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District Of Columbia

Topics: Abortion
Area of Life Affected: Employment, Family Relationships

A Strong Foundation

My whole life all I’ve ever wanted was to be a mother. As a child I carried around my doll Judy as if she were my baby from the time I could remember. Judy even came with me to college (a little much, I know). I babysat in middle and high school, was a mother’s helper in the summers, and finally in college was a nanny. Suffice it to say, I love kids.

“Eventually we wanted to raise a family together, so we didn’t think there would be anything to discuss. We were wrong.”

I’ve also always wanted to be a loving wife and a successful businesswoman. It was so important to me that I had some financial independence and progressed along my career path before becoming a wife or a mother. My family jokes that they gave me a toy poodle for college graduation to keep me from having a baby for a few years while I focused on developing a strong foundation for my family – both with my boyfriend and my resume.

My longtime boyfriend and I took a break in 2008/2009. We got back together in the beginning of 2010 and things were going really well. At the end of 2010, he got a great opportunity to take his career to the next level, but would have to move from NYC to Florida for two years. My life in DC was in a really good place and I was supportive of him taking the risk now, before we were married or had kids. We would visit each other on weekends and make it work.

Three weeks before he was set to move to Miami, I had a weird feeling that I couldn’t shake. I took a pregnancy test to get some peace of mind before I was planning to head out for some shopping and a mani/pedi. To my extreme surprise, it was positive.

The next two weeks were some of the hardest in my life. My boyfriend and I had always said that if we got pregnant it would be a no-brainer – we would keep the baby. If things kept progressing as they were, we eventually wanted to raise a family together, so we didn’t think there would be anything to discuss. We were wrong.

There was a lot to discuss. We were 26 and lived in two different states. While I was making good money, I had little to no savings, certainly not enough to feel comfortable bringing a child into the world. I worked at a small company and would receive no maternity leave. My man had left his job and was about to move even further away from me to take another that would catapult his career in the right direction and give him the self-confidence he needed in his work life. We weren’t ready for this baby and couldn’t give him/her the life he/she deserved and that we wanted to provide a child.

We decided on an abortion. We weren’t ready to be parents. I felt so ashamed and scared. And I was generally surprised at my decision given my love of children and lifelong goal of being a mom. To deal with the emotional and physical pain of all of it, I took two weeks off of work telling them I had a medical emergency.

I felt like I had to suffer silently, which is rare for anyone who knows me. I share everything about myself and was voted most talkative in high school, a superlative that still rings true today. I have never told my parents or siblings – all of whom I am incredibly close to. This was really hard, as while we were determining how to proceed, it was Thanksgiving and we were surrounded by celebratory friends and family. The only people I told are my four best girlfriends from growing up. They weren’t judgmental at all, just sad that I was so distraught.

The actual experience of going to the clinic was awful. I went to the Planned Parenthood on 16th Street. There were so many protesters there that my boyfriend and I had to be escorted to and from my car to the front door by two PPFA staff members. The protesters were aggressive and shoving terrible photos in my face. They made me feel like I was scum. Once we entered the front door of the clinic, we had to speak with a woman behind bulletproof glass to get clearance to go into the waiting room. The whole experience was degrading and made me feel like a terrible person. None of that was PPFA’s fault—the doctors were all very nice—they were just trying to keep us safe.

I was early enough in my pregnancy to simply take a set of pills; one set at the clinic and another at home. It was incredibly painful and draining for a few days. While I knew we had made the right decision for us, the next few weeks and months were still very difficult, as I mourned the loss and came to terms with my decision. He/she would have been born on July4, which was our anniversary. What was once a day of celebration for us had now turned into a solemn day.

Fast forward to today. That boyfriend is now my husband and we are 7.5 months pregnant with our baby boy who we conceived on July 4. We are 31, have a wonderful marriage, a nest egg in the bank, live together in NYC and both have great jobs. We have developed the strong foundation that will give our baby the best chance of a happy and healthy life. We are ready to be parents.

Finally, I’m at peace with the decision we made to have an abortion in 2010. I still think about the what ifs and am ok with that. I want other women to know you are not alone. You have to do what is in the best interest of you and your child. No one gets to make that decision for you – not the government, your parents, society, your friends – only you.

I hope that one day I feel comfortable enough to share my story with my family and more openly with other women. I’m still too scared of what others will say and how they’ll see me. Thank you, Center for Reproductive Rights, for giving me a chance to tell my story here.

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