Draw the Line

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Topics: Abortion, Contraception
Area of Life Affected: Education, Family Relationships


No Fairy Tale

I moved to Utah when I was 22 with a man I thought to be my future husband. A year or so after our move, I discovered that I was pregnant. I thought I had the flu, but an older sister who happened to be a mother of three insisted I take a pregnancy test by showing up at my work with a test.

“Children weren't a part of his future—a reality my heart was crushed by.”

I went to the bathroom to appease her and of course to prove her wrong; being the youngest of six I was accustomed to doing so. To my surprise, but not my sister’s, I came out of the restroom with a positive pregnancy test.

She said that I needed to go to a doctor to confirm the test, and I went straight to Planned Parenthood, which I had been using since I started having sex when I was 16. They confirmed my pregnancy, and I don’t remember much after that. I was in shock because I was on birth control, and even though I heard of women getting pregnant on birth control I just assumed as long as I was on it I was good.

Later that night I found myself talking to my boyfriend on our couch. Before telling him, I played the scenario in my head: I would tell him and at first he would be shocked, then ecstatic. He would pick me up and twirl me around the room as if it was the happy ending to a fairy tale and we would live happily ever after. The reality was very different.

After I told him, he asked me if I was serious. I of course was and happy. I couldn’t help but smile. He was looking at the floor and when he looked up, my smile went away. He wasn’t happy; he looked concerned and said, “You need to have an abortion; we can’t afford a child right now.”

I didn’t know what to say. I thought we wanted to same things and children were definitely a part of our future. But children weren’t a part of his—a reality my heart was crushed by later.

I remember thinking to myself that he was in shock and needed time, that he just needed time to realize that I was carrying our child and would change his mind and want us to start a family. I’ll never forget the car ride when I realized I was going to have an abortion.

We were driving and I was on the phone telling my friend from high school that I was pregnant but wasn’t sure if I was going to keep it. She told me that I sounded really happy that I was pregnant and asked, “Why have an abortion if you’re happy?” I remember telling her that my boyfriend brought up the reality of our financial situation, and it might not be the smartest idea to have a baby at this moment in time.

Once I got off the phone, he asked me why I kept telling my friends and family that I was pregnant when we weren’t sure that we were going to keep the baby. I felt ashamed at that moment. My excitement was no longer allowed and I realized that he didn’t want to have a child. I didn’t want to end up being a single mom and have a child with someone who didn’t want one.

The abortion process wasn’t easy but I was lucky. At the time my boyfriend’s insurance had paid for it 100 percent because the company’s insurance plan was based out of New York. I remember going to a class that made me, the other women, and their partners considering abortion watch a video on the gestational life of a fetus. I felt awful and ashamed. As if what I was doing was something bad.

I was almost 12 weeks along and had to have a D&C. The day of my appointment, I remember going in and I forgot to take my ibuprofen an hour before as instructed. My boyfriend came in the room with me, and I remember lying down and having oxygen over my mouth. The doctor came in and didn’t even acknowledge me, or if he did I don’t remember his demeanor being kind and friendly. He came in and sat in between my legs and started the D&C. I remember excruciating pain and it not ending.

Tears rolled down my cheek and I asked the nurse through the mask why it was hurting so bad. I remember her soft touch and voice as she held my hand and explained that they were contracting my uterus. She stood at my head and stroked my hair throughout the rest of the procedure. Even though the procedure was probably only 10 or 20 minutes, it felt like hours. I don’t remember the nurse’s name or face, but I remember her loving spirit and touch.

After the procedure I sat in a narrow room with reclining chairs lined up against each wall. Other women were sporadically occupying some of them. One of the assistants gave me crackers and juice and told me I could sit there as long as I needed to. I felt very weak and nauseous. She gave me something for the pain and nausea. I sat there and waited till I felt okay enough to leave. My boyfriend held me as we walked out of the building. As we were walking to the car, I started sobbing.

It’s been almost 10 years since my abortion. I felt ashamed for the longest time about it and didn’t want to admit that I’d had one until the attacks on Planned Parenthood and abortion went viral. I now know that I did what I needed to do at the time and I followed what was right for me. I saw how stressed my mom was raising us when she divorced my dad, and how she wondered where she was going to bring in money for the family.

I knew that I wanted to be with someone to share the joy of having a child and not be discouraged from day one. I had an abortion and because of it, I finished my bachelor’s degree and have had the opportunity to live my life for me. I came out of the abortion “closet” and posted it on Facebook. It’s important to promote the reality of abortion and not the shame that so often surrounds it.

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