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I never thought it would be me

by Anonymous

October 11, 2018

I had an abortion about a month ago.  I have always been pro-choice politically, but I always thought that I would have the baby if I ever got pregnant unexpectedly. That is, until I actually got pregnant. I hope that my story will help ease other people’s minds who are considering or have decided that an abortion is the right decision for them. I am deeply appreciative of this movement because I came across it during a period of uncertainty and fear, and it made me feel empowered, supported, and in control of my own body and future.

I come from a conservative Christian family, so abortion is a taboo topic. I think this is part of the reason that I convinced myself that I would continue with an unexpected pregnancy, in order to avoid the guilt and shame that I thought I was supposed to feel. I got pregnant over the summer (2018). I am 22 years old and I just graduated from college, and I have since started my first year as a teacher. I got pregnant by my boyfriend of 3 and a half years. He has one semester of school left and he just left to complete a study abroad program for 4 months. The pregnancy occurred as the result of failed contraception, and we realized very quickly that we were neither financially nor emotionally ready to have a child at this point in our lives. Between me starting my first job, him leaving for 4 months, not having our own place, and both of us having loans to pay off for the next couple of years, we knew that having a baby right now would mean struggling financially, and that it could negatively impact our plans that we have for a future family.

Soon after finding out I was pregnant, I called Planned Parenthood to schedule an abortion. Originally, I was planning to have a medical abortion, but after doing more research and reading the experiences of others, I called back and changed my appointment to be for a Vacuum Aspiration procedure. I am very glad that I decided to go that route, and I would highly recommend it. I chose not to be sedated at all, and the procedure was still very tolerable. I went in for my appointment on a Saturday morning. There were a good amount of protesters outside, but none of them came up to me and I was escorted by a friendly PP worker into the building. My boyfriend and I decided together that I would go on my own and he would be on the phone if I needed him. This particular Planned Parenthood didn’t allow guests to come into any of the exam rooms, so it seemed unproductive to have him sit in the waiting room all morning. The only downside was that there was a LOT of wait time in between every step because there were a lot of patients there that day. My appointment was at 9am and I did not leave until after 1:30. I first went in for an ultrasound, where they asked if I wanted to know how far along I was, if there was more than one embryo, and if I wanted a picture. I declined all three. After that, I had to get my blood drawn, take 2 400mg tablets of ibuprofen and a pill to prevent infection, and go in for an educational session to talk about my options and the steps in the procedure. Between all of these steps was a decent amount of wait time.

After the educational session, I was given a maxi pad to put on and told to wait for them to call me into the procedure. When they did, two very friendly nurses took me into the exam room and gave me a gown to change into after removing my clothes from the waist down. They had me lay in an exam chair and set me up in the same way they would for a gynecological exam. The procedure was very fast. The doctor came in and made small talk with me while she numbed my cervix with a shot. That was uncomfortable, but not painful. She then used a tool to dilate my cervix and insert the tube. While she was removing the pregnancy tissue I had intense cramps, but she helped me breathe through them. The most painful part lasted a minute at most. As soon as she took the tube out the pain improved significantly. I sat in a rest area where I was given a heating pad and a snack and was monitored for 15 minutes (it will be longer if you are sedated). During this time, my cramps subsided and I felt better very quickly. I did not experience any heavy bleeding or intense cramps at all that day or after, though I did have some spotting on and off for a couple of weeks. That day, I went home and took a nap and was feeling pretty normal afterwards, and my boyfriend and I ended up going out for dinner and a light hike up a nearby river. I look back on the day and the whole experience in a positive way.

Since that day, I have experienced a range of emotions. Most days I feel confident in my decision, knowing that it was the best thing for me at this time. I am proud of myself for making the decision to take control of my own body and future. I feel very grateful that I was able to have access to this procedure, and for the compassionate doctors, nurses, and staff that I interacted with that day. Occasionally, I feel sad because I know that motherhood is something that I want. I want to create a life that is the combination of me and the man I love, and I want be able to nurture it and raise it together. The timing just isn’t right. I know that I am doing my future family a favor by planning more carefully to ensure financial and emotional stability. I think there will always be a part of me that wonders “what if”. The most important thing that I discovered is that it is ok to feel whatever you want to feel on any given day. There is no right or wrong way to feel!

Though this is lengthy, I hope that it gives someone the peace of mind or perspective that needs it! Reading these testimonies helped me a lot through the process, and I hope this does the same for other readers!

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