I don’t regret it

by Sarah

January 12, 2021

At eighteen, I got pregnant. I chose to become a mother. At twenty-two, I had another child. I planned this one. I wanted a sibling for my first born. At twenty-seven, I had an abortion.

I had always said that I’d keep an “oops baby”. I have always considered myself pro-choice but felt that I could never have an abortion. But then the “oops” happened.

I was approaching my final semester of college. I was on the honour roll. I was finally doing something for me. I’ve been in a relationship for over a decade. We’re married. We have two beautiful kids. We are financially stable. All of the reasons to keep the pregnancy were there. But I didn’t want to put my life on hold to raise another child.

My kids were both in school full time. They’re getting older. We’re getting closer to no longer needing daycare and being able to buy a house. It’s liberating. I could taste freedom, and that pregnancy felt like a weight I was not prepared to carry.

Today marks one year since I had an abortion.

The days leading up to December 7th involved me studying for an exam and checking my period tracking app to figure out why I was late. Finally, I took a test. As soon as I saw those two lines, I screamed. This was not something I was prepared to deal with right now. I had exams that I could not afford to fail. I had a career waiting for me.

I called the abortion clinic. And promptly hung up. I called back and sobbed into the receiver. I booked an appointment. I sobbed every day. I think it was two or three days. But it felt like an eternity. While everyone around me was preparing for a really, really hard practical exam, I was trying to figure out if I wanted to continue a pregnancy. I knew I had to make a decision.

I cancelled the appointment at the abortion clinic. I told a friend I was considering keeping the pregnancy. I fondled “baby’s first Christmas” ornaments and imagined what this little being could look like. A combination of my older kids.

When I got home, my husband handed me prenatal vitamins. I took one. And sobbed. And called the clinic to rebook my appointment. I couldn’t do it. It was such a complicated feeling. As much as I wanted to be pregnant, give birth, and have a baby, I owed myself so much more.

A big factor in deciding to terminate was thinking about all of the progress we’ve made as a family. Adding another child into the mix would result in a higher daycare fee, a bigger house that we couldn’t afford, a bigger car, less time for the two kids we already have. I felt like another child would stretch us too thin. And maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we could’ve made it work. But frankly, I’m tired of just making things work. I want my kids to thrive. The two kids I have at home. Not the embryo in my womb.

When I walked into the abortion clinic, I was greeted by dim lighting. Empty chairs lined the walls of the waiting room. Another person was there, smiling. I thought it was strange to be smiling in an abortion clinic. Surely everyone must feel as distraught as I was.

I filled out the intake form. One c-section. One vaginal birth. Third pregnancy. This will be my third pregnancy, and first abortion. No, I don’t have allergies. No, I do not want to know if this is a twin pregnancy. Yes, I want birth control. Yes, I want to end the pregnancy.

I was shuffled into the next room. I laid on the bed and had an ultrasound. A nurse drew my blood and tried to distract me. Afterwards, it was just her and I. The nurse and me. She handed me a pill. The first pill, the one that stops the pregnancy. I could not swallow it. I asked for a moment to think. I looked at my “pros and cons list”. I had so many pros. I think I had two or three cons. One of them was “I’ll regret it”. The nurse told me about her abortion and how she always thinks about what could’ve been, but knows she made the right choice. I swallowed the pill. And all of a sudden, the weight was gone. The decision was made. I just had an abortion.

I asked the nurse to take a picture of the ultrasound. I left the clinic with instructions, a lab requisition, and an orange box of pills to take at home tomorrow. I waited outside for my husband to pick me up. I stared at the ultrasound. It looked like a cheerio.

The next morning when I woke up, I felt a sense of dread. I didn’t feel pregnant anymore. But I knew that this was the day I’d pass the pregnancy. I was imagining the shower scene in Carrie. Blood everywhere. Screaming and sobbing. It wasn’t anything like that. My kids ran around the house while I curled up on the couch with a heating pad. My husband made soup which was welcomed, but hardly appetizing. I felt myself passing clots. I rushed to the washroom, and saw it. The pregnancy. The “oops”. It was pink and yellow in colour. Spongey texture. Looking back, I know that was the sac. I didn’t cry. I didn’t scream. I didn’t feel regret. I tucked it away in my freezer to bury later. When we buy our home.

It’s been a full year since then. 365 days. I graduated with honours. I’m now a nurse at the same abortion clinic I went to. I give people that first pill. I share my story with people every day.

I didn’t expect to write this much. I didn’t think I had this much to say. But it feels really good to shout my abortion. I’d like to shout it from the rooftops. I shared my journey as a teen parent. I shared my journey with my second birth, an unmedicated VBAC. I ate my placenta and shared that too. Abortion is part of the parenting journey. It’s part of my journey. I do not regret it.

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