“I had an abortion during my first year of college.” After I tell people that, the next thing I tell them is always, “I was being careful.” Looking back on it now, I don’t know why I felt the need to justify and defend myself. Part of it must have been that I was afraid of being judged or being seen as a slut. Because only sluts get pregnant, right? Sluts have a lot of sex, and always end up as a pregnant teenager with no future.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I was a straight-A student in high school. I scored a 2190 on my SAT and a 34 on my ACT. I passed all my AP tests with 4’s and 5’s and graduated as valedictorian of my high school. But throughout high school, I also had a couple of boyfriends and hook-up buddies in between those boyfriends. In total, I’d say I’ve had about 8 sexual partners. But I’m also Asian, nerdy, and I care about school and my future. I just never saw a problem with exploring my sexuality while excelling in school. Go ahead and hate me for enjoying sex and orgasms.
So anyway, I got pregnant. The truth is that I had been getting Depo-Provera, the birth control shot every 3 months from Planned Parenthood, behind my parents back. And according to Planned Parenthood, less than 1 out of 100 women get pregnant if they always use the shot as directed. And me — I always used it as directed. When I went in for my vaginal ultrasound, the technician reviewed my chart and seriously asked me if I was in the right room. I had never missed a shot, so it was incredibly unlikely that I was pregnant.
I always wondered why there was never a movie about a girl who gets pregnant and decides not to keep the baby. Not give it up for adoption, not raise it on her own, and not get married as a teenager either. Like actually not keep the baby; like, abortion. Maybe it’s because the entire movie would consist of a trip to a clinic and then lots and lots of crying.
For me, it was never a choice of “Will I keep the baby or not?” I didn’t even want to tell my parents I was pregnant. Pregnant?! I swear, they didn’t even know I wasn’t a virgin anymore, let alone pregnant. I saw abortion as the only path I could take that wouldn’t disrupt my college life; this “thing” would just be a blip on my radar that I would take care of.
“You’re about 7 weeks and 4 days along,” announced the ultrasound technician. She asked me if I wanted to see my baby and I declined. I didn’t want to make this real. It didn’t feel real. The “+” on the pregnancy test, the morning sickness, the bloating, the nausea; no — it wasn’t real. There wasn’t something growing inside of me. I scheduled my abortion for the following Friday.
They asked me if I would have someone take me to and from the clinic. I said I would have my friend with me. I lied. That Friday, I walked 2 miles to the clinic. After the procedure, I waited for about 30 minutes with a heating pad until I was stable and then I lied to the nurses, saying my friend was outside waiting for me. I walked 2 miles back to my dorm room. I bought some fries on my way back to school; that was the only solid food I was able to stomach for the past month.
I don’t know why, but afterwards I just felt so empty. Not that I had put on any weight or anything; I just felt physically empty. I could physically feel the lack of my baby’s presence. I wasn’t bloated anymore. I didn’t throw up anymore. I didn’t feel nauseous. It felt wrong to just go back to my life as if nothing had happened. I had erased all evidence of my baby.
After a couple months of therapy and many self-help books, I was finally able to cope with my abortion. Sometimes, I still think about how old my baby would be if I had decided to keep him or her. I also wonder if it would have been a boy or a girl. There are so many questions and so many things that I wish I could tell my baby. I wish I could apologize. I wish I could explain. I wish I could tell it how much I loved it, even though I didn’t want it.
There are some things in life that you will never get over. You will carry these things in your heart from the day you made your decision until the day you leave this world. They might be common knowledge, dark secrets, or white lies, but whatever it is, you hide it deep inside your soul under layers of scarring. After a while, what happened feels like a lifetime ago, something that you know happened, but still don’t really like it did. Something you can barely remember — probably because it hurt so much that you had to force yourself to forget it just to move on. And you will move on with your life, but at any moment, a reminder can send you spiraling back. Free-falling back into the hole you tried so hard to bury — to that decision that changed your life forever.