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I am so grateful that I don’t have to coparent a child with that person for the rest of our lives.

by Laurel

April 25, 2019

photo by Elizabeth Rudge

In the spring of 2014, my boyfriend and I decided that I would stop taking birth control. That June, I started a new job in Galveston, Texas—a town about an hour away from my home, boyfriend, family, and friends. I attempted the commute for a couple of weeks before realizing it was not feasible for the long term and deciding to move. By this point, I had come to realize that the timing was not good for a pregnancy. In addition to leaving my entire support system, I had taken a pay cut in my new position. But I’d always heard that it would be at least six months to a year before I would get pregnant after being on birth control for so long.

 

On the morning that I was scheduled to move, I opened the tote that held my gardening supplies and immediately fled to the bathroom to be ill. I called my sister, who told me to go get a test. I called her back, weeping, when it was positive. After taking a few days to myself to process, I told my boyfriend. He was wholly unsupportive. He had a daughter from his previous marriage and said he still had things he wanted to do in his life, bills of his own to pay, and that he wasn’t ready for another child. I was flabbergasted. We had mutually agreed to try to conceive—why did he agree to this if he was going to be upset when I actually got pregnant? He said he thought that “conceiving” meant we would be intimate more often, which made no sense to me.

 

I Googled “abortion in Houston” and set up a consultation appointment. In Texas, there is a mandatory 24-hour waiting period, meaning the abortion consists of two appointments with a 24- hour waiting period in between. The consultation was August 26, and the abortion was scheduled for the day after, which happened to be my 28th birthday. During the counseling portion of the first appointment I broke down in tears, and the counselor recommended I take a few days to make a final decision. After going home and talking it over with my parents, I knew abortion was the only logical choice to make. My parents drove me back to the clinic that Saturday; alongside the Clinic Defense Team, they helped shield me from the protesters.

It was more than a year later before I stopped feeling guilty for terminating a pregnancy that I thought I wanted. But I know today, even more than I did then, that it was the right thing for me to do. After my abortion, my boyfriend and I split up and I’m so grateful that I don’t have to try to coparent a child with that person for the rest of our lives. He would have resented me if I kept the pregnancy, and he also would have resented our child. After the abortion, I accepted a better job back in my home county. I’ve since been promoted and have started traveling with my parents. None of these things would be possible if I were a single parent with a small child in tow.

 

A couple of years after my abortion, I found myself wanting to give back through some kind of volunteer work. I remembered the kind individuals who ushered me into the clinic that day, defending me from the abusive protesters and helping me get inside safely. I contacted the organization that handles the Clinic Defense Team at the same clinic where I had my abortion, and I have now been volunteering with the team for nearly a year. On every shift, I hope to make someone else’s difficult situation just a little easier by offering them care and respect, and I’m glad my own abortion has allowed me to find such a meaningful way to support others who are making the same choice.

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