It was two days after Valentine’s Day when I discovered that I was pregnant. The father and I weren’t talking to each other anymore; we had recently called off our four-month relationship about two weeks before the Ready First commercial on VH1 urged my gut to purchase a test.
I was living with my mother and her husband two months after completing graduate school in education. At 26, I didn’t even have a teaching job because it was the middle of the school year, I obviously didn’t have health insurance, and I could barely afford a pregnancy test.
There were so many thoughts racing through my head when I first saw the positive plus sign on the test stick:
How am I going to afford this child if I can’t take care of myself?
What is my mother going to think?
Why do I care what my mother thinks?
How can I be a mother myself?
My reputation in the family is ruined.
The psychology of this child is going to be damaged when he finds out that his parents were broken up—and not in love—when he was conceived.
Why would I even tell him that?
Maybe I can make it work with the ex…
Looking back, I honestly can’t remember too much when I discovered the positive sign. There was only the knee-jerk response from my childhood at a parochial elementary school: “Well, I’m going to keep it no matter what because it’s the right thing to do.”
The conversation with the ex instigated everything that would happen in less than a week. He wanted an abortion and I never imagined myself in this position. Am I willing to have an abortion? To completely go against my moral beliefs?
I called the baby “Zy” (short for zygote) and talked to it when I was alone (which was most of the time during that week). I told it that even though I was poor that at least I would work hard and love it; that I would work no matter what for scholarships and opportunities. That I would do anything for it. I told myself, and “Zy,” a lot of things.
I stayed up Googling “I’m going to have an abortion” and stayed up for hours reading discussion forums of women in the similar situations. One post, I remember, was written by a pastor, priest, or religious person of some sort, who made his point in capital letters: “WOMEN, YOU ARE ALL LOST. I WILL PRAY FOR YOUR SOULS. MAY GOD BE WITH YOU AND MAY YOU MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE.”
I read messages from all types of women who were or had been pregnant: Women who had abortions and regretted it after only living in depression persuading women against it. Women who said it was that the fetus was a cluster of cells and not to feel guilt during the abortion. Women who wanted children and asked everyone wanting abortion to consider adoption. Women whose husbands or boyfriends were making them having an abortion even though they didn’t want to do so, yet they love their men so much. Women asking for home remedies on how to have an abortion. Truly young girls – 13 and 14 – who didn’t know what steps to take in this situation and were asking for someone to tell them what to do.
Many others, too.
I Googled, “Is abortion murder?” and read about how my seven-week “Zy” has a heartbeat, is growing at rapid rate, and is – apparently – the most conscious being who feels what the mother feels.
This is what I was feeling at the time: My brother had passed six years previous from an overdose of prescription drugs from his bipolar disorder that he became addicted to. It is a firm belief that my brother would not have died if my parents had divorced and my father had moved away out-of-state shortly after.
Never would I want to be that selfish of a parent to my child. Never would I want my child to feel what I had felt as a child—extremely abandoned, emotionally insecure and unexpressed while trying to make sense of what it is to be “normal.”
I worried about the psychology of “Zy” entirely. I kept thinking of my mother’s phrase through raising five kids alone: All you can do is love them.
But I wanted to do so much more.
And through all this thinking, I thought how I couldn’t do this. Really, I couldn’t do this at all. I didn’t like how the ex had turned out emotionally; he wasn’t there for me and he certainly wasn’t there for himself. And to be honest, I didn’t really like myself for that matter.
I had an abortion a week later. I’m not going to spare the gory details and detached emotions felt at the time when sitting at Planned Parenthood.
Looking back, I am so far removed from the person that I was over four years ago. Writing this out was such task because that was my lowest and longest year of my life.
I cannot believe what I put up with from so many people for so long, especially myself, because I never imagined in that position redefining, and better shaping my morals and actions today.
Do I believe that I committed murder? Absolutely not. Do I believe that I’m a better person for that decision? Absolutely. I don’t regret my decision or the experience associated with it because of it made me who I am today and it affects my positive decision-making which I wouldn’t have gained with this experience.
I feel so lucky to live in a period where women are granted the choice to have an abortion. It was all my choice. And I am so proud of my accomplishments which was directly influenced by that decision.
It’s disheartening that read the politics about the backwards idea to revoke women that very right to have a choice. It is purely and entirely the woman’s decision and no one can make that action but herself. Yes, the decision affects everyone in her life: the child, the possible partner, and herself and (if you want to think very deeply about this) everyone else in the world.
When Googling information about abortions when I was pregnant, there was no doubt that I was absolutely lost. No question. No one could help me but myself. Everything about this abortion was a very clear action and choice that would define my character today.
And I’m glad it happened.