Three days after my 21st birthday, I had an abortion.
This isn’t something I regret. It will never be something I regret because I can’t fathom where I would be if I hadn’t.
Actually, I can.
I would be stuck linked forever with a guy that I’d only known for a few months, living in a small town in a smaller state, potentially with no college degree or any real job opportunities beyond waitressing.
There are those that will call me selfish, but I can’t care about them because it wasn’t their choice; it was mine.
Regardless, there are things they don’t tell you about having an abortion. Sure, they tell you all about the procedure and how you’ll feel and the sensitivity and what you should do in the future so you’re not a repeat customer. But there are things they won’t tell you.
They won’t tell you how to spend the few weeks between the “discovery” and appointment. The morning sickness, the mood swings, the anger and the fear and the bitterness and the crying in your car and the lying to your friends and family. Because when you’re pregnant for real, these are all things that are worth it in the end.
They won’t tell you how it feels to tell the people you love and watch their faces fall when they ask what you’re going to do and you reply—without hesitation—that you’re going to terminate. They won’t tell you about the disappointment and how the ones that know will never look at you the same.
They won’t tell you that you’ll speak to the baby growing within you, knowing that you’ll never tell him the tales of throwing up in a Dunkin’ Donuts bathroom or how you named him without ever knowing he was a “he” or how you told him how much you loved him even though you would never meet him.
They won’t tell you about the humiliation and embarrassment of having to walk into the clinic. Some times there will be protestors; some times (like for me) it will be one lone police officer who has no sympathy in his eyes but instead cold judgment.
They won’t tell you about the relief that you’ll feel when it’s over, because that would make you out to be heartless. Or how you’ll immediately feel free then sick with guilt, then happy because your future still stretches out before you.
They won’t tell you that every year, on the day that it happened, you’ll think about the loss. Because it is a loss. Deliberate or not, you’ve lost something that can never be replaced and it will always be the one choice in your life that you can’t forget that you made but you can’t ever talk about.
They won’t tell you that you’ll have calculated out your due date and therefore how old your child would be. They won’t tell you how you’ll spend time—maybe on a random day in the middle of the year that smacks you in the face with remembrance—Googling “child development” to see what he would have been like. Would he have been sweet? Clever? Sullen? Lonely? Happy?
They won’t tell you that you’ll forget about it most days. Because in the end, it’s not a tattoo that you’ll wear, branded to your skin like a scarlet letter. It’s simply a memory, something that happened in your life, a choice that you made.
It was the right choice but not the easiest one.