I first suspected I was pregnant during my eight-hour flight back the States. While I was combing through photos from my enchanting week abroad, the possibility crossed my mind. ‘No,’ I remember laughing to myself, ‘That doesn’t happen to girls like me.’ After all, I’m a typical 22-year-old American girl who follows the rules, tries to do good deeds, and listens to country music like it’s going out of style. Apparently that doesn’t stop one from getting knocked up.
My period was a week late before I inconspicuously picked up a home pregnancy test from a Wal-Mart two towns over. The result was no surprise by that point, and my first instinct was to name my best friend ‘godmother.’ Throughout that afternoon and evening, the reality of having a child began to settle in, and suddenly the conversation shifted from baby names and nursery colors to ‘holy shit, what the fuck do I do?’
Facebook was my only means of communication with my foreign beau, so I hesitantly sent him a message with the news, expecting him to never respond again. Surprisingly, he was very concerned and thoughtful… At least at first. The more we talked about it, the more I realized that carrying the child to term was a reckless plan. I knew that I would have support from my friends and family, and I am financially very stable, however the idea of being a single mother quickly became daunting. My best friend confessed that, as a child of split parents, she would never forgive herself if she brought a child up in a broken home. My beau insisted that he refused to be a dead-beat father, and while there’s a solution to that, it just was not a feasible option; we’re citizens of two different countries, and neither of us are in professions in which relocation is a simple task. So even if one of us were to pick up and move to the other, would supporting a family on a single income be a responsible thing to do?
I spent a lot of time going back and forth with my decision. I read countless articles and blogs, and ultimately decided to terminate the pregnancy. Let me clarify that it was far from an easy decision. Even just a few weeks along, I felt an innate love for the child growing inside me.
I wondered what he or she might be like and how I would feel as a mother. I imagined playing dress-up and Hot Wheels, setting up lemonade stands on summer days, and experiencing things like Disney World for what would feel like the first time all over again.
It all sounded wonderful and possible until I reminded myself I’m only 22. I’m supposed to be pushing the boundaries of selfishness. So when my beau encouraged me to write a list of all the things I want to do with my life, I realized that there is so incredibly much that I have to look forward to – without having a child. I want to be spontaneous, I want to travel, and I want to drink as much moscato as I damn well please.
My first stop was Planned Parenthood, which referred me to a local abortion clinic. My beau consistently checked on me throughout the days that followed, even when I knew it was difficult for him to message me while at work, and he was always ready to give me a pep talk before my appointments. The workers at the clinic were incredibly kind as well, but having to be ushered past the protesters outside the clinic was terrifying. It all was very surreal, and I was thankful for both my beau’s and best friend’s support.
On the day of my medical abortion, I felt oddly at ease. Swallowing the Mifeprex pill, or “the point of no return” as the nurse called it, I didn’t hesitate or second-guess myself. I didn’t even feel the need to look over the list my beau had helped me construct as motivation to terminate the pregnancy. I was confident in my decision. Seeing as I’m currently living at home, with my unknowing mother, I chose to check myself into a hotel room for that night, where I inserted the four Misoprostol tablets and waited for the pregnancy to pass.
I knew that my beau was on vacation that weekend, but he’d promised to keep in touch as best as he could. Even my lowest expectations were apparently too high, as I failed to hear from him more than once that entire night. While I was writhing on the bathroom floor in pain that made me want to die, I’d been abandoned. My best friend tried to comfort me as best as she could across the distance, but what really stung was going through with the abortion without my beau. My mind was a mess as it was, without adding to it words from a boy who swore he’d be there for me but wasn’t.
The excruciating cramping eventually subsided as the dull, constant heartache settled in. I did not deeply mourn the loss of my child, for I am certain it was the best decision I could have possibly made. However, I did stupidly grieve the ending of a far-fetched relationship with my beau who, a few days later, explained that he was feeling overwhelmed and needed some space (as if 4,000 miles isn’t room enough).
As I’m beginning to move on, I’m starting to see life with wider eyes. Terminating my pregnancy has instilled in me a drive to do and see absolutely everything this great world has to offer. I’m booking flights to Europe, then South America, then maybe even Africa after that. Getting into shape has never been so appealing, and I’ve already got my “skinny outfits” picked out for when I get fit. I’m putting more effort into my friendships, and I’m relishing my freedom, which is something I’d always taken for granted before. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I’m bound to make plenty more, but taking my life back is not one of them. Some may say that God will punish me for terminating my pregnancy, but I say thank God I had an abortion.