by Grateful (Texas)
When I was 19 I got pregnant by my abusive boyfriend, whom I was in the process of trying to leave. We had been together for about 2 years and in that time frame he had destroyed my life, my relationship with my family, my credit, and my self-esteem. He knew how to control me and he used whatever leverage he had to keep me under his thumb. Once I was finally able to escape him (literally – move to an address he had no knowledge of, with no car, no friends, none of my belongings, no money and barely a new job), he started harassing me at my job to hurt me that way. Eventually I succumbed to his demands to see him so that he would stop harassing me at work and I could keep my job. Sex wasn’t optional and I’m sure you can imagine he wasn’t willing to use a condom. I had previously been on birth control, but because of my bad relationship with my family (who I hadn’t talked to in months), my parents took me off their health insurance and I couldn’t afford birth control. I didn’t know anything about places like Planned Parenthood that offer free or low-cost birth control to women in-need.
So there I was pregnant – by a man I hated, who was unemployed, uneducated, had no prospects, and came from an incredibly dysfunctional and abusive family. I barely had a waitressing job, no car, was living paycheck to paycheck, sharing a one bedroom apartment with a woman I barely knew, had dropped out of college because of this guy, and destroyed all of my relationships with friends and family because of this guy. Like I said, I hadn’t talked to my parents in months, but at that moment I knew I had nowhere else to go and nothing left to lose.
Basically, I showed up on my mom’s front door – pregnant, alone, desperate, broke, and broken. My mom opened the door and we both started crying. I told her everything. And then she cried more. She never wanted this for me. My mom got pregnant when she was sixteen and didn’t have any choices. Her parents forced her to get married to my dad – and they had to give up so much for me. She tried so hard to keep me on the right track and make sure that I made the most of opportunities. On top of everything else I was feeling, I felt so disappointed in myself – for letting someone put me in that situation, for taking my life for granted, for letting down my mom and for taking all my parents had sacrificed for me for granted. I could see all her dreams for me draining from her heart.
I asked her, if she was me what would she do, and she said, “I’d have an abortion.” That was all I needed. My mom has loved me so much, gone to the ends of the earth to provide for me and has always wanted the best for me. We talked about our faith (we’re Catholic) and what she would think of me. I couldn’t ask for a better friend or a better mom. She was absolutely amazing. I couldn’t believe that after all I had put her through, her giving up her childhood for me, my selfish teenage years, and then the way I treated her because of this guy, that she would just take me back, take me in and take care of me – but she did, like only a mother can. It also meant a lot because when she was pregnant with me she didn’t have a choice, but she should have. I say that as her living daughter, but had she had an abortion who’s to say that she wouldn’t have gone on to do amazing world changing things bigger than me, and that she wouldn’t have had me at a later time in her life. She’s an amazing, intelligent, strong women, without me she could have changed the world – I’m sure.
So, I had made my decision with the support of my mother, in prayer with our God, and I called the guy. I told him my decision and all he did was call me a bitch – very compassionate man you can see. I hung up the phone at that moment and didn’t talk to him again. I made my appointment and my mom took me to the health clinic two days later. It was like a normal outpatient surgery. I got in did my paperwork, got the consent and risk information from the nurse, talked to the counselor about my decision and about other options. Talked to the doctor, did my ultrasound, saw the image, started my anesthesia and then the procedure. There was no real pain, just some initial discomfort, similar to getting a cervical exam but a little more intense. Then I fell asleep. A short while later I woke up in the recovery room, a nurse was there to help me wake up and get oriented with my surroundings. Once I was comfortable they began the discharge process. Then my mom took me home. I slept for the next day and after a day and half I was fully recovered.
Once it was done, I thought about my decision and wondered if I had done the right thing. I had, but I think whenever you make any decision that big you will always wonder. I vowed that my decision wouldn’t be in vain and that if I was willing to end a life for the sake of mine I better damn well do something with it. I did.
Over the next few months I got my life back together. I stayed away from the guy, mended my relationship with my family, and went back to school. The abortion is what kept me motivated. I couldn’t waste this second chance I’d been given. Eventually I graduated college, got a good job, went back to school, and got a masters degree. Today, I’m 30 years old, still don’t have any children (but plan to one day), am pursuing a PhD and have a great job.
I’ve never regretted my decision, not for one moment. You don’t hear enough of these stories but the truth is, I had an abortion and my life is better because of it. If I had continued the pregnancy I would have been stuck with that loser, in poverty, with a child I couldn’t take care, being abused, never finished college, and maybe even dead. I love my life, I’m so grateful for it. It probably seems ironic, but my abortion brought me closer to my family and to God, and made me appreciate and value life even more.