All my life I was taught that abortion was wrong

by Arianna (Illinois)

I am 23 years old, a recent college graduate and I had my abortion in September of 2011 when I was 5 weeks pregnant.

My story starts with reconnecting with an ex-boyfriend nearly ten years later because he needed help getting his life back together (or so he led me to believe) because he was involved in a gang, never graduated high school and was living back home. I have always been a sucker for wanting to help people, and he knew exactly what to say in order to get me to feel sorry for him and spend my time helping him. I got him to register to take the GED, go out and look for jobs and try to be a better father to the 3 year old daughter he already had.

We were sexually attracted to each other and he did seem to have a genuine heart so we slept together, once, which is all it took and I found out 3 weeks later I was pregnant. And during that time I was so ashamed that I had slept with him that I distanced myself greatly from him. When I found out I was pregnant my first reaction was abortion. I know one day I will be a great mother but that was all I could offer this pregnancy, I didn’t have any actual means or prospects to be able to completely provide for a child, nor did he. There was no attachment to this pregnancy and when I considered both possibilities I couldn’t come up with a single positive reason for continuing the pregnancy. So I called the next day to schedule an abortion, I was shocked that they said they could see me two days later since all of the abortion stories I had heard the woman waited a week at least.

I decided to go alone, two of my closest friends knew where I was just in case but I knew that having them there would just make me anxious. I walked into a waiting room full of couples, some who were comforting each other, some tensely sitting next to each other and then there was this one guy sitting with his iPod ignoring his hysterical girlfriend next to him, I knew immediately I made the right decision to come alone. They took me in and did the ultrasound and testing, and all was going incredibly smoothly until I realized they had me scheduled to take the abortion pill where I wanted an aspiration.

When they took me into the “education” room to describe the procedures I immediately voiced my concern to the nurse and that was the only time I freaked out, because I thought they were going to send me home and make me come back another day and go through the first half of all of this again. The nurse was so sweet and told me it was no problem. Fifteen minutes later I was in the operating room and those three minutes felt like an eternity. I won’t lie and say it didn’t hurt because I was not sedated (I had to drive myself home) but it only lasts for those three minutes.

When they took me into recovery was the first time I felt guilty. But it wasn’t because of what had just happened, it was because I was now in a room with all of these women who were crying….hysterical even and I felt relieved. I felt guilty for not feeling guilty about what I had done. All my life I was taught that abortion was wrong, and it was never an option, but now I have new beliefs and I am going to take better care of myself.

I found out recently that the guy involved was pulling this scam on several girls, one of which got pregnant a week after I did and there may be another who could be pregnant as well. Turns out this guy wants more kids, even though he can’t support any of them, so he’s been sleeping with girls with the sole purpose of getting them pregnant. I was stupid and I fell for it, I won’t begrudge him that, but finding all this out made just set in concrete the fact that I 150% made the right decision. No pro-life group or ranting tyrant can take that away from me, and for those who say I did something wrong or murdered my child I smile and know in my heart that neither of those things are true.

Had my pregnancy been further along things might have turned out differently based on my education, but I know that the technically 21 day embryo in my uterus was nothing but cells, and people may think I’m crass for saying that but that is the cold hard truth. And that makes me it okay for me. Maybe it’ll make it okay for someone else.

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Having a child suits different people at different stages in their life

by A (British Columbia)

Finding out I was pregnant was a shock. My boyfriend and I had been responsible and using birth control everytime throughout the duration of our relationship. One time, unknowingly, my birth control failed. My boyfriend and I discussed our options, and he was understanding and told me that he’d support me either way. I knew I wanted to stay in this relationship (still planning on getting married one day), but timing for a baby wasn’t right.

I was finishing my third year of university, with hopes of becoming a teacher. I worked part-time with all my income going towards my education. Due to a work-related accident my boyfriend had to take a less physically-demanding, lower paying job that would be insufficient to cover the costs related to a baby. I was young and knew there was many more things I wanted to do with my life before settling down and having children. I felt uncomfortable with the thought of someone else raising my child; so I decided to have an abortion.

I don’t regret it for a minute. Having a child suits different people at different stages in their life. I was not physically, mentally, or financially ready for a baby yet. I have seen enough young mothers to know the struggle of providing for their child and did not want that to be me. People may think I made the wrong choice, and that’s okay. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, your decision to think what I did was wrong is just as valid as my thought that what I did was right – there is no “winner” in this perpetual argument. Here is something that I do know: it is my body, my life, my baby, and I am the only one that can ultimately make this decision – no one else is me; therefore it’s ridiculous for anyone to make my decision for me.

It was a hard decision to make, but it was the right now. No regrets.

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I am not a victim of my choice

by Faith (British Columbia)

Three days I ago, at 24, I had an abortion. It’s important to me to share my story for two reasons, I want to own my experience, and I want to help the next girl in my shoes find courage and strength in herself when she makes her choice.

I knew I was pregnant before I took my test to confirm it; I felt in my gut. something was wrong and change was around the corner. I knew even then being a mother was not an option for me, regardless of the fact that I was in a loving relationship, and an adult, and all my friends are having their “oops” babies and living happily ever after, it was not my time.

I dug deep into myself and instinctively knew what I had to do before I even took the test.

My boyfriend assumed this was one of my regular pregnancy scares that would not materialize. We were never as careful as we should have been, and we assumed this would continue without consequence. Wrong.

We bought a test, I forced myself to take it, and we waited for what seemed like hours. I didn’t even feel like I was in my own body when I picked up the test and read the positive result.

I turned to my boyfriend, my eyes now puddles, and fell to the ground.

We had both already decided within ourselves that we had to let this one go, but it was even more clearly communicated in our reaction. He looked at me and promised to be with me through everything that was to come and hold my hand.
I called my step mother right away, since she’s always been my rock, and is a doctor. She supported my choice and helped me focus. This was now just a task to be completed, also wrong.

My man and I googled abortions and learned all about the local clinic and upcoming steps. When I woke up the next morning, I called the clinic right away and was surprised by how easy the process was. They asked a few questions and booked my appointment- for 4 weeks later. I knew the next 4 weeks would be long, hard, and that I would have another heart beating in me the whole time.

In the weeks leading up to my abortion I went through hell. I was violently ill, (I don’t know why it’s called morning sickness when it’s all fucking day) I could throw up 10 times a day. On top of being sick I had no energy, somedays it took 6 hours before I would get out of bed. I didn’t know who I was anymore, I was caught in purgatory.

I could feel unfamiliar things happening to my body. Things I always imagined I would be excited for, and relish, were instead scary and unwelcome. I hated my body, myself. I let my life end. I gave myself permission to give up until this was over. And who would I be then?

I knew things would always be different I would from now on always have been pregnant, and had an abortion. My first baby will never be my first pregnancy, and I got lost.

Then another blow came. My beloved grandfather died. I had to fly to my hometown to attend his funeral. I was so sick on the flight, even though it was only an hour. By the time I finally got off the plane I had to run to the bathroom and vomit. While I was getting sick, the airline sent someone in to check on me. After she asked “do you need assistance?”, I blurted out “no, I’m just pregnant” as I emerged from the stall. Then she hit me with a bullet “congratulations”. The next bullet hit at the funeral, when my very pregnant cousin grabbed my hand and placed it on her swollen belly to feel a small foot push through the surface. And then a final blow at the dinner afterward, when I was to sick to eat and my pregnant cousin joked “what are you pregnant?”.

At that moment, conceivably my lowest point ever, I remembered something I have always known, but forgot when it was most relevant GOD DOES NOT GIVE US MORE THEN WE CAN HANDLE. I would make it through this, just as I have everything else in my life. I am strong. I am a woman. I have a choice. I just needed faith.

I was liberated. I remembered why I made my choice, to live my best life. all I had to do to remain true to myself when this was over was live my life to the fullest. I was now going to use this initially tragic situation as accountability to be true to myself. I found peace and forgiveness and reason to move forward.

I flew home, still sick, still tired, but ready to face my last week pregnant, and inevitable abortion. I always knew my pregnancies fate, but now I owned my choice, I gave it purpose. Of course, through out my pregnancy, I entertained thoughts of growing a baby, having a child, but they never felt legit. It simply was not my time, and that was fine.
I spent the next week still sick, still pregnant, but ready to move forward.

The day before came, the night before came, then it was the morning of.

I was so sick, I was just ready for it to be over. I couldn’t even stand in the shower anymore.

There were protesters outside the hospital (all men), but I held my head high and marched into the clinic.

I no longer suffered with who this would make me, I suffered with the unknown PAIN! I was terrified of the process. I mean these people were going to vacuum out my uterus, and I’m not even good at getting pap tests. None of my research mattered at this point; I was scared for my vagina.

There were three of us in the waiting room, and all of us different ages, races, and circumstance. That was comforting, anyone could find themselves in this waiting room.

The nurse eventually called my name and took me into what was clearly a counseling room. This was the only part my boyfriend was not allowed to be with me for.

My nurse was amazing and put me at ease gracefully. She made certain this was my choice and answered a multitude of questions. After she explained the process from start to finish I was given ibuprofen, antibiotic, and upon request, Ativan. Then I was taken into a room with three hospital beds, and given a skirt to put on, with a pocket for my panties which I was to put a pad in. After I changed, my boyfriend was waiting by my bed.

The ativan kicked in quickly, and calmed my nerves. I also had to drink a really gross liquid to subside my nausea.
The nurses took blood and gave me saline to prevent clotting in an IV. I also opted to have an IUD put in and received information regarding it.

Then I saw the girl from the waiting room re enter the room from what was obviously the procedure room. She Looked fine, had some tears, but overall was not as mortified as I expected someone who had just had an abortion to be. I had been waiting for almost an hour, and knew I was next in line.

I cannot give the amazing nurses and doctors enough credit for being so warm, understanding, compassionate and wonderful. I was completely ready, relaxed, and unjudged.

The procedure room was dark, and small. Jann Arden music was playing in the background. My boyfriend was with me, two lovely female doctors, and the nurse administering medication. I was clearly nervous and one of the doctors took my hand and said “There is no judgement for you in this room, we all fight to be here to make your life better, just relax” I’ll never forget that. I laid back while they took an ultra sound, and started to feel drunk. Within ten minutes it was over. It was essentially painless, Emotionally, and physically. I learned I was only 7 1/2 weeks pregnant, which meant my abortion went very smoothly. I refused to let the process be emotional or sad, so it wasn’t; I joked with my boyfriend and nurse, and made small talk. I was basically unaware of what was going on between my legs. I had to chose that attitude, and it was worth dragging it out of myself.

Then it was over. Just like that.

The doctor knew the girl coming in after me was even more high anxiety and asked me to comment on how easy it was. I walked back into the other room and walked to the young girl who was alone, grabbed her hand, and told her it was nothing and how much better I felt. And I did! I felt 600 pounds lighter. I ate the crackers and juice, and felt the drugs ware off within minutes. It was time to go home, only 2 hours after I arrived.

The pain was really bad on the way home, but not completely unfamiliar, really bad cramps mostly.

I crawled in bed and slept for 5 hours. I woke up brand new. My nausea was gone, my cramps were familiar not to painful and I could move forward.

I am not a victim of my choice.

I am going to live my life and embrace who I am, allowing my hardships to form a strong character within me. I am not the choices I make, neither are you.

Now I have a brand new outlook, and a brand new start. Everything can be positive with time and willingness to move forward, it’s up to you.

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I Knew What I Needed

by Casey (North Carolina)

I found out about a week ago I’m 6 weeks pregnant. I am almost 22 and have a 1 year old. I left my son’s father while I was still pregnant due to conflicts we could never solve. I have faced being a single mom everyday and I do not regret that. But finding out I am pregnant again has made me think if I want to do this again, now with two babies.

After a long discussion with my partner I’ve decided to terminate my pregnancy. The doctor was recommend by my local health department and a very good friend. She was reassuring and kind, but most of all made sure I got post partum help. I suffered from it very badly after my son and her office is making weekly calls to make sure I am okay.

I never thought I could not have my child if I was pregnant, but after now gaining custody of my 4 yr niece I know in my heart and soul it would not be fair to the children I have now to have one more. My niece is special needs and my plate is full. I’m glad I know when I can not handle another life; it’s just not fair to the kids I have. I don’t regret my choice.

I knew what I needed and what I wanted, and I did it. My best friend took the kids for a night to let me recover a bit and the next day was back on my feet and being a mom. Don’t let fear of this take you over because it’s easier to emotionally heal from termination then it would be to live with a child you knew you never wanted. Much love.

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No post-abortion regrets

Exactly one year ago to the day I realized that I hadn’t gotten my period in a few months. That wasn’t all that much of a surprise. I’ve only been able to maintain a consistent cycle when I was on birth control. But last December, I lost my job, which meant that I lost my insurance. I had three months left of birth control when I realized that I was pregnant in late March. Honestly, due to all of my health problems while I was a teenager I had convinced myself that I would not even be able to have children. Knowing that fact made our decision that much harder.

I had my abortion last April. Where I live, it’s almost unheard of to not have children pretty soon after high school, to the point where people feel it’s their place to ask you why you haven’t reproduced yet. I just turned 21 in January, have had a steady job, stayed in college, and purchased my own home in the three short years that I have been in the real world. My boyfriend and I are very happy, and have been looking forward to starting our family when we could provide more than our parents could. Not that they didn’t do their best, we just want to be prepared for any situation. While I have been trying to get to a place that I am comfortable and stable enough to have children, my peers have all had at minimum two kids, I honestly cannot think of one girl that has enough money to feed her, and all the little ones without government assistance. It’s just the way life is here.

It was terribly ironic when my birth control failed and our condom broke. I had assured myself that we would be okay for the next few months until we could save enough for a doctors visit. My best friend hugged me while I cried for what seemed like eternity when we read the positive tests. My emotions ranged so drastically, at first I wanted to puke, then happiness flooded the pit of my stomach, then worry, followed by sadness, which ended with anger. I was so angry with myself. This was not supposed to happen yet. I had done everything correctly (or so I thought). I assumed we were being as responsible as we possibly could without abstaining all together.

When my boyfriend got home from work, we talked about it and he was just as devastated, but very supportive. I went to the doctor to confirm. I felt terrible that the nurse that told me I was pregnant was about 8 months along. Often I hear debates about whether or not women should be shown their ultrasound during their abortion consultation. Personally, it is still the only thing that keeps me grounded in the fact that we made the right choice for us, (it’s very easy to be swayed by constant propaganda). The deciding factor of my trip to the clinic was my ultrasound. As the nurse went on and on about names and sex I just stared at what could be a spec of dirt on the monitor.

There was no baby there. No appendages, no tadpole, nothing at all. I knew this was not a child, and I made my decision. Like I mentioned, I am in tuned enough with my own body to know when something isn’t right, I was barely 4 weeks along. I meticulously track my cycles because I knew the risk that I was taking, (even though I was on Yaz, he used a condom and we purposefully had sex at the less fertile time of the month. I was the perfect vision of “safe sex”). She started in immediately about how life, “cannot be planned” and how I am plenty old enough. I wiped my belly, jumped off the table, thanked her and informed her that I would not need the script for vitamins. She argued with me, then told me to “stay put” while she drug several other doctors and nurses in to tell me just how crazy and selfish that I was. I was appalled at their lack of professionalism.

I had to travel 3 hours to a clinic waited my two days, went back alone, had the procedure, drove myself home and promptly went to bed for the weekend. By the start of the week, I was feeling incredibly guilty, for not feeling guilty at all. I felt like some sort of heartless monster. I was completely contradicting everything that I have ever known.
I tried to speak out; I tried to let other girls know that they didn’t have to give up their 20’s if they did not want to. They did not have to do anything that they did not whole-heartedly want to do.

Instead of easing their minds, they just called me names. I was mortified. I can say that I didn’t tell anyone I was going to the clinic besides my best friend and boyfriend, because I knew my family would all but force me to have the child. I would ultimately be as resentful as my mother is of me. I don’t want my child to be a punishment, and no matter how hard I would’ve tried, you cannot fake being a mom without failing miserably at it. When I have children, I want to be able to give all the time and dedication that they deserve. My mother is wonderful in every single way, but I know that she resents me. Not openly, but you just know.

Even though we have a home, we can barely feed ourselves. We are worse off at this very minute than we were in April. Sitting in my bed an entire year later, it’s so hard to explain how fortunate I am that we as a couple decided what was best. Last year, my boyfriend had a great job. Less than 2 months after my abortion, his company went out of business. He works so hard doing odd jobs to just feed the two of us. I literally thought that last year was our rock bottom. We are so lucky that we saved as much as we did so that we wouldn’t miss house payments. It’s hard to put my feelings into words. We are not ashamed of our decision, but it definitely changed our entire lives. It’s extremely hard for me to say this, but since the date of conception, we have not been intimate. The event rocked us to the core. We aren’t sad about the potential child that we lost, but we are sad that we put ourselves in the situation. We are much stronger emotionally. I know that when we are ready, it will happen.

I have been in therapy for most of my life as an outlet, and she has helped me sort out the feelings completely. She said that I do not feel guilt for my actions, but I feel guilt for losing a very special experience that my boyfriend and I saw as our goal in life. I knew that she was right, it was so helpful to hear it come from someone else than me. We want to be parents. But both of us came from extreme poverty, and we refuse to subject a child to the hardships. Many say that I “have post abortion regrets”, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The only positive thing that has come from this speed bump in the road is that I have developed an extreme yearning to reach out and help other people in the same position. I have gone back to school, am working on my psychology degree, and volunteer at my local women’s shelter.

By facing my situation head on instead of burying it, I have matured and have found a purpose. I wouldn’t change a thing about the past.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking when I hold a friends baby, how that could have been me. It could have been wonderful, but then reality smacks me in the face and I immediately remember that I made the right choice, financially as well as emotionally. I don’t know myself well enough to instill any sort of morals or guidance yet, but I know that when I am sure, my family down the road will thank me for sacrificing when I was younger to build a better life for them.

I didn’t anticipate this being so long, but you have no idea how amazing it feels to let this flow out of me. I hope that I’m not the only one that feels this way. There are so many terrible rumors and misconceptions about abortion. I just want to make it a bit clearer for others lost in between the two extremes of emotions.

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