Sep 062010

I found out late in July of 2005 that I was six weeks pregnant. I’d just turned 19, I was living with my mother, I was single and I didn’t have a job. I liked partying and I liked sex. At that point, I didn’t even have a high school diploma. To put it simply, I was going nowhere. I was in no position to be having a child.

I was on birth control, so I didn’t even consider the possibility of pregnancy at first. I was having horrible pains in my abdomen, so I scheduled an appointment with a nurse, figuring it was just another ovarian cyst. But after a pregnancy test came back positive and an ultrasound confirmed it, I couldn’t deny it anymore. I was pregnant. The only thing I remember feeling at first was annoyance. Annoyance at the way everyone expected me to be happy about it.

The next few weeks were a living hell. My mother swore that she’d disown me if I didn’t go through with the pregnancy, while my friends were busy picking out names for me. I was miserable physically; morning sickness hit me hard, and I was still having a lot of pain in my abdomen. I knew an abortion would be for the best, but I had no way to pay for it. The closest abortion provider was 120 miles away, and no one was willing to go with me for it. I was too afraid to talk to the father, someone I knew had no feelings for me.

So I tried to cause a miscarriage. I wanted it out of my body, I didn’t care what I had to do. I starved myself, I tried to overdose on pain pills, and I drank heavily every night. And one night, drunk and depressed, I decided to call the father.

To my surprise, he was very supportive. He took things a lot better than I thought he would, and he was a lot more mature than I would’ve ever expected. He made it very clear that there was no chance of us ever being a family and felt that an abortion would be the best choice for everyone involved. He agreed to go with me and pay for it. We made an appointment for the following week.

I was about nine weeks pregnant, so I ended up having a surgical abortion. The staff did everything in their power to make me feel comfortable, and the procedure itself was over very quickly, though it did hurt quite a bit. I felt dizzy and sick on the way home, but more than anything, I felt … relieved. I can’t describe how wonderful it felt to have that weight off my shoulders.

Looking back, I think the pregnancy was the wake-up call I needed. I’m an EMT and have plans to go to medical school, I stopped drinking, I started taking the decisions I make more seriously, and I ended up joining the Army, where I met my husband. We’re expecting a child this June, and though I don’t feel completely ready for it, I know I’m much more prepared this time. Being pregnant again hasn’t changed my feelings about the abortion at all; if anything, it’s only strengthened my belief that it was the right decision. Morning sickness so severe I’ve had to go to the ER, repeated infections, anemia, exhaustion…in short, it’s been a horrible pregnancy, and I never want to go through it again. If we ever decide we’re ready for more children, we’ll adopt.

It’s taken a while, but I’m finally ready to be open about my abortion. Until recently, I just told most people I had a miscarriage. I feel in my heart that a woman’s right to choose is something worth supporting in any way I can, but how can I support it if I lie about my own choice like it’s some dark secret? I’m not going to lie anymore. I shouldn’t be ashamed, and neither should any woman who chooses abortion. It’s our choice, and ours alone. No one will ever know what we felt or why we made that decision, and no one has the right to say that decision was wrong.

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