Fauve’s Story

When I was 18 and a freshman in college, I started dating a young man in my dorm. At first things went very well, but after a few months he started to get possessive and jealous, and his hand had a funny way of connecting with my body somewhere “by accident”. I went home for the Christmas break trying to think of ways to break it off with him without having him flip out.

A few days after I got home I started having symptoms of bronchitis. The doctor took chest x-rays, saw the congestion in my lungs, and put me on antibiotics and prescription cough medication with codeine. My period was due around this time, but with being sick I wasn’t concerned when it didn’t show. I was sick for at least two weeks, and during that time I noticed I was also having nausea and stomach cramps.

We had been using birth control, but not effectively. My boyfriend was willing to use condoms, but since we were both inexperienced sexually we had trouble with them staying on, and on several occasions I was horrified that the condom had come off or broken and he had kept going, knowing full well it was off. With my period now 3 weeks late, this thought started to occupy my mind. Finally I went to the local hospital clinic and got a free pregnancy test. I was 7 weeks pregnant.

Looking back, I cannot even remember agonizing over the decision. It was clear to me: I didn’t want a kid; especially at this age (I would have to drop out of college and ruin my life); with this guy (who was showing classic abuser tendencies); I had had an x-ray and taken strong medications (which can cause all kinds of fetal defects). I booked the first possible appointment at an abortion clinic, lied to my parents and said I was going to the mall, got one friend to loan me the money and another to drive me there.

Getting an abortion is not a quick and easy thing, as some would have you believe. There is a lot of time to sit and think about what you are doing. You have to read and sign a fair number of documents, be counseled, undress, wait, wait, wait, and talk to the other women who are there for exactly the same reason you are. It’s funny how the barriers come down in this situation. No one is in a position to judge you, nor you them.

I was able to get full anesthesia, which helped a lot. After all the waiting you just want to get it over with, but when they actually call your name, your heart flies up into your throat. The nurse was very kind, and as I was getting set up with the IV, she told me she had had an abortion, and it was the best decision she had ever made. Many, many women feel this way-many more than those who regret the decision.

I had some bleeding for a few days after the abortion. I was feeling a lot better when I returned to school. My boyfriend decided to break up with me, which was a huge relief, but not before he managed to “accidentally” slam me in the stomach with his fist. I bled again for a few more days after that, but healed quickly. It was a small price to pay – if I had kept the child there is no telling what would have happened. If I had not married him my life would have been awful, and if I had it would have been worse. He was 18 and in college like me, with no way to support a family, a quick temper, and a fondness for alcohol and drugs. I felt such relief to be rid of him, which never could have happened if I had his child.

The summer after my freshman year, I had the opportunity to go to China for 2 weeks on a tour. That trip changed my whole life and started me on a path of appreciation for Oriental artwork that is a major facet of my life today. If I had not had the abortion, I would have been 8 months pregnant at that time, and obviously could not have taken the trip. I am so grateful that instead of misery and drudgery as a teenage mother, I was able to have this life changing experience.