My abortion

by Christina Jahncke

April 11, 2019

My mom took me to classes at our local community center when I was about 10 to learn about puberty and menstruation.  I don’t remember the class talking specifically about the mechanics of sex but I do feel like I was a late bloomer and/or was a little clueless when it came to the dirty deed.  I also believe that I knew that my mom had had an abortion after getting pregnant in the setting of an abusive prior marriage (although she probably told me more about it after my experience).


I remember having crushes on boys early on but I didn’t kiss anyone until I was a sophomore in high school.  My high school sweetheart and I started dating junior year after I pursued him. I asked him to our Tolo dance (our version of Sadie Hopkins).  We started dating shortly thereafter.  About 9 months into our relationship, it was clear that we were getting very close to having sex but he was raised Catholic and said that he wanted to wait until marriage. I wanted to respect that but I also knew that we were engaging in activities that could potentially put us at risk for an unplanned pregnancy.  I talked to him about getting condoms or me starting birth control but he was adamant that it (sex, actual penetration) wasn’t going to happen.  In retrospect, I obviously should’ve just taken the initiative and responsibility myself and gotten started on birth control.  My mom probably would’ve taken me to the doctor if I’d asked.  I probably could’ve gone to the doctor myself for a prescription.    But I didn’t.


The “activities” continued for another 4 months without actually ever going all the way.  But then my boyfriend and I went on a ski trip over our high school mid winter break with a bunch of our friends.  In retrospect, I can’t believe that my parents let me go on the trip without any parents chaperoning (or even more so that my boyfriend’s Catholic parents let him).  We all got fake IDs because in Canada the drinking age was 19 (and we were all 18).  So, of course there was lots of drinking.  I was probably inebriated enough the night in question that the details were maybe a little fuzzy for me and perhaps for my boyfriend as well.  I do remember making out with my boyfriend in the hot tub and some humping over our swim suits.  Perhaps my swim suit was pushed to the side but I don’t recall any actual penetration.  My boyfriend is in denial that we had sex and denies that that was the night it happened.  But I knew as soon as I missed my period.  I remember taking a pregnancy test and crying with my girlfriends over my stupidity.   I made an appointment to see a doctor at my normal clinic for confirmation.  I remember being very worried about my parents seeing a bill from the doctor and finding out.  But the doctor at my clinic was very understanding and reassured me that it was protected information.


She referred me to the Planned Parenthood nearby.  I was so early along in pregnancy that I actually had to wait a week or 2 to schedule my abortion.  I was petrified of telling my boyfriend because I was certain that (due to his Catholicism) that he wouldn’t want me to have an abortion and I was certain that I did.  It was late winter of my senior year of high school and I was on my way to college.  There was no way in HELL that I was letting an unplanned pregnancy get in the way of my career.  I did run through my mind the scenarios if he asked me not to have an abortion and what it would be like to try to go through college with a kid.  But I do remember the conversation.  I said to him, standing on my parents’ deck, “I am pregnant and I’m having an abortion”.  And he said, “Ok”.  He didn’t question it.  He said, “Of course that’s what we have to do”.  I found it hypocritical but also a relief.  We continued dating for 3 months after that, but it kind of broke our relationship, which I get.  He probably felt guilty but we never really talked about it.  I did feel bad for him but not for my decision.


We broke up just after prom.  I’m sure I told him when my appointment for the procedure was, but he didn’t go with me and never even asked me about it or how I was afterwards.  My friends Kendra and Tatum took me.  They will forever be my bosom buddies for being there for me.  I made up a story for my parents about babysitting because I didn’t want to tell them.  It wasn’t that I didn’t think they’d understand or be cool with it, it was just something that I wanted to do on my own.  The procedure itself was not really that big a deal.  I went to the Planned Parenthood as scheduled.  The provider was so understanding and compassionate and made me feel completely at ease.  Even though I don’t know her name, her compassion and my experience is largely why I went into medicine.  I don’t remember having that much discomfort but I do remember the sound of the vacuum machine during the procedure.


I came home that night and somehow my mom figured out something was off or out of the ordinary.  I spilled the beans and started crying, more because I felt bad for lying to my parents than anything else.  My mom was very hurt, but because she said she wished she could’ve been there for me and wished I had felt I could’ve come to her ahead of time.  From time to time, I have thought about when my due date would’ve been and how old a potential child might be had I not had the abortion (now 22!) but I have absolutely no regrets.  It was the best decision for me.  It’s crazy to think how my life might’ve turned out differently had I made a different decision.  I have told a dozen or so people since but now feel like I have to share my story to destigmatize what I feel is a very normal part of women’s reproductive health.  I held a candle to some extent for that high school boyfriend for a number of years but I saw him at our high school reunion 2 years ago and I wonder why I was so in love with him.  I was nervous to see him but it was also very cathartic to see him and see that who he is now makes it obvious he was never the right person for me (even if he did have a huge impact on who I turned out to be).  I have an amazing loving husband and 2 wonderful children.  I am an OB/GYN and I am an abortion provider.

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