me and then we holed up in a bathroom stall of our church-both tests were positive.

So important to my experience is my family and how blessed I have to have them. I went to my sister and we sat on her front porch and cried together. And then we went home to our parents’ house and told them. The most consuming feeling was regret for my stupidity, and fear that I had disappointed those who loved me most. All I could do was bury my face in my mother’s chest and tell her how sorry I was.

In the coming days, I felt numb. Dan was still calling and writing letters, but I was short with him each time he called until he finally stopped contacting me at all. It was my burden, my decision, and often I was angry that he, the man, didn’t have to deal with any of it. But in the same sense, I also considered it my gift to him that he never even had to be a part of it in any way. I have never spoken to him again and I never want to.

I knew I was supposed to make a decision, but I felt numb and scared and seperated from all my peers. Looking back, I realize now how rare and amazing it is that I have a family who I always knew would support my decision, whatever it might be. I think in the back of my mind I always knew my decision, but it took a while for the rest of me to catch up. My mother researched clinics and she and my sister went with me to the appointment. I remember that the clinic seemed scary and that my doctor had kind, sad eyes. And I remember being angry that there was no pretty picture taped on the ceiling above the bed. Afterward, the three of us drove home in the sunshine and my mother bought matching necklaces for us, so that we would always remember what we had gone through as a family.

I left the church I was attending because they pronounced abortion as a sin. The spiritual aspects of my abortion were only between myself and God and it angered me that the church thought they were entitled an opinion also. I returned to the open and affirming church I was raised in and found a hero in the pastor. I told him my story and later that year he officiated over my marriage. The man I married became my boyfriend at the end of the same year I had my abortion. We had only been dating a month when I told him, and when he held me while I cried, I knew he might be someone I could marry.

I made my choice and I do not regret it and I know I never will. I am a better, more empathetic person because of it and so are those close to me. I have a college degree and a career, a happy and fulfilling marriage, and the promise that the conception of our first child will be a joyous occasion. I made my choice and because I know the importance of that freedom, I will always fight for others to have that same choice.

Thank you for the chance to tell my story.

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