I’m nineteen, a junior in college, and a part-time waitress. I’m single, don’t always (or ever) pay my bills on time, and sometimes I go a few days without eating an actual meal. These all play a part of who I am as a person, but what makes me whole is this—I’m the mother of a two-month-old baby.
The most common question I’ve been asked in the past two months is, “Did you ever consider having an abortion?” Even though this is a horribly inappropriate question to ask any mother no matter their age, I get asked it at least once a week.
The answer is yes. I thought about having an abortion. I almost chose not to have a child. I spent maybe too much time obsessing over it. And that’s okay.
I don’t know what person in my position wouldn’t have considered it, or at least have entertained the thought for a second. Even as I’m sitting here writing with my sleeping baby in the carrier on my chest, I think about what my life would be like if I chose not to have my baby.
I won’t say “chose not to become a mother,” because in my eyes I became a mother the moment I found out I was pregnant. But I knew I had the choice to stay a mother or not.
I was barely nineteen, single, and scared out of my mind. My ex and I had just broken up and I didn’t know how to tell him we were going to be parents, let alone telling my family, and I didn’t even know how to come to terms with those two pink lines staring back at me.
So I thought about an abortion. And I thought, and I thought, and I thought. And I called a couple doctors, and I cried a lot of tears. And I played my life out like a movie, a movie in which I didn’t have a child.
I would finish college, get a career, maybe buy a house. Meet someone, fall in love, and get married. Then have a baby. Maybe. I had a plan, and babies weren’t ever in it. I didn’t even know if I could take care of myself, let alone another human being.
When I envisioned my life with a child, it terrified me. Diapers, daycare, cries, and screams. I thought of all the reasons why I never wanted to raise another human being. But after looking at that stick, thinking about all those things that scared me, part of me couldn’t wait to do it.
Finding out you’re pregnant when you’re not is something I would never wish upon anyone. I would never wish the life that I have now on anyone—raising a child is hard. Being a teenager is hard. Doing both is freaking hell.
It’s also the best, most amazing thing I’ve ever done in my life.
Having to consider getting an abortion was the hardest decision I’d ever made. It wasn’t until I held my son for the first time that I knew, 100%, that I made the right decision.
Telling people that makes them uncomfortable, though, because there’s this stigma that I was supposed to be unbelievably excited and sure of everything the moment I found out I was pregnant.
Telling people I almost did have an abortion makes them squirm. Women aren’t supposed to do those things, let alone talk about it openly. People have told me “don’t ever tell your child that” or “better not tell him you and his dad weren’t together.” I’ve even had people tell me that I should get back with my ex for the “sake of my child.”
The things I’ve done, and the things I talk about, aren’t “okay.” They aren’t acceptable for a mother to say. The worst is when people ask what I would do if I got pregnant again—“get an abortion” isn’t what they want to hear.
But when it comes down to it, I’m not any less of a mother for having considered terminating my pregnancy. I’m no less of a mother for thinking that other women should have the choice to do it too. And I’m definitely not a bad mother for being honest with my son about that.
My baby is my pride and joy. He’s my heart, walking outside of my body. He’s the one thing in my life that I’m completely sure of. But I wasn’t always sure, and that’s okay. He didn’t always have my heart, and that’s okay.
I’m a human. I’m selfish. Having my child was selfish of me, just like having an abortion would have been. I chose what way I was going to be selfish, and that’s okay.
But next time you ask me, or any teen mother, “did you ever consider having an abortion?” don’t be surprised if the answer is, “yes, of course, and fuck off.”