I started dating a guy. He wasn't really good for me, but he wasn't really bad for me either. We were more like friends that happened to be dating, rather than actually in love. We slept together. After a while I panicked that I might be pregnant. It would have been horrible to be pregnant; because I don't know how to raise a child and I don't want to be a mother. And besides that, I like being able to do what I want when I want.
The sex was good.
It was fun. It felt dangerous. I had been taught all my life that sex outside of marriage was WRONG and that the use of birth control was WRONG. But there I was scared to death at a women's health clinic during my first gyno appointment so I could obtain a birth control prescription so I could have more sex. I felt dirty and shameful. My devoutly religious family and friends would not understand that I was just trying to protect my partner and myself from making a worse decision.
A year passed.
Things felt like they were unraveling in my relationship, and we ended up breaking up. I didn’t have much money, so I stopped taking the birth control. There were no other men in site for dating anyway, so why pay for pills I wasn't going to use? (Here is likely where many of you readers will be thinking...noooo! Take them anyways! You are much smarter and wiser than I am.)
The pills stopped, but the sex didn't.
My ex would come over to eat “just as friends,” and we would end up in bed. I was a whole mess of emotions. Was I just using him for sex? Was he just using me? Was that okay if we were just friends with benefits? For half a year this went on. For half a year I let myself have semi-unprotected sex.
Then I ran into an old friend, and we struck up a conversation. We started flirting. Flirting a lot. I really liked him, so I made another gyno appointment to get my prescription refilled. I had a ceremonial last romp with my ex. But he got a little too excited before we could get a condom. I was panicked. I had only been back on birth control for 3 days. Had it started working? My ex was also panicked. He told me that if I took 5 pills at once it would be the same thing as a morning after pill. “Morning After Pill!?” I thought. “How did I get here?” I was really freaked out. I took 5 pills and woke up vomiting everywhere. I couldn't hold down anything for 2 days.
A few weeks went by, and I finished the pack of pills. I eagerly awaited my period, but it didn't show. I thought maybe it just needed more time to show up since I taken so many at once. But after a week it still hadn’t come. At this point I was very worried. I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive. I felt my life crumbling around me. I was supposed to be smarter than this. I didn't know how I was going to get out of this mess. I was so scared. I felt like everyone could tell just by looking at me. I felt like my happiness was completely drained from my life. I was so angry with myself. I was angry with my ex—with everyone that ever told me someday I would change my mind about wanting children.
When I told my ex he jumped straight to abortion. I was furious. I didn't want to keep it, but how dare he make that my only option. I felt so alone. Relying on an ex to take care of me, for fear that I would be judged by everyone else.
He took me to the clinic.
I had one of the most painful procedures I have ever had, to erase the mistake I had made 8 weeks earlier. The suction machine was loud and they were blasting bad rap music in my room. I had to wait all day at the clinic with other women. All of us scared for our own lives, our own futures, our own reputations.
Now, as I look back, I do not regret my choice to go through with my abortion. Had I kept it, I would be tied to my ex, who I really want nothing to do with anymore. I would not be where I am in my career. I would not be with my current boyfriend, who I love very much. I would have a completely different life, one that I did not want for myself. Knowing all of this does not make it any easier. There are only a few people in my life that know what I have been through. I still do not feel comfortable enough to tell everyone, especially my family. This one choice has made me feel grateful, upset, selfish, and free. I felt the same desperation most other women feel when faced with an unwanted pregnancy. I had a normal recovery, which feels like the worst period of your life. I went through the emotional roller coaster, including the numbness.
Had I not gone through with my abortion, I would be in labor next week. I still think about it, with some sadness. I remember how scared and desperate I felt. I remember the pain of the procedure, and my raw nose from crying too much. But I also remember months of happiness and freedom. I remember the past year as one of great success for my own self. I have learned a lot about my body (and a lot about continuing medications, I swear!) I have a new appreciation for my freedom to do what I want when I want. I feel responsible for my actions, but I also recognize all the other positives in my life and I know that having an abortion does not define me.
I'm not proud, I wish I had taken better care of myself on the front end so I could have prevented myself from ever needing to make such a choice. To all those who have been faced with a similar difficult choice, I hope you can look back at the choice you made and be okay with it.