“I’m obsessed with peeing on sticks. For about two weeks out of the month, I pee on expensive strips of cardboard that tell me if I’m about to ovulate. Then I spend the next two weeks peeing on pregnancy tests, impatiently willing that stupid pink line to show up. I chart my basal body temperature, stare at my cervical mucous, and google every twinge and body ache.
You see, I’m trying to get pregnant. As frustrating as it is, I can’t just buy a pregnancy from Amazon Prime. Most women get pregnant within the first 6 months, but I’m not supposed to start worrying until I’ve been trying unsuccessfully for a year. So I’m waiting. And peeing on sticks.
According to the directions on my pregnancy and ovulation tests, I’m supposed to wait at least 5 minutes before reading the test results. Over the course of a year, I could spend one thousand, eight hundred and twenty-five minutes thinking about the events that led me to this point in my life while I wait for my pee to dry.
Every single time I pee on a stick, I remember my first pregnancy test. It was positive, of course - why else would I mention it here? It happened about 5 years ago, during a time in my life when my hobbies didn’t include peeing all over my hand for fun. I’ll never forget the sinking sense of dread I felt when that stupid pink line charged into my life for the first time. It showed up uninvited, threatening my freedom, my future, and my safety.
I vomited that day, not from the morning sickness that would soon follow, but from fear. I remember crawling back into bed crying. I nudged my husband, said “I’m pregnant, I guess I’m having an abortion” and went back to sleep.
At that point in my life, I was trapped in an abusive marriage with a partner who suffered from a mental health condition that turned even the smallest wave of emotion into a full-blown tsunami of fists and rage. We were barely surviving financially and I couldn’t get through the day without prescription medications. I never considered continuing the pregnancy.
After my abortion, I thought I would put the experience behind me and move on with my life, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. To my surprise, I didn’t feel regret, guilt, or shame after my abortion. I was overwhelmed with relief, gratitude, and hope. Making the choice have an abortion lifted an enormous weight off my shoulders and allowed me to think about the life I wanted for myself. My feelings of relief and hope told me that I was making the right decision. You can probably guess what happened next.
One good decision led to another, and five years later I’m sitting here peeing on sticks again. This time around, though, things are completely different. I’m in a happy, healthy marriage with a kind and supportive partner. I have a great career and a savings account that will cover my mortgage for a year if something happens. I’m still taking pills by the hand full, but they’re all vitamins. I’ve started collecting a few baby items, mostly politically-themed onesies and and diaper covers, in a box that sits in the back of my closet.
I’m looking forward to becoming a mother, adding an extra person to my family, and watching my child learn and grow. I know without a doubt that I would not be where I am today without my abortion.
Having the ability to choose not to become a parent when I wasn’t ready gave me the freedom to build an amazing life and prepare to become the parent I want to be. I’m going to keep peeing on sticks until I get another positive test. My life will probably keep changing, but there’s one thing that will always remain the same: I will always be thankful for my abortion.” —Sarah