“I regret a lot of things. I regret dating that asshole in high school. I regret thinking nothing bad could ever happen to me. I regret having unprotected sex. I regret getting pregnant at sixteen. I would do all of those things differently if I had the chance.
I do not regret my abortion. I do not regret asking my friends for help. I do not regret telling my parents. I do not regret sharing my story.
When I was sixteen, babies were the farthest thing from my mind. I don’t remember the moment when I found out I was pregnant, but I do remember spending the next two days chugging water and peeing on sticks until I was no longer in denial. I told all of my close friends, and they helped me set up an appointment at Planned Parenthood.
I was getting an abortion, no other options ever crossed my mind. All my teenage brain understood was that I had contracted a fatal STI. It was never a person nor a baby, not a he nor a she. It was not even an it. I had a condition called pregnancy and I was having it fixed.
I had the pill abortion, and thanks to the codeine they prescribed for the pain, most of my memories of the actual abortion are quite fuzzy. The next day my mother took me shopping and told me she was proud of me for being brave. It seemed as though everything had worked out in the best possible way, until I returned to school.
My high school had 3000 students, and I as walked through the halls it felt like every one of them was staring at me. Word had gotten out. I wasn’t ashamed, but the way my peers were acting made it seem like they thought I should have been. Teenagers are horrible. My ex-boyfriend (the father) and his friends spread rumors that I had gotten pregnant because I cheated on him. I got anonymous messages online saying things like, “happy mother’s day” and “I saw you at Planned Parenthood.”
Boys seemed to think that because I’d had sex with one boy, I’d have sex with them too. They would ask me to sleep with them or they’d touch me without my permission. I started trying to get away from what had happened. I pretended I’d never had sex before and denied everything when people asked. And yeah, all of that made me feel pretty horrible, but there were good things that happened too. People I didn’t know sent me long messages of love and support. Friends and strangers stood up for me when they heard people talking about me behind my back. I regret that I didn’t always have the confidence to stand up for myself.
Now, I am twenty-two and I think I might want to have kids some day. I’m planning on getting a Ph.D. and traveling around the world before that happens, though. So, thank you for going through all of that, sixteen-year-old me, I know how hard it was.” — Chloe