I wore red

by Britt

July 19, 2022

It’s been almost thirteen years. I don’t really talk about it. Must. Not. Talk. About. It. It’s far too private. Far too complicated. Oh, what would everyone think if I talked about it? But, can we please talk about it?

This is my abortion story. My story isn’t unique. It isn’t special. That’s the thing about abortion, it’s happening all around us. It’s just that we don’t really talk about it. Until now.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. It was supposed to be like in the movies. I’m married and my gorgeously dorky friend played by Cameron Diaz is with me as we wait for the pee to do its thing on that pesky pregnancy stick. Then we plan how to tell my perfect husband when he comes home from work that he’s about to be a father. Except, it didn’t happen that way. I was single and my gorgeously dorky friend Laura was with me as I fought back the urge to vomit as we stared at that pesky pregnancy stick, thinking about how to tell my imperfect guy friend he was about to be a father.


One word that seems to hold the weight of the world.


Positively terrified. Positively overwhelmed. Positively so not feeling positive right now.

I always thought I’d be ready to be a mom at some predetermined age. Like a maternal switch being flipped. So why wasn’t I ready? I had a full-time job with benefits. Had my shit together (for the most part). But motherhood seemed so far away until it was staring right at my naive, 26-year-old, why-didn’t-you-use-protection face.

I simply couldn’t believe it. I took two more pregnancy tests and went to my local Planned Parenthood. I tried to convince myself that maybe those tests would be different than the ones I took. But they told me what I already knew deep in my uterus was true. I was pregnant. My jaw dropped, my heart sank. What the fuck am I going to do?

I called my sister who is a nurse and also one of my best friends. She could tell immediately by the slight tremble in my voice. The palpable nervousness seemed to cut through the crowded Target where she was shopping. I swear she could feel the lump in my throat as I struggled just to get the words out. She dropped everything and drove an hour to see me. Be with me. Support me. Inform me. But most importantly, not judge me.

The next few days were foggy. I shut down. I cried. I listened to Imogen Heap on repeat.  I nervously laughed and upped my sarcasm game. I felt ashamed. I felt scared. But at the same time, I felt the exact opposite. I felt comforted. I felt supported. I felt loved. By the only two people I dared to speak about “it” with; Laura and my sister.

During my fog, I remember taking a bath. Wash it all away, I thought. Laura sat on the floor next to the bath. And we cried. Together. We discussed options. Because you know why? I had a choice.

After a week of remaining closed off, I slowly started to open up to those that needed/deserved to know. My parents. My almost-father friend and his parents. And you know what? They were amazing. They were present and waded right along with me in the shit. They stood by my decision. They were the best damn support squad you could want and need. I was lucky.

The day of the actual abortion was a blur. Yet crystal-clear at the same time. Three things are seared into my brain. The day; December 18. What I wore; my favorite red linen top. Ok, it wasn’t my red linen top. It was Laura’s. And maybe I wore it because it smelled like her. And it was kinda sorta like she was right there with me as I fidgeted in the uncomfortable waiting room chairs. Her red linen top, wrapping my body in a big, invisible hug, telling me everything would be alright. And lastly, I remember before the procedure started, the nurse, a complete-yet-compassionate stranger, asked me “can I hold your hand?” “Sure…” I sheepishly replied while clearing the persistent lump from my throat. And so she did. By holding my hand, she held me together. Gently rubbing my arm with her other hand. It’s amazing how a simple gesture from a stranger can mean so much.

And then just like that, it was over. I walked back to my car with my almost-father friend, past the protesting anti-abortion activists that felt the need to be a part of my personal choice, and drove home. I slept. A lot. Maybe it was the medication they give you. Maybe it was me trying to sleep off what felt like a really bad dream. Maybe it was both.

Contrary to popular opinion, abortion isn’t an easy decision for everyone. I personally grappled with it. More than I thought I would. But I know it was the right decision, for me. I didn’t just have an impulse purchase while waiting in line at Starbucks one day. It was the opposite. My stomach was in a constant state of nervous knots. I kept myself awake at night. Crying into a pillow to muffle the sound. Tossing and turning with “what ifs” and pro/con lists. But please don’t mistake this with current regret. I don’t regret my choice at all. At the time, I merely felt guilt over not wanting to be a mom. I felt saddened over the fact that my decision came with a shitty, unfair stigma. And even though my almost-father friend also wanted the abortion, the brunt of judgment lies with me, the woman.

I’m not a baby killer.

I’m not anti-life.

Don’t you see? I did choose life. I chose my own. I chose to put myself first. And as selfish as that may be to some people, it was my personal choice. Not theirs. This has nothing to do with God or bible passages. As an atheist, I find that rather insulting. Besides, my body is nobody’s business.

In the end, I may have lost some things as a result. Like my friendship with the almost father. Sometimes heavy things have a way of breaking the very things trying to awkwardly carry them. Our friendship buckled under the weight of it all. And never got back up. It was broken. My heart was broken.

But I also gained some things. Some big, life-changing things. I’m happily married (9 years and counting) to an amazing man who knows, supports, accepts, and loves me unconditionally every single day. And we are parents to an amazingly saucy girl that we both wanted more than anything in the world. I can’t help but think that if I didn’t choose my choice so long ago, I wouldn’t have met this man or had been fully ready to have this lovely baby girl. Who knows where I would be? But definitely not here.

It’s been almost 50 years since the Supreme Court made it possible for my choice to actually be my choice. 50 years of empowering women to do what’s right for their bodies only to have it snatched away. Why are we taking steps back into the darkness, alone, instead of stepping forward into the light, together? Don’t put abortion in the corner. Dark, isolating corners only breed dark isolating people. And who really wants to live in a world like that? I know I don’t.

I’m mad. I’m disappointed. I’m terrified. Much like I was all those years ago staring at that pregnancy test with Laura. The only difference was at that time, the choice was all mine.

I’m terrified that people–people like politicians and Supreme Court justices, and the anti-abortion activists at Planned Parenthood that day–believe that their feelings about a fertilized egg should trump my choice of when I want to be a mother.

I’m terrified that a man wearing a suit can decide what a woman wearing a hospital gown can do with her body.

I don’t want to agree to disagree. I want us to realize that one choice does not fit all. I want us to accept the things we ourselves would normally not accept. So that all of us, every single one of us, is allowed the freedom to do what we feel is right with our bodies.

I have fears about finally sharing my story. What if I lose friends or family over it? What if my [insert awkward relationship here] reads this? What if everybody reads this? But again, what if NOBODY reads this? And my voice, like many voices, just gets lost in the shuffle.

But then I remind myself that I’m with her. The girl staring blankly at the floor while she waits alone in the waiting room nervously for her name to be called. The woman standing next to me on the train while googling for the nearest Planned Parenthood. My friend(s) who bravely shared their abortion story with me after I shared my own. I’m with her. And her. And her. And her. A million times over.

My hope is instead of not talking about it, we kick and scream about it. We stop tiptoeing around it by calling it “it.” We own the word, the decision. Our decision. We surround ourselves with people that feel the same and love us. Or, you can retreat into the isolating silence. After all, that’s your choice. But I refuse to have my body, my choices, my C-word dictated by someone that would never have to make that type of choice for himself. Because the only boss of your body should be you.

Whether you like it or not, we’ve all been touched by abortion. Be it our own, a friend, a coworker, that person you met just once, or someone you didn’t even know had an abortion until reading this very story. So let’s join together, holding hands and our individual, complicated choices (even if you don’t understand them) and move forward, stronger than ever, screaming our rights from the rooftops. We will not, we cannot, be stopped, as long as we are together.

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