I was 18, in my freshman year of college and having sex with my high school sweetheart. In late September I thought I had the flu. I never really thought about the possibility of being pregnant until one of my girlfriends saw me vomiting at school one day.
I took a test and it was positive. I told my boyfriend and he told me I had to get an abortion because his family would kill him if I had a child by him, as if my own alcoholic abusive father was going to be excited that his oldest daughter was about to make him a grandfather.
I asked for time to think and found myself creating happy endings in my mind. I told my cousin and she helped me see the reality of the situation.
Over Columbus Day weekend, at nearly 10 weeks pregnant surrounded by my cousin, my aunt and boyfriend I went to a clinic in Buffalo, NY. I remember it being surreal as we were accosted by Pro-Life protesters trying to talk all of the women they saw out of the abortions they were there to get, trying to persuade women like me to not exercise her right to choose.
The clinic was quiet, except for the muted conversations of the employees and the gentle crying of other patients.
My name was called along with 4 other girls. We went in and were individually examined and then sent to another room. The doctor came in, spoke softly and gently with no trace of judgement in his voice.
It was painful. I wasn’t prepared for the excruciating pain of the procedure. I accepted it as part of my “punishment” for choosing my relationship/my future/my life over that of the fetus I was carrying.
When it was over, I was placed in a recovery room and met the other girls who’d gone in when I did. We were a quiet, somber group. My paperwork was given to the nurse and a cheerful greeting was called out after my name “10:10 on ten ten, what a delightful coincidence”, as if having those numbers forever burned into my memory was something to be giddy about.
It’s been over 15 years since the day. The first few years were quite hard to accept my decision. However, as the years passed and my life changed, I’ve seen how my choice was the best. The boyfriend lied/cheated/stole from me and when I was ready to leave, I did so out of state with no guilt.
I’m open about my choices and why I made them. I’m the person who will offer a ride to the clinic and a weekend away if a friend is facing a situation similar to mine. I don’t judge others for their choices, but I know lots of people judge me for my choice. I don’t let their opinion of me affect my life.