Susan’s Story

My name is Susan and I have had an abortion.

I was a senior in college when I became pregnant. I was taking 21 credits at a small, competitive women’s college, worked two part-time jobs, and was heavily involved in undergraduate research. I also swam competitively. During a heavy work-out in the pool I fainted on the deck. Later I learned that I was pregnant and that the heavy exercise on top of the fatigue I was already experiencing had caused me to faint. Every day was a struggle and I was too worried about what to do and was too tired to study; the possibility of graduate school was fading. I had severe morning sickness that was debilitating. I had to skip class in order to control my morning sickness and many days, my fatigue won over the desire to learn. I was, at one point, hospitalized for a night in the ER because I was so ill. I needed to go to work in order to pay for my expenses and I had many other obligations to fulfill. I just knew that I couldn’t do this anymore. As soon as I could, I scheduled an appointment for an abortion. I knew that I needed to receive one so that I could continue my education. I didn’t want to be a mother and I didn’t want to lose my scholarship either.

When I arrived at the clinic, I was very frightened, especially since my fiancée and I were attending separate universities and he couldn’t be there to support me. I was worried that there would be picketers or that the people there would try to talk me out of it, but I was surprised to learn that the staff was non-judgmental, compassionate, welcoming, and helpful. Even the guard that checked my belongings smiled at me and offered words of encouragement. During the procedure, I started to cry and told the assisting nurse that I was scared. She came to my side and offered her hand to hold and told me that everything was going to be okay. That simple gesture made me feel assured that I had done the right thing for myself and that this isn’t shameful. In the recovery room, the nurses and doctors chatted with me and checked on me regularly. Even though there were many others to care for, they took the time to talk to me and to ensure that I felt safe and comfortable. They treated me like a person.

Afterwards, I felt happy that this horrible thing was over. In the weeks following, I was able to bring my grades up and apply for (and get accepted to!) graduate school. My life has truly changed for the better since my abortion and I do not regret it. I was lucky, however, to receive immense support from the friends, staff-persons and the professors I disclosed my pregnancy to. They encouraged me to make a decision that was right for me and even connected me to resources that would help me get to the clinic since I did not have my own transportation. Without their help, I would not be where I am today. I hope that my story will send a message to other women; it is OKAY not to feel guilty or sad about your abortion(s). You have a life outside of being a mother and it is okay to want that instead!