I was 23 years old. I had been with my boyfriend for 6 months. I was just starting my last year of Graduate School. Then, the unthinkable happened, my IUD failed.
I had gotten an IUD because knew I didn’t want to have kids until I was older, more settled. In other words, until I had an income above the poverty line and didn’t drive a car registered under my mom’s name. I also knew that while I was pro-choice, I never wanted to have to be in the position to make such a hard decision.
Even though it has only been a little more than a year, it’s hard to remember how exactly I felt. I remember being very upset, and very very torn. I knew that I wanted kids. I knew that my boyfriend wouldn’t be a bad person to have children with (we are still together now). But I also knew that I had spent my whole life working towards Graduate School and I knew that I would never be able to finish if I had a child. I also had no money and was 1000 miles away from home.
I called my parents, which was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. They were incredibly supportive and assured me that whatever decision I made, they would be there for me. I knew this meant that if I had my child they would end up supporting us financially for a little while at least and I didn’t want to do that. I also didn’t want to go through my pregnancy alone, my boyfriend lived three hours away and a weekend partner was not what I envisioned when I thought of having children. I asked him what he wanted, knowing that while it was my decision, his opinion did matter to me. He said he would be there for me either way but after some pushing, he told me that he didn’t feel he was ready to be a father. It took me three days to decide what I was going to do. Those days were an emotional roller coaster. One moment I knew I had to make my appointment, the next I became a mother lion who would do anything to protect the life inside her. My mom told me that once I made the decision, I could not look back, only forward. I decided to have a surgical abortion, I was less than 8 weeks along.
There were picketers outside the clinic in Atlanta. I think they bothered my boyfriend more than me. He was so upset that they were there to make my tough decision even more difficult. They weren’t too aggressive, more condescending. My mom flew down to be there for me. She and my boyfriend were waiting in the lobby when I got out. She, my boyfriend and I all talked about it afterwards, how we each felt about the situation and how we had come to our decision. Physically, there was some painful cramping for a few days. I woke up during the first night once in intense pain and almost went to the hospital, but it passed. Overall, however, I was surprised how fast I recovered and how fast my life returned to normal.
I still think about the life I could have had whenever I see a young child and her mother playing outside. I know that I will have that one-day, but that I wasn’t ready to be there yet. I plan on having a career and a strong healthy marriage before I bring a child into the world. I want to be able to give them the best life possible, the type of life my parents were able to give me. That was why I had an abortion. I don’t regret it, although of course sometimes it makes me sad and I grieve for the child I could have had, the life I could have had. I know that I am fortunate to have had such supportive individuals in my life when I made such a difficult decision.