“I am a mother of one beautiful daughter, in a committed relationship, and I chose to have an abortion. It wasn’t an easy choice but I feel I made the right one for myself. If you are struggling, I hope my story helps in some way.
I’ll start with a little backstory. In college I went through a period when I wanted to fully live the college experience. To me, that meant drinking a lot and partying. It also meant having sex with someone I didn’t care about for the sake of having a good time. I ended up pregnant and contemplated abortion but I think I always knew I was going to have the baby in the end. I had a beautiful baby girl and she is the best part of my life. I raised her as a single mom, which has had its fair share of hard times.
Fast-forward 7 years; after a few empty relationships, I met the man of my dreams. Things with my boyfriend were easy from the first date. I have never had love for another person like this before (other than my daughter) and I have never felt so loved. What’s even better is he treats my daughter like his own. He’s a father himself and we both understand how tricky navigating the blending of families can be. We decided to take it relatively slow and just enjoy building our relationship over time. We live about 50 minutes apart and spend as much time as we can together. As tough as it is at times, we don’t plan to move in together until it feels absolutely right. We never wanted to force things.
This way of life was really good until about 8 months in, when I found out I was pregnant. It was something we had joked about a little but the reality was heavier than either of us could have expected. I found out I was pregnant at about 4 weeks and didn’t have the abortion until 7 weeks. The time in between was absolute mental torture for me. I would flip between keeping the baby and having an abortion a thousand times a day. Over those couple weeks I fell into one of the deepest depressions I had been in in a long time, maybe the worst one ever. My thoughts were racing all the time and I couldn’t shut it off. I felt alone, empty, afraid, and sad.
Some of the big things that went through my head were: I didn’t really think I wanted another child, I was terrified about experiencing post-partum depression again (which lasted about 18 months after my daughter was born), I wasn’t ready to change my living situation to allow for us all to live together, I wasn’t financially stable, I had future plans that didn’t involve a baby, etc. Then there was the one big thought of, if I had this baby I would love it so much and it would love me. That was the thought that I kept coming back to over time. Deciding was emotionally draining.
I made 3 different appointments with Planned Parenthood and subsequently cancelled each one. My boyfriend and I would talk in circles about what to do and where we stood. He was on the side of keeping it, mostly for moral reasons. We both knew no baby was best but couldn’t fathom going through with the abortion. We decided to keep the baby twice, and both times we slowly changed our minds after reality sunk in. I began reading abortion stories to give myself as much information as I could.
Finally after about 2 and a half weeks, I felt as ready as I ever would to go through with the abortion. I opted for the surgical abortion. In the end it felt right.
The night before the abortion I was supposed to take ibuprofen. Looking at the pills in my hand was the moment it felt real. I was literally preparing my body for an abortion. My boyfriend was with me while I cried. We talked about options again and again. We talked as the pills sat on the table for hours. At some point I was strong enough to take them. The abortion felt right again. That night we talked about our feelings and the what ifs together. We cried together. It was a night of little sleep.
The next morning I woke up feeling like I was in a dream. It was a weird feeling. We drove in the rain to Planned Parenthood and sat in the car for a while just talking about how hard the whole situation was. Finally our time was up and I couldn’t put off going inside any longer. On the way inside I was offered a pamphlet by a peaceful protestor. She didn’t come near me and I didn’t look at her. My boyfriend felt compelled to talk to her so he did while I walked inside. We were alone in the waiting room for a while and I remember feeling desperate for some kind of last minute clarity. A sign that this was right. I’m not sure what I was looking for or if it ever came.
I was called back after a little bit and taken to the bathroom to leave a urine sample and vaginal swab to test for STDs. I was then taken to a room for vitals and asked the usual doctor’s office questions. The only abortion related questions I can remember were about whether I was clear and confident with my decision (I wasn’t) and whether I wanted to see the ultrasound (I surprisingly did).
I was then taken into the room where the ultrasound was performed. The vaginal ultrasound was uncomfortable because I felt the urge to pee, but otherwise no big deal. At this point my boyfriend was able to join me, which made me feel so much better. Following the ultrasound, my cervix was numbed, meaning a needle was inserted into my cervix, which felt like a dull pinch. This part of the procedure took the most time because, as it turns out, the cervix bleeds a lot, and they had to spend some time stopping the bleeding. Completely normal from what I was told. It didn’t hurt but was a little uncomfortable. During this time another nurse gave me a Rhogam shot (because I’m Rh negative).
Once the bleeding stopped they told me I was ready for the procedure. But I wasn’t mentally ready so I asked for a minute. They told me to take my time. My boyfriend and I hugged and cried for a couple minutes until I felt I was ready. A nurse and a midwife came in to perform the abortion and another nurse stood by my side to talk to my boyfriend and I as a distraction and for support. They couldn’t have been a nicer, more comforting group of people.
I chose to have a surgical abortion with no sedation, which meant I was completely aware and could feel everything. There were 3 times that I was instructed to take a deep breath and let it out slowly. The first two breaths were followed by a couple seconds of sharp cramps. Nothing too terrible in my opinion. The last breath was followed by about 20-30 seconds of extremely painful cramps. I’m assuming this part was the scraping of the uterine wall. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, and this was hard for me. The good news was that it wasn’t that long and the pain died down really quickly when it was over. The whole procedure couldn’t have been more than 5 minutes. And it was over.
I laid there for a few minutes crying, feeling light headed, and feeling a bit of mild cramping. After vitals were taken I was escorted to the recovery area where I sat in a comfy chair with my feet up and a heating pad on my stomach. This was the best part. After about 10 minutes, I checked to make sure there wasn’t too much bleeding on my pad and I was ready to go.
I took my ultrasound pictures, my bag of condoms, and some paperwork and walked out the door. My boyfriend and I got lunch and then stayed in bed comforting each other the rest of the day. The weight of such a decision being finally lifted allowed me to feel an overwhelming sense of relief after the procedure was done. That was the biggest feeling I took with me.
I had bouts of incredible sadness throughout the day. I would cry if I thought about specific things like the gender or due date of the baby. Sometimes I would cry for seemingly no reason. I assume some of this was hormone related.
I don’t regret my decision but I think thinking about the what ifs is inevitable and has the potential to bring up sad feelings. Abortion, for me, was not an easy choice. But if you decide to make that choice, know you are not alone in the struggle. Your thoughts, feelings, and emotions are valid. It’s going to be okay, no matter which direction you decide to go.” —Anonymous