I have wanted a child for years, and when I went through a horrible breakup at 25 I even resolved I would have a kid by 30 “man or no man.” Well, 6 months ago, at age 29, I got married to the love of my life in the middle of a pandemic. We had talked about trying to have a kid by the time I was 30 before the pandemic hit, but when it did, that timeline became fluid.

We are blessed in so many ways. We both have great jobs and work from home. We have loved spending all the extra time together. We are, on paper, “ready” or “prepared” to have a child. But when we would talk about it casually, both itching with baby fever, we just knew in our hearts “not now.” I could list a hundred little reasons “why,” but really it just was that we were so beaten down by the pandemic. We weren’t ready to begin what is notoriously another very hard season of life, when we hadn’t even come close to recovering from the most recent one.

Well, after a late period, which wasn’t abnormal for me, I took a pregnancy test out of an abundance of caution. I was confident it would be negative, and was about to walk out the door when I took it. I ended up standing in the bathroom in shock at that second line on the pregnancy test. I told me husband, who was happy and excited, while I sobbed uncontrollably. It sounds strange, but I needed that balance: of him being excited, and me being horrified. I don’t think I could have handled it if we both were upset, and it made me feel like I could really decide what I wanted.

We then spent the next week talking, barely getting work done, and I spent a lot of it crying. How could this happen— right before I turned 30, right on “schedule”— and still feel so wrong. “I want a child with this man, and I probably even want one kind of soon, but not now,” I thought. I woke up every day for a week hoping I’d feel differently. I know there was no rush to get an abortion, but I really wanted to get it early if I was going to get it at all.

The pandemic robbed us of so much. Despite feeling “lucky,” we both struggled so much mentally over the past year. We had just started to feel hopeful as the vaccines were arriving, and I explicitly had started to say I felt like I was coming alive again. The positive pregnancy test made me feel like my life was over. I felt stuck. I was worried about how having a child would impact my marriage; but I was also worried about how having an abortion would impact my marriage.

Ultimately it became this: choosing to keep a child is not reversible. But if we decided in a month even that we wanted a baby, we could try to conceive again. I’m still scared of having “missed our shot” but from what I can tell, and from what doctors have told me, that isn’t rational thinking. An abortion doesn’t impact fertility.

I always thought a decision to get an abortion would be easy and clear for me, but it wasn’t. It was a hard choice, but that it was hard made getting and abortion feel like the right choice for me. I know people never feel “ready” to have their first child, but I don’t want to have a kid I’m completely unsure about. I tried to envision having a baby in 8 months, and I’d feel hopeless.

I got an in-clinic abortion, and I highly recommend it. Everyone there was so nice to me, and I even unexpectedly cried at one time. It was just a wave of reality hitting me. I hadn’t expected to be there. But everyone who was assisting me at the clinic comforted me, and made sure I was okay, they talked about their own experiences. The actual procedure was so quick, I was shocked. I only bled lightly after, and I left the clinic feeling tired, but so relieved. This wasn’t the time for us to become parents, but our time will come.

It feels hard to talk to my friends, all who seem to either be pregnant or are dying to be pregnant. We are at that age, and I thought I was dying to be pregnant too, so I can’t really blame them. I scoured the internet for a story like mine, and I couldn’t find it. That’s why I felt like I needed to share my experience. Married people get abortions, sure. But I mostly read about married people who were done having kids, or who didn’t want them at all. The few times I found a story about a newlywed, who wants kids, getting an abortion, it was someone much younger than me. I’ve felt so alone the past couple weeks, and like I might be throwing away a “gift.” I wondered if I got the abortion, would I still be able to conceive at a time when we are both truly excited about it? But I believe our time will come. The pandemic has been relentless, and someday we will not feel so beaten down. I hope sharing my story helps others like me— I keep telling myself “I can’t be the only one.” I hope this lets someone else know they aren’t alone.