Valerie’s Story

Six and seven years ago, I had two abortions.

I’ve never regretted them.

I’m 25 now, but at the time I was 18 and 19 and trying to be heterosexual—something I’m not. I was stupid, and I messed up. Twice. With the same guy. [To this day, he and I remain close friends…]

But you know what? Because of my choice, I don’t have to spend the rest of my life paying for my mistakes. Instead, I have been able to move forward, travel, finish my B.A., work on my M.A. [which I finish this Spring], and set my sights on a PhD.

My goal is to be a university professor and an academic…something I never could’ve done if I’d gotten stuck with two kids I didn’t want in the first place.

So, yeah. To all of those obnoxious bumper stickers that read: “It’s a child—not a choice” I say: “A child IS a choice—one that every woman has a right to make.”

Many people express surprise that I don’t feel ashamed or guilty because of what I did. I think that the concepts of shame and guilt come into play because women in our society are idealized as “self-sacrificing” and demonized should they behave “selfishly” in any way—particularly with respect to children.

A woman is “supposed” to “sacrifice” her own life for that of her offspring, so when she makes a conscious decision to sacrifice potential offspring on the altar of her own life, she is deemed unforgivably selfish.

I believe that most—if not all—women have unconsciously internalized that construct, and that their shame and guilt [or the shame and guilt they are “supposed” to feel] following an abortion arise from an unconscious sense of having failed to live up to the idealized model of motherhood, or even womanhood…

I, however, am a human being, complete and intact, rather than a mere receptacle for another human being.

Call me selfish. My life is my own, and I am not sorry.