I was 19 and sophomore in college when I got pregnant. I had only been with my boyfriend for a few months, and I couldn’t see him as a father. I wanted my child to have a father that was better than the one I had. My boyfriend wasn’t ready. Neither was I.

I didn’t tell him I was pregnant. I wasn’t comfortable enough with him to discuss something like that. It was my first serious sexual relationship, and I didn’t want it to be characterized by an unplanned pregnancy. I wanted to keep my good memories. I felt like this was burden I could carry on my own.

My best friend wired me $400 so I could pay for the abortion. I walked through protesters on my way into the clinic, and once I got in I was shuffled through the assembly line of required services. In many ways, this was the worst part. It felt like they were just herding cattle. I have never felt more scared in my life.

I’ll never forget being in the recovery room and witnessing so much sadness around me and feeling it myself at the same time. I’ve never been in a more heartbreaking environment.

The aftermath was saddening, disappointing, and frustrating. I was mourning for this child I could have had and the life I could have led, but I felt like I had no right to grieve because I had made the decision to have the abortion. It was no accident. I felt guilty for having any negative feelings about my abortion because I didn’t want to satisfy the pro-life movement. I wanted to be like Gloria Steinem, I wanted my abortion to be a liberating experience. It wasn’t. But I also don’t regret it. I’m starting to learn now that all these feelings are okay.

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to make the decisions that were right for me, I just wish there wasn’t so much unnecessary shame attached to them.