I was 19 when I found out I was pregnant. I went through my pregnancy wearing rose-colored glasses. I had never been around babies or young children growing up, so I was virtually clueless about what my future held.
“My abortion gave me the opportunity to ensure a better future for the child I already have.”
I love my son. He is my world. However, the situation in which I had him was not ideal.
I had moved back in with my parents before I was pregnant in order to save money. Unfortunately, because my pregnancy was so rough on my body, I had quit my job a month before giving birth. I soon realized that there was no way I could afford to pay for childcare so that I could go back to work. My choices were slim.
While I was trying to figure out a way to financially support myself and my son, his father was developing a severe opiate addiction. My life was an endless battle of trying to escape a hole that continued to get deeper. I was so convinced that I was supposed to be a perfect mother, I failed to realize the severe depression I was suffering from. I was afraid of being alone and becoming a stereotype that I subjected myself to a life much harder than it would have been had I not gotten pregnant.
When I found out I was pregnant again at 21, I was a mess of emotions. Part of me was excited because I knew that I enjoyed being a mother and that I could offer so much love for another child. The other side of me was weary. It was only a couple months before that I was finally able to admit my depression and seek help for it. I had a new job and I was finally starting to save money so I could get an apartment for my son and I. My boyfriend had only been clean for a couple months and we were finally working on rebuilding our relationship. I didn’t want to feel the disappointment and negativity that would inevitably come from everyone because I was pregnant again.
I battled with myself over the decision of whether to keep the pregnancy or not. I grew up in a very religious family, and it had been ingrained in me how wrong abortion was. Despite being pro-choice myself, I couldn’t help but remember the strong beliefs of my family. My mother would cry when she heard about abortion in the news, my grandmother frequently sat across the street from Planned Parenthood and prayed the rosary, and I constantly saw pamphlets from church about ending abortion. I worried they would hate me if they knew what I wanted.
Ultimately, I made the decision to end my pregnancy. And despite my initial desire to keep the baby, I know I made the right choice. I knew it while I waited in Planned Parenthood among other women who had came to the same decision. I knew while my doctors spoke softly and encouragingly through my procedure. I know it now when I look at the future I am creating for myself and my son. I do not know if I will have more children or not, but I know if I do, it will be when I can give them the life they deserve and a mother who can give her all.
No one should be pressured into having a child for any reason. My abortion gave me the opportunity to ensure a better future for the child I already have. I will never know what would have happened if I had not had the option to choose, but no one should have that choice taken from them. I should not be considered lucky that I had the option to go to Planned Parenthood when I needed it. This should be the standard for all women everywhere.
Thank you to the attendants that walked me from my car to the clinic. Thank you to the nurses that spoke to me as a human being, not a pariah. Thank you to the doctor that happily explained each step of the procedure to me and gave me her hand in comfort. And most of all, thank you to all of the women who fought and continue to fight so that I can have control over my reproductive rights.