This was about our right to plan our family

by Laura

March 11, 2019

there is a screen grab of a video from the last song at our wedding, when i was riding a high of adrenaline and joy of being married and surrounded by so many people i loved, but when all of my mixtures of ibuprofen and acetaminophen had worn off and my stomach was swollen again. the first time i saw this, i felt a pit in my stomach and wondered if this was what all my wedding pictures would show – two years of hard work on my diet and lifestyle and in the gym gone to waste. what this picture actually shows is the best evidence of the resilience of my new marriage, my bond with my sisterhood of women, and what it means to live somewhere that empowers women and families.

five days before i got married, i had an abortion. i found out two weeks before the wedding that i was pregnant. the morning i found out was filled with the worst moments of my life. here we were, ready to start our family together as husband and wife. we didn’t fit into the exceptions people make to advocate for abortion access. my pregnancy was a product of a healthy, long lasting, and stable relationship, but it wasn’t the right time. but with no savings and maxed out credit cards on our wedding, and only just about to enter the first period of our lives that didn’t involve planning anything, we were not ready. we are so excited about having kids together one day but we knew that this was the wrong time and not under the circumstances  which we wanted to raise a child. my upbringing instilled these feelings of shame and guilt as if i did something wrong, but i had been struggling with birth control methods for over a year. on top of feeling guilty for having gotten pregnant in the first place, i felt guilty about not being excited about a the possibility of a child with my soon to be husband. what this came down to was our right to plan our family.

my pregnancy was miserable. leading up to my abortion, i threw up every day, i couldn’t keep up with the spin classes that i was teaching, and felt absolutely insane and exhausted.

then i had my abortion and that it was the most positive experience i could have ever imagined. living in MA, my insurance covered most of the co-pay, the staff at every stage was non judgmental and normalized the entire process. not one person questioned my decision or asked me to reconsider. every woman in that clinic made me feel safe and comfortable. i had an IUD implanted during the procedure and then dove right into a final week of wedding planning which resulted in exacerbated cramping and swelling, because i wasn’t able to rest as directed. all of the women surrounding me that week supported me and jumped to my aid without hesitation. I was overwhelmed with sisterhood and love. i knew that when the dust settled after our wedding, i had to tell my story because other women in my position must know that no set of circumstances should dictate what is right for you and your family and absolutely no one can decide what you’re obligated to do as a wife or a  future mother.

my husband and i grew so much closer right before saying our vows because of my abortion. at no point during our wedding nor since have i felt sadness, regret, or questioned our decision. we see cute children and smile at what our future holds. i don’t get plagued with the “what if?” instead, i am filled with excitement for the day we find out after we start planning a family.

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