"Out of all of the stories I’ve heard, I haven’t heard one exactly like mine. And that’s okay. I want to share my story on the off chance someone is out there experiencing something similar to me. I’m 32 years old. I am in a loving relationship with my boyfriend. I am a home owner, and I work full time in corporate America. I came into this process with an extreme amount of privileges. I have never physically wanted to have children... ever. In the midst of a global pandemic, and an unpredictable year, I found out I was pregnant. I had gone off birth control months prior because of side effects. I’d been monitoring my cycle so closely on my period app. My boyfriend and I used protection on days where I had a chance to get pregnant. The one month I was guilty of not monitoring it as closely, we weren’t careful. I knew immediately something was wrong when my period was a day late. My cycle was so regular up to this point. I took 4 pee stick tests. All came back positive. I was shaking, crying, and saying repeatedly, “I cannot have a child! Not now!”
I immediately knew what my choice was. The next day, I called planned parenthood who couldn’t get me in until I’d be 8 weeks along. I called preterm, and they were able to get me in for my initial consult at 6 weeks. I was relieved. I told a very small group of friends I knew wouldn’t judge me. One of which had had an abortion and was extremely knowledgeable. I eventually I told a friend in Tennessee. I later found out the day I told her, the state of TN was attempting to pass a 6 week heart beat Bill there that same day. I cried and was so angry. I explained to my friends who, like me, most hadn’t been aware that the earliest I could get an appointment was at 6 weeks. Because that’s the earliest you can see a pregnancy on an ultrasound. These bills do nothing but make it impossible for women to access abortions.
Anyways, I had always been pro choice. But was raised in a pro-life household. Therefore, I couldn’t tell my immediate family what was happening. That is honestly what tore me up the most about my decision. Because I’m so close to them. I knew they would judge me, and try to shove their opinions on me. But this is MY choice. Thankfully it was a choice my boyfriend supported. He told his family. In telling his family, his father shared his own story. When he was in college, he drove his girlfriend to the nearest state where it was legal so she could terminate her pregnancy. I feel there are so many other people out there like my boyfriends father who have stories that will never be told. I also felt a lot of shame and guilt because a few months prior to this I returned to the catholic faith. I found a church community that aligned with my beliefs. where I felt I wouldn’t be judged. But then here I was having an abortion. The thing the Catholic Church is super obsessed with judging. I kept asking god why I was brought back to the faith just to do this. Was I wrong? Would I be damned to hell for this? I prayed and meditated and reflected in the weeks leading up to my appointment, and my procedure. Jesus came to me several times and insisted there would still be a seat at his table. He held my hand and insisted I was forgiven, because there was nothing to forgive. He said god gave me a moral conscience and the free will to decide for my life. He said my heart and mind were clear and pure in my decision. Dare I say, this was the most pro-life thing I could’ve done. I know the old White men screaming at me when I walked into the clinic would disagree, but their opinions don’t matter.
The day of my consult I was amazed at how empathic everyone was. The staff at preterm are so wonderful. My patient advocate showed me actual photos and illustrations. Because so much of the propaganda on the internet is awful and photoshopped. I looked at the embryonic fetus at 7 weeks, and didn’t see a baby. I didn’t see a life fully developed. I didn’t see anything that could hold a soul. I was relieved and at peace. My procedure was done at 7 weeks and 2 days into the pregnancy. I had decided to have a surgical abortion, and elected to have IV sedation. I don’t remember the actual procedure at all. I remember before when the advocate moved my legs in the stirrups. They were way more comfortable than traditional stirrups I’d been in for a Pap smear. I blinked, and then they were waking me up to tell me I was done. I couldn’t believe it! I cried tears of relief. For weeks I’d been so afraid I would feel pain during the surgical procedure. I was taken to recovery and sat in a cozy recliner with a blanket and heating pad. I rested there for a while, got after care instructions, got my Iv taken out, and was free to go. My boyfriend took me to McDonald’s, my biggest pregnancy craving it turns out, to get breakfast. I puked while we waited in the drive thru, but thankfully preterm had provided me a bucket.
I’m writing this after I took a nice 2 hour nap and am resting in bed with my heating pad. My cat is sleeping next to me. He’s been so protective of me the last few weeks. He knows I’ve been experiencing a lot. I know there will be mood swings, and a lot of emotions coming down off of these hormones. But I have zero regrets about this entire process. Going through this has given me a whole new respect for those working for reproductive rights. I hope to become a patient advocate myself someday. My boyfriend talked to the clinic escorts while he waited for me, and plans to be a much needed cis het white male presence in clinic escorts. He’s 6’ 3 and a strong build so I know he will intimidate some of those protestors! We are both changed by this process for the better. We are even stronger as a couple now. I hope my story shows that you can be successful, in your 30’s, have a healthy relationship, be a faithful follower of Christ, And get an abortion. And you can move on with your life!" - Katelyn