Martha’s Story

When my daughter was five months old, I had an abortion. The decision to end that pregnancy was the best possible decision I could have made for my family, and I am not sorry. My daughter was planned and when I became pregnant with her, it was the result of months of careful charting of temperatures and checking of cervical positions and mucus. The day she was born was the beginning of this incredible opening of our family’s collective heart, and she immediately became the center of our universe. At my six week post-partum check-up I weighed my options and decided to use condoms, because I was breastfeeding and because I wasn’t prepared for the commitment of an IUD. I was well aware of my options because I work in a non-medical capacity in reproductive health care. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I am paid, in part, to advocate for choice.

So condoms it was, but we were sleep deprived and pressed for time and took an opportunity where we had one and we left the condoms in the bedside table. And the next day I noticed how fertile my cervical mucus seemed. Why I didn’t seek emergency contraception is a mystery to me. All I can say is that I was sleep deprived.

I knew I was pregnant within a week. I took a home test and was relieved that my husband’s reaction was the same as mine: “Oh shit. Not now.” We weren’t done having our daughter be the center of our universe. My body wasn’t ready for another pregnancy. Our bank account wasn’t ready either. So I spoke to a counselor at my work and they scheduled my pre-exam. I decided to have a medication abortion, because I work at the clinic and needed a sense of separation. I called my mother-in-law, and she came to help with the baby for the weekend. The process of the abortion was almost painless, though messy. I think having given birth to a nine-pounder after 48 hours of labor put the cramps into perspective for me. It was over in a matter of hours and I was back to nursing my daughter that evening.

I have no doubt that having the abortion was the best choice for my family and for me. I know we will have another child in the not so distant future, but we just aren’t there yet.