Friends have become pregnant and made the same decision I did. When they tell me they’re considering an abortion, I share my story.
When I threw up in the trash can, I knew something was wrong. I can count the times I’ve thrown up as an adult on one hand. Throwing up is a bad sign for me. I went home from work and took a pregnancy test. I was, confirmed, pregnant.
My college boyfriend was Midwestern. He was a hockey player, the type of guy who could light up a room. He could also be judgmental and jealous, as college age men can be. We had gotten back together after a summer apart, and he was quick to inquire about my love life and even after I voiced my experiences, remained silent on his own. Suffice it to say, we did not have an open and honest relationship.
I was living in an apartment my parents helped me finance, because I was still in college. I worked on weekends and nights because I never wanted to exploit their kindness. I was twenty years old, living in a new city. I had made no friends outside of work, as I went to a commuter college and worked when not studying or with my boyfriend.
The environment I was in was lonely and isolated.
We were confused about the pregnancy. You know that people get pregnant from sex, that’s pretty clear, but I was on the pill. I must have missed a pill.
There was no one to talk to. I had no community where I was. I had friends I could call, but I felt silenced. I could not voice what was happening to me. I was so embarrassed.
I couldn’t entertain the idea of telling my parents. There is so much shame surrounding sex. When my mom *thought* I was sexually active she put me on the pill to be done with it. She meant well, it was just a very uncomfortable topic for us. At the time, I had not actually had sex.
So my college boyfriend and I drove to Planned Parenthood. We did a sonogram. Again – pregnant. We would plan my abortion. It was early enough that there was a medical option. I remember going to a restaurant after and feeling every feeling; concern, regret, sadness, defeat. We did not discuss remaining pregnant. We were so young, in more ways than age, and we knew it was not the right decision for us.
When I went back to Planned Parenthood for the procedure, they briefed me on what would happen. They were very kind and professional. Before they gave me the medication, they talked with me to make sure I was comfortable and making an informed decision. They were supportive and nonjudgmental.
There is nothing that prepares you. Or there wasn’t for me. You take the pills. You go home. You prepare to bleed. And I bled. So much. It was a devastating amount. I feared something might be wrong. I was scared that I had told no one, outside of the boyfriend, and that if something was wrong, how do I explain starting from that point?
The bleeding slowed in a few days. I hadn’t confided in anyone other than the coworker who caught me throwing up. I can’t say with certainty that I’ve told all of my closest friends.
Over the years, friends have become pregnant and made the same decision I did. And when they tell me they’re pregnant and considering an abortion, I share my story. I have slowly told my friends and I believe more than half of the women close to me have had abortions.
It’s so important to destigmatize abortion because it has an impact on many. No one should have to go through it alone or unsupported. My experience was one that was safe and professional, which I attribute to Planned Parenthood.