I’ve read countless stories on various blogs, especially in recent months, of women who have had abortions for medical reasons, who had support and insurance and all of the resources in the world, of women who struggled with the decision before deciding it was right for them, and of women who just simply knew they weren’t ready for children without giving it a second thought. The funny thing about my story is that it resembles so many of theirs in countless ways, except for the fact that it doesn’t at all.
I found out I was pregnant in January of 2013. I had only been seeing my boyfriend (let’s call him Kyle) for about three months, and had slept with his brother the previous November, justifying it with the fact that I only hung out with him initially because I wanted his brother anyway. I was a train wreck. We were in an “off” period of our time together (because of the brother), and even at our best, we were the worst. We didn’t know how to communicate, care for, or support one another, and we didn’t care.
The day before I found out I was pregnant, I took a test in Kyle’s small bathroom. I had taken a few before, having always been a paranoid young woman, and felt that I was just being silly again; there was no way I was actually pregnant. I exited the bathroom all smiles, revealing to him the negative result. We agreed that was great news and continued to eat dinner and watch TV, later having sex before another argument began. We broke up again that night.
The following afternoon, I went to my gynecologist for a routine checkup. I mentioned that I was late and a little paranoid, but assured her it happened “all the time.” She wisely made me take a test, and ten minutes later came in the room with a concerned look on her face. “It says you’re somewhat positive for pregnancy,” she said, as if this result had never existed before this moment.
“I’m…..What?” I asked, even more confused than she.
“Well, your urine test resulted in what’s called a ‘faint positive’… When did you have unprotected sex last?”
Well, this was a loaded question. Kyle and I had the adorable habit of getting drunk, having an argument, making up, having wild unprotected sex anywhere we possibly could, and never remembering it the next day. I quietly told her I couldn’t be sure. She suggested a blood test, and a few minutes later, I was told that I would know within an hour whether the test was truly positive or not.
The next 47 minutes of my life were pure anxiety. I tried to go back to school to study, but couldn’t concentrate on anything but my failed relationship and potential risk for a child growing in my abdomen. I was only 20, had a part time retail job, and was a junior in college. I was not ready for this. But at the same time, my dream since I was a child had always been to be a mother. I have always supported abortion and the right to choose, but immediately followed my position on the subject with, “But I don’t think I could ever do it.” I genuinely didn’t believe I could, up until the minute I did.
After the initial shock of the confirmation phone call from a very concerned nurse wore off, I managed to text Kyle. We hadn’t spoken all day and I’m still not sure he even knew I had an appointment. When his only response was “At work,” I became extremely upset and ran to my best friend’s (let’s call him Matt) house. Matt was also Kyle’s best friend, so by the time I arrived at his apartment, hysterical, confused, and angry, he already knew what was wrong. He opened the door, handed me a glass of water, and walked me to his couch. He waited patiently for me to start talking.
Matt and I only spoke of my situation briefly before he distracted me away from hysteria, our conversation consisting mainly of my anger that Kyle could text him but not manage to respond with more than 2 words to me. After all, I was the one carrying his child. Matt offered little comfort, due solely to the fact that he agreed that Kyle was being an asshole. Hours passed, Kyle’s shift ended, and he beckoned me. Despite my anger, I, as always, did what he asked and left the safety of Matt’s apartment for the impending disaster that was Kyle’s house.
The following hours are a blur. I have two faint memories from the rest of my evening; the first is of Kyle seeing me and immediately refusing to make eye contact or greet me for what seemed like days but was in reality roughly an hour. The second memory I have is, after small amounts of conversation, a few tears on my part, and an agreement to sleep in the same bed, in the early hours of the following morning, waking up to his soft embrace, and feeling a brief moment of comfort, followed immediately by a hushed but confident, “We aren’t keeping it.”
What I feel is so strongly differing in my story as compared to others’ is the lack of compassion, conversation, choice, and respect that went into my decision to have an abortion. I had only known that I was pregnant for less than 24 hours, but I was already being told by the father that there was no way I would be having his baby. I had such a small inkling of what it was I wanted at this point that I was easily swayed to believe we shouldn’t keep our child, and that it wasn’t even worth discussing.
To be completely clear, I firmly believe this result would have been the same regardless of his cooperation in a conversation regarding its fate. I strongly believe I did the right thing, and I hold absolutely no regrets aside from who I happened to procreate with. That being said…
The day of my abortion, Kyle drove me in complete silence to the doctor’s office. I had scheduled the appointment three weeks prior (my local Planned Parenthood only did the procedure on Fridays and were booked heavily). I had made two feeble attempts to tell him I was keeping it, but knew in my heart each time that it was not the right choice. He had ignored me for days each time. With an unsure heart, I emptied my entire bank account, dug around in my car and house for spare change, and borrowed $30 from Kyle.
This was all he was willing to spare for the termination of our mistake. I had insurance through my parents, but despite their extremely liberal views, they do not believe in abortion, and I knew if I told them I was pregnant they would convince me to keep it. So I kept my pregnancy- and abortion- a secret from everyone I loved except for Kyle, Matt, and two close friends, and paid for it myself.
We sat in the waiting room in more silence. Kyle was texting other women on his phone while his current girlfriend was waiting to abort his child. I had brought some homework but couldn’t concentrate. I waited for an hour before being summoned, and when the nurse asked if he would be joining me, Kyle immediately said “Nope,” and went outside to smoke a cigarette.
The four rooms I spent that afternoon in were cheery yellows, pastel purples, and spring-like blues, and the women I met throughout the day, nurses, doctors, and other patients, were all the kindest, gentlest of sorts. I was asked if I was being forced into this decision (which I was absolutely not, for those who might have ignored my statement of confidence), given an ultrasound but not shown the photo (because as the nurse put it, “that is barbaric unless you’d like to”), given multiple after care instructions and reassuring pats of the hand, and signed what seemed like dozens of forms. The male doctor who completed the procedure asked me about school, joked with me about cats, and told me he thought I did a good job.
I wasn’t alone, but my strongest memories of this day are of feeling cold, utterly alone, broken, angry, and gray.
We left the office after four hours in complete silence. He did not hold my hand on our way to the car, seem to take notice of my wincing as I sat down in the passenger seat, or oblige my previous request for hot chocolate. Kyle was stone cold until we reached his house. He waited for me to open my door before he opened his, and he walked ahead of me into his entry way. He left the storm door ajar and expected me to follow him. The next day was Valentine’s Day. He made me a quick dinner and sat down to watch TV. About an hour later, he invited me to lie on his chest. I felt, for the first time all day, that I would be okay.
The following day, I had to work, but my supervisor was one of the few who knew my situation and he allowed me to sit. About halfway through my shift, I broke out in tears, the hormones from my new and old states colliding with one another. He immediately sent me home out of compassion. I had made Kyle a Valentine and bought him a present that morning, and I put it in his locker for him to find at the end of his shift.
Two hours later, Kyle texted me the following, “I know you’re going through a lot, but I can’t do this anymore. We aren’t together anymore.”
This was the final time Kyle and I would break up. After a few days of recovering from the procedure, I took my life back. I started working harder, taking more shifts, caring more about classes, and spending time with people who cared about me. Two months later, Matt and I realized we were in love, and the only pang of guilt I have ever felt for my abortion was the moment in which he quietly and drunkenly told me in the middle of a party, “I just feel like if it had been us, we would have kept the baby.” He later apologized for making this statement. We’re getting married next spring, and neither of us has spoken to Kyle in more than passing for over a year.
I believe in abortion because I believe in a person’s (or couple’s) right to choose their fate. Had I had Kyle’s baby, I would likely have never fallen in love with Matt. I would not have graduated college or found my current job; I would have an innocent baby in a tumultuous relationship with a man I never really liked. I would be in the same sad position as the current mothers of his now two children. I would be a mother, yes, but not on my terms, and really, what is better for a child than bringing it into a safe, happy environment? Matt and I plan to do just that when the time is right for us.