I found out I was pregnant the first time after being sick every morning for a week. I knew my period was late but I had been using a copper IUD for a year and a half ,and in my mind that meant that getting pregnant wasn’t possible. After days of feeling sick every morning, I remember so clearly the moment it crossed my mind that I could be pregnant. I looked in the mirror and I knew my body felt different. I took three pregnancy tests because I couldn’t believe it was true.

I was shocked and angry that this had happened when I had been doing everything I could to stay in control of my ability to become pregnant. I felt ashamed, thinking I should have done more and a burden of guilt for how I would tell my partner about what was happening. In those days, I felt that I carried the weight of a “mistake.” I knew what I wanted to do immediately. I wasn’t ready to meet the part of myself that is a parent. I wasn’t done being the version of me without children and I felt that so clearly.

In December 2021, I had a surgical abortion at my local Planned Parenthood. In my state, at that time, the process of accessing abortion care was drawn out and it took three weeks to get the procedure done. In the midst of all of this, so much conversation was swirling around SCOTUS’s impending decision to allow states to remove peoples rights to make decisions about their own bodies and lives. I felt trapped in my internalized criticism of people that seek abortion care and felt bombarded by everyone having an opinion on how folks should access abortion and how you should feel after the procedure.

During my surgical abortion, I was treated with such respect and care by the providers. At  Planned Parenthood, my choice to seek the surgical abortion was normalized in that space. I was grateful to be with people in the surgery room, and felt calm and confident in the procedures’ success. In the aftermath, I received a lot of care from my partner and the few friends I chose to share my choice with.

Two years later, I learned I was pregnant again, still not prepared to be a parent, but this time with deep regret that I was not in a place financially to care for a child in the way I wanted to. This time abortion care was illegal to access in my state. Since my first abortion, I tracked my period religiously. I knew I was pregnant when I was five days late and took a test – I want to name that this is extremely uncommon for folks to know that early on. I felt held by all of the people that have worked to give resources to folks seeking abortion in restricted places and I made my plans with the help of Plan C and We Save Us. It was easy and things moved quickly. I was talked through the whole process by folks at the M+A Hotline. This experience with an medical abortion was a stark contrast to my surgical abortion. I did not have the support of a provider and the anxiety and pain I felt during the process was almost unbearable. I am not sure how I would have done it without the hotline.

In the aftermath of both of these experiences, I feel clear in my conviction that they were right for me. I feel no need to justify and explain other than to myself and my partner who I shared part of the choice with. I feel sad knowing I wasn’t ready and grateful that I now know children are a future I want to build towards. I feel sad and isolated by the laws in my state and I feel powerful knowing they didn’t stop me from being able to stay in control of my body.