by R

May 3, 2019

Last summer I found out I was pregnant. I was working on a farm, interning, and taking summer classes all at once. I was in a long term relationship that was doomed to fail. I was leaving the country to live and study abroad in a couple of months. And I was terrified. I grew up in a devout Catholic household, but I had been an advocate for choice. I never imagined I would have to make my own decision to have an abortion at 20. I told no one but my boyfriend at the time, the only man I had ever been with and the only person I felt safe enough to tell. Both of us pretty shaken, he supported me as I made my decision minutes into discovering. After making an appointment, I tried to stick it into the back of my mind as much as I could despite the horrible pain and nausea i felt on my daily commute and during hours of intense work outside.

When I went to Planned Parenthood, they told me I was 7 weeks. I felt so much guilt and pain that I buried incredibly deep into myself. I was not afraid of my choice, but I was horrified that I had gotten myself to this point. I smiled at the clinicians, acted like I wasn’t absolutely tearing myself up on the inside. I knew better, I should have been more careful, how could this have happened to me – all of these horrible thoughts repeated in my head. And most of all, I wanted my mother. I wanted to cry into her arms and to just feel safe. But in reality, I was dressed in a hospital gown in a cold clinic, surrounded by other women who were there for similar reasons. I will never forget being seated in a room with six recliners and looking across to see another woman crying quietly and as privately as she could. In that moment I cracked. I let tears well up in my eyes. I wanted so badly to tell her it was okay. I wanted someone to say the same to me. To tell me this was normal. That I was – clearly in this room – not alone. Afterwards, I remembered nothing. I was incredibly grateful for that and the professionalism and care, even if it was a little on the sterile side (emotionally speaking). I left with my boyfriend and thought I would never have to experience anything like this again in my life.

Not even a year later, I am a month away from graduation. I was dumped abroad by the same man that held my hand through my abortion process. When I got back to the country, he asked me if I regretted the decision I made. I have not once regretted my decision. But I have not told a soul other than him about my experience. Sometimes the words scream inside my head to be let out. This is the first time I’m even putting the words into writing. I hope someday that we feel no ounce of shame. That anyone with a vagina feels no judgement should they have to face this decision. Despite what many may think today, we are making decisions that allow us to fight for a future we choose. I will not be defined by this, but it is a part of my history. Should I ever have to make a choice again – it would be exactly that. A choice.

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