Submitted by H.H.
I’m an only child. I’m pretty sure my mom didn’t want me. Even through this hard truth, she still remains the love of my life. She described my conception as a ‘planned accident’. My dad wanted a litter and my mom wanted none. When she was 32, I think my parents felt the pressure of the dwindling eggs and decided to compromise. They decided they wouldn’t use protection for six months, and if my mom didn’t get pregnant then they would tie her tubes at the end of it and never talk about it again. I was conceived the first month.
My mom died three years ago. She loved me more than the world; you could feel it. However, I know that I was not her plan, and it makes her death at 59 so much harder for me. If there had never been a me, I think she would have traveled the world more, divorced my dad and found the love of her life (or at least would have lived happily single), and would have made six figures or more after building her own business.
After her death, I was lost. She was my compass. I didn’t do anything without calling her first. I called her multiple times a day. How could I live the rest of my life without her? So, I kind of gave up. I was on auto-pilot. I didn’t care for years about anything. I went to work, came home, watched tv, went to bed. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. My marriage suffered, I quit my masters program, I developed a lot of bad habits, gained weight, isolated myself from friends and family, and unfairly hated everyone in the world who had a living mother.
I’ve never had the burning desire to have children. I don’t hate children, but I didn’t grow up around them. When I am around them I feel out of place, like they can see right through me and know that I am terrified of them. I don’t know what they like, or what they eat, or what pretending and play time are. As an only child, I was raised like an adult. I didn’t watch cartoons, my mom didn’t talk to me like a pet, I HATED birthday parties, especially my own (too many screaming children)
That’s why I got the most effective birth control on the market available to me. The copper IUD…99.6% effective it says on the attached literature. Its supposed to last for ten years; mine worked for three.
Its not odd for me to have irregular periods. One every six weeks, one every two…it just kinda has always skipped around. Never bothered me. Until my boobs were killing me, and I hadn’t gotten it for eight weeks. I took the pregnancy test in a bar before happy hour with a friend, because thats just how sure I was that it was negative. WRONG.
I called my husband and he thought someone else had died. I couldn’t stop sobbing. I just kept thinking (as women are conditioned to do in this situation), “Well I’m married. My husband loves me. We make good money. We have no debt. There is no reason why I can’t have this baby.” Then the fear crept in. On the surface I was the best case scenario for an unplanned pregnancy. So many of my friends had delivered “The happiest accident I could have ever dreamed of!!” (barf). I knew I could do it, I’m a nurse for goodness sake. I can do this. I can do this. I have to do this. There is no other option for me. I would be a “terrible” person if I considered my own wishes above the wishes of this potential life that has taken residence in my uterus (without permission). My sweet, supportive husband was afraid to make a statement one way or the other. I was 99% sure he did not want a baby right now, but he would never say that without hearing it from my lips first. He would be here no matter what I decided was best for our family.
So it was me. I had to do the hard part. There was a resounding NO in the back of my mind. Was that the pregnancy hormones? Can I even trust myself with this decision right now…I mean it has to be the hormones talking when I actually was considering going through with an unwanted pregnancy for the sake of a potential person who no one had never seen, met, or heard. I mean it could be the next Hitler for all I know. So I thought about it from “IT’s” point of view.
“IT” would come into a world of depression, anxiety, fear, and resentment. “IT” would probably ruin my marriage (the only thing currently keeping me going). “IT” would cause my body to change in ways I was not prepared for. “IT” would already be developmentally behind because I had been dealing with my depression with medications and alcohol for the past two months. I also never take folic acid or eat vegetables, and live off of peanut butter sandwiches alone. “IT” would have no extended family to help raise it like I had. “IT” was already unwanted. NO. I can’t.
I made the calls to my OB-GYN to get a preliminary ultrasound to confirm, as well as to talk about my options. This is where I get angry. I’ll keep it short. Basically, even my own OB-GYN assumed I was keeping the pregnancy. She was shocked when I asked for an abortion referral, she did not explain to me what my options were or asked how I felt, and then rushed me out of the office like I was going to infect the other pregnant women with this ‘selfish free-thinking disease that killed babies’. She gave me a sticky note with a phone number on it for the nearest abortion clinic. Thanks lady, I could have used Google for that.
I went by the abortion clinic to see it and ask basic questions. It was in a terrible part of town and the staff was not helpful. I could tell they were overwhelmed because I couldn’t get an appointment for two weeks. The reviews online were horrible. This is my only option? I’m a nurse for goodness sakes, I should know how to get great healthcare!! I was lost. Is this safe? Is this painful? Is this clinic the right one for me? What other choice do I have? I had so many questions, not enough time off from work to find the answers, and the the longer I waited, the bigger this “IT” got.
And then I called a clinic 3.5 hours away. The staff were amazing over the phone and answered all my questions, and then even asked me some. They could get me in that weekend. They were there for me. They were kind. They treated me like a friend, not like a murderer. They didn’t treat me simply as a carrying case for a fetus, as my OB-GYN alluded to by calling my zygote a baby and assuming this was the happiest day of my life without asking how I felt about this unplanned pregnancy (the one I had taken the best precautions available to me to prevent).
Despite the angry protestors, the three hour drive, the agony of the required waiting period, the anticipation of the procedure, the dent in my wallet, the lost time at work, and the burden of keeping this pregnancy a secret from my friends, loved ones, and coworkers…my abortion was a pleasant experience. Weird, I know. I met so many wonderful women in the waiting room at the very clean clinic, to the compassionate nurses that held my hand when I couldn’t help but cry, the supportive staff with their loving eyes, the doctor that reminded me of my grandfather, and the young woman who owns the clinic who assured me that I was making the right decision for me and my family.
The procedure itself is not what I remember most about my abortion experience. It wasn’t painless, but even though I’ve never had a baby, I can say with a 100% certainty it doesn’t hurt as bad as childbirth or a C-section. I didn’t feel regret after, but I didn’t feel happy either. I was just me. I still felt pregnant actually. But as the days passed and the weeks flew by…I felt a lot more than that. I started feeling empowered. I started to feel like I was in control of my life again. I had trusted myself to make an important decision for my family. I can’t tell you with certainty that I will never regret it, but in this moment it was the right thing us. I got my spark back. I chose me. I chose a path that would give me a future I wanted. I didn’t know what I would do with it, but I knew it wouldn’t be consumed with taking care of someone else. I could start taking care of me now, because now I cared. If I was going to trade a potential life for my own, then I need to make sure I made something of it.
Its been a couple months since my abortion. I’m not completely ‘cured’ of depression or anxiety, but I have interests. I have a reason to live. I think back to my mom and dad’s ‘planned accident’ and I wish I could talk to her. We never talked about abortion when she was alive, but I know she would be proud of me today. I know she would be proud of my decision. I even wish I could tell her that if she were in my shoes 27 years ago, I wish she would have done the same. I wish that she could have had the freedom from me to find herself, and to take time to make her dreams come true. I know thats wishing myself away, but thats not what I mean. I really want to live a long full life now because of this experience…and I think she wanted that for herself too.