Natalie’s Story

It was the summer after my high school graduation. My mom and I had gotten in a huge argument and I ended up moving in with my boyfriend of only about a month. He was five years older than me, but I had always done the whole older guy thing. We agreed to have fun that summer, but not become too serious because I was going far away for college in the fall. It was one of the most amazing and shocking summers I have ever had.

In late July I was expecting my period. It was a week late but I thought nothing of it, told myself it was just stress from packing for college and not wanting to leave. After being two weeks late I took two home pregnancy tests and both turned out negative. I was still worried though because I had heard that you can’t always trust home pregnancy tests’ accuracy. So, I went to Planned Parenthood. Negative.

But I knew I was pregnant. It was the beginning of August and I could feel the morning sickness setting in. I felt nauseous everyday, sometimes the whole day. And I was so emotional! You think you get mood swings on your period? Try being pregnant! So, I decided to take another stab at the home pregnancy tests, I was now four weeks late. Sure enough, both of them turned out positive.

(At this point in the summer I had moved back with my mom because of needing to pack for college, plus my boyfriend’s lease was up at the end of July so he was staying at his parents’ house for a while. We had “broken up” because I was leaving for college in less than two weeks – we weren’t going to attempt a long distance relationship – but were still hanging out almost every night.)

I called him right away and told him he needed to come over. He said he couldn’t. But he knew what was wrong even before I had said anything. We decided to get together that night to discuss our options.

I have never wanted to have kids. Ever. Even when I get older. I just don’t like them (sorry!). That night we decided that the best option would be to terminate. I was on scholarship to a prestigious private college and I was leaving in about a week. There was no way I could just give up the opportunity in front of me.

The next morning I called Planned Parenthood. It was Wednesday and I was leaving on Tuesday, I had to get in. They were full for the next week so they gave me the names and numbers of other clinics. The second place I called could get me the next day for my first appointment and the abortion could be performed on Friday. I was so lucky.

My boyfriend went with me both of the days. Although we were technically broken up, we still cared for each other very much and these circumstances had brought us together considerably. The first appointment was all paperwork, there is a 24 hour consent law in my home state, and I had to watch a video explaining the procedure to me.

That night I was at my boyfriend’s parents house and just as I was about to leave for the night, he looked at me and asked me to stay. He didn’t want to be alone that night. Neither did I.

The next morning I was so nervous. We woke up, went to my house so I could shower and then drove downtown to where the clinic was. My appointment was later in the day and consequently, the clinic’s parking lot was full. This wouldn’t have been a problem, except for the nearly twenty protesters that were standing outside on the sidewalk (I’m from a very conservative area in my state). I took a few deep breaths and with my boyfriend tightly holding my hand we walked right through them. It was a terrible feeling. Why did they think that what I was doing with my body was any of their business?

In the waiting room there were about fifteen girls and women waiting with boyfriends, husbands, parents, friends. At eighteen, I was one of the youngest there. I think one girl might have been younger than me, a few were around my age, and there were several who seemed to be in their 30s or 40s. I was the last one to be called. My boyfriend gave me a kiss on the cheek. We both had tears in our eyes.

I took off my clothes from the waist down, put the thin paper blanket over my legs and put my feet in the stirrups. The nurse and the patient advocate came into the room and we waited for the doctor. The procedure took only about ten minutes total: from undressing to dressing. I won’t lie, it wasn’t the most pleasant feeling. I thought it was mildly painful and just plain uncomfortable. And I cried through the whole thing. It’s a very emotional thing to have to go through, giving up a baby.

But I’m not sorry.

Afterwards, I just felt this huge weight lift from my shoulders. I was free. Free to go to college, get an education and not have to play mom at age eighteen.

I left for college four days later. I was still bleeding, and I continued to do so for a couple of weeks. I told my roommate about it because I wanted her to come with me for my checkup that I had to have.

I thought everything after that would be weird with the “boy back home” but surprisingly, things seemed to be fine. I will admit, there were nights when I questioned if we had done the right thing and I would spend hours on the phone with him just sobbing. I guess things had to get worse before they could get better. I went through a period of utter homesickness which I think made grieving even more painful. But several weeks later, I was perfectly normal again. I was back to my old, fun-loving self.

Over winter break, I hung out with my ex-boyfriend a lot. The abortion hadn’t ripped us apart like I thought it would, it had brought us closer. We spent almost every day together and when I was about to return to school we decided that this time we would do the long distance thing.

We are still together and I am still not sorry that I had an abortion. I am so thankful that I had the choice to make. If I hadn’t, I would probably be another teenage mom without a college education, struggling to make something of myself in this world. Now, I am almost done with my first year of college and have already done some undergraduate research in biology. I wouldn’t give up for the world all of the experiences I have had in the last year here at school and I know that by making the decision to abort, I have afforded myself so many more future opportunities.

And now I even want to have kids, but only when I’m ready.