I was 21 and in my third year of college – 20 years ago. I remember waiting for my period for what seemed like an eternity, but was really only a week or two. My roommates were absolutely convinced I was overreacting to the extent that they were more shocked than I was. I knew I was going to terminate the pregnancy, and I never swayed from that. I’ve never been so scared as I was making the phone call to tell my partner at the time, but he was incredibly supportive, luckily.
As soon as I made the decision it felt like another eternity until the appointment. A friend came with me (my partner lived out of state and wasn’t able to get to where I was). I also was mortified and didn’t want him to see me in whatever state I was going to be in.
I had a surgical abortion at Planned Parenthood around 6.5-7 weeks. The staff there was incredible. They knew how scared I was and were clear, calm, supportive, and most importantly never pressured me one direction or the other. They did however make sure all of my questions were answered and tried to prepare me as much as possible. They offered to let my roommate come in with me, but I declined and they said I could always change my mind and they’d get her. The nurse stood by and held my hand and talked to me throughout.
Was it painful? It was extremely, extremely intense and unpleasant. But it was also quick, less than 10 minutes. Emotionally, it’s complicated. I have never once regretted my decision, but I was so angry for a little while. Angry, ashamed, sad… but also unbelievably relieved it was over. I was balancing both sides of that for awhile. I would not have been able to care for a child. It would not have been fair to anyone involved.
Throughout these 20 years I thought about it in some capacity almost every day. Not all day every day, often just a passing thought. Then there was a day a few years down the road where I woke up thinking it all had been a dream, and realizing it wasn’t was hard. I still did not regret it. I now have a master’s degree, a thriving career, a wonderful husband and together, we have chosen not to have children.
My former partner is also married and does have children. We are still friends to this day, but not close particularly. It was traumatic for both of us and I think we forged a bond. We also loved each other back then. I have been allowed to live my life because I was given a choice. Most of my friends have children. Several have had serious complications or other traumas related to pregnancy. I would not have been able to withstand that at 21. I would have a child that would be the same age I was when this happened, which is just surreal. But as I’ve said, it’s been 20 years. I have no regrets and I will fight as long as I live to make sure women always have choices.
Submitted by: BA