by Lee (Denver)
I got pregnant my Senior year of college in the midst of senior finals because I started my pill pack two days late. I really didn’t think it was a problem to start the pack late… but knew I was pregnant before my period was even late. I felt numb. Even when I saw it on the ultrasound screen something in me was disconnected from it. I was afraid that I was in denial and I was afraid to make a mistake so I waited to make the appointment. And I had finals to focus on anyway. This freaked my boyfriend of a year out, he never thought I’d consider having the baby. And his reaction then freaked me out. The way it stood I likely had no boyfriend, I’d graduate and have no health insurance, no job, no apartment, no car. My parents would have helped me but they are poor. Nothing was right. And I felt numb. Although sometimes I felt like I had cancer because this thing was growing inside me that was going to destroy my future and I was helpless to stop it. Or was I?
I told my parents and a few close friends. Unfortunately those close friends blabbed to other friends. It’s like I’d been such a perfect goodie two shoes for so long they were waiting for the chance to gloat over my mistake. Overwhelmingly I got “if anyone could do it you could” statements, even from my Dad who had been so pro-abortion which surprised me. But what surprised me the most was my Mom’s reaction…I thought she’d want me to have the baby but she burst into tears and told me “That having her children has been the best and the hardest thing in her life and she didn’t want me to make those sacrifices in life yet.” That is all I needed. I didn’t want to make the best of it or prove I could do it. I wanted to be a Mom someday but preferably when I was financially stable and married. I made the appointment, as soon as school finals were over, made boyfriend pay for it and told him I didn’t want him to come with me. He hadn’t been supportive lately. Instead I took my Mom.
The clinic was sterile and the atmosphere was stressful. I hate doctors and hospitals anyway. One girl kept pacing around inside and outside trying to make up her mind. Apparently it was the last day for her to do this. I was nervous. I had prayed to the baby to forgive me. That I was not ready to be a mother and to come back later. That I promised to be ready then. They called me back and put me in a gown. The drugs they gave me made me start crying, the first time I had since finding out. It gave me the hiccups and the doctor had to do the procedure while I hiccuped. It was painless and over so fast I couldn’t believe it. A short observation period to make sure I wasn’t bleeding and then they sent me home with a little blue pill that was supposed to help my uterus cramp and clean itself out. I promptly threw up the little blue pill.
I had arranged to house sit for my older brother and it was perfect. It gave me a week alone to deal and figure out what was next. Where would I live? I needed to look for a job. I admit that the first time after I was finally alone and I thought of the baby I realized I was alone, and that I felt alone. I hadn’t realized how despite the emotional numbness it had been “us” for 8 weeks. It was lonely and profoundly sad and I cried.
If I have any regrets its that I told as many people as I did that I was pregnant. Because in retrospect I am ashamed of the abortion. I am ashamed I got pregnant at all and had to do what I did. But I don’t regret the decision and would do it again. The price is that I will carry a shame and sadness with me for the rest of my life. I can’t say that I could ever do it again…I guess I’d have to be in those shoes to know. That said it took me and my husband (the boyfriend!) a year to get pregnant 15 years later. I was worried that it wouldn’t happen and maybe that had been my only chance. Or maybe I deserved infertility somehow? But now I’m the mother to a perfect little girl, born at the perfect time in our lives. I know how hard motherhood is. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I firmly believe that those that want it are better prepared emotionally. And being better prepared financially is the best.
I am thankful that I had the option to terminate the pregnancy and will fight to assure that my daughter will have the same rights. I will share my story with her though and hopefully she will protect herself from every having to make the choice.