Ultimately, this unplanned pregnancy was one of the most pivotal and empowering moments in my life.

by Emily

May 18, 2019

photo by Elizabeth Rudge

I found out I was pregnant in the summer of 2013, a few weeks before my 21st birthday. I was about to enter my senior year of college, and I was hopelessly in love.

I had been dating my boyfriend for about a year and a half, and our relationship was volatile and unhealthy by pretty much all standards. Even so, I would have followed him to the end of the earth. I remember sitting outside his dorm room in the dead of Upstate New York winter, waiting for him to be done berating me and let me back in so I could sleep on the floor of his closet. Yeah, it was degrading as fuck. I could have gone back to my own dorm room, but I never did. I just loved this man so damn much, I was scared that if I walked away—even just to the warmth of my bed for the night—I’d lose him forever. He made sure I knew that, at any point, one wrong move on my part and he’d be gone. That’s how he got away with doing pretty much anything he pleased. Manipulation, fear, and pain coursed through our relationship.

Despite all this, I saw myself with him forever. I told myself we would make it work. He would learn to be kinder. I would learn to be more accepting. He was really sweet sometimes, I told myself. He made me feel, I told myself. I wanted to graduate together, go out in the world together, and eventually have a family together. And I almost had that.

Looking back, I realize that getting pregnant could have sealed our fate, binding me forever to this man who wasn’t good for me, a man with whom I was weak—a shell of the woman I am today. But when I did get pregnant, I knew that I couldn’t commit. Ultimately, this unplanned pregnancy was one of the most pivotal and empowering moments in my life.

I wanted an abortion as soon as I saw the two lines on the pregnancy test. Despite my pipe dreams about living happily ever after together, reality hit when I learned I was pregnant. I couldn’t have a child with this man! Suddenly, having an abortion was the obvious choice. Essentially powerless in my relationship, I was powerless no more.

Having an abortion reminded me that I was the one in control of my life—that despite the powerlessness I had felt for the last year and a half, I did have power; I could determine the direction of my life. I stood a little taller and walked with more conviction. I was doing something for myself ! I was making a decision that was good for me.

With just a little more confidence, I broke up with my boyfriend soon after the abortion. I moved on, rediscovered my self-worth, and met someone who has shown me a truer meaning of love. I’m marrying him this fall, and we want to have a baby as soon as possible.

The truth is, no matter if I had chosen abortion, adoption, or parenting, my life probably would have turned out okay. But that’s not the point. We women are so damn resilient that sometimes it backfires; our ability to make do in nearly any situation is often at the expense of our own wants and needs. Yeah, I probably could have made do and had an okay life if I had chosen to continue my pregnancy. But I didn’t want to.

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