Be who you needed

by Natasha

January 5, 2022

I was 17 and just wanted to feel loved.  I knew having sex with a boy I thought I loved and his best friend, a boy with whom I was indifferent, was never going to give me the love I needed to feel fulfilled. But, there I was—doing it every day of the summer of 1992. A temporary ease to the unending emptiness.

When I became pregnant, which was inevitable, I didn’t know who the father was. It turns out the boy I thought I loved had gotten another girl pregnant at the same time. And there I was: A senior at a Catholic High School in the rolling hills of the Virginia countryside, pregnant, unsure of the father, and all alone. I remember the night I found out, Friday September 18th, 1992 (funny I remember it like it was yesterday) I called them both, separately, and they each shirked their responsibility with the same line, “It’s not mine!” leaving me to figure it out.

I had no money. I couldn’t tell my parents. My mother would have killed me. I called a cousin who lived in neighboring Maryland and she arranged it all. Thursday, September 24th, 1992. Commonwealth Women’s Clinic. I cried in the procedure room—I didn’t want it to hurt. The nurse was mean. She yelled at me and told me to be quiet so I didn’t scare other patients.

I was numb after that. For years. First, I fell into a deep, dark depression, and then I suppressed my pain and pushed it down. I was fine. It was time to move on. I had two healthy, beautiful children. But, the sadness always lingered. How could I be an abortion proponent and simultaneously feel such despair for what I had done? No one ever talks about the nuance of emotion that comes with abortion.

It wasn’t until one of the boys from that chapter in my life came back, 28 years later, that I could sit with my feelings and feel gratitude for my forethought, gratitude for having bodily autonomy, gratitude for that deep inner knowing that I had made the best choice at that time  with the knowledge I had.

Now, I help abortion patients as an abortion doula, in the room offering emotional support during their abortion. I tell them what I needed to hear. Now, I help fund abortions with a local abortion fund. I know their despair. Every day, I wake up and remember to be who I needed. It is an honor and a privilege to use my energy and passion to HELP. With love. With gratitude.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!