I was 20 and part of a fundamentalist Christian group that worked with underprivileged children in New York City. If I had told any of the leaders, I would have been sent back to my church and family in shame. That had happened to another young woman I knew – she was thrown out of the program, and sent back home – while the young man got a stern lecture but no consequences.

So I told no-one except my boyfriend and two friends I trusted. This was 1970. Before Roe vs Wade changed the law in the US. But abortion had just become legal in New York. I don’t know what I would have done if I had to look for a back-alley doctor. (And I hope no woman in the future has to face that either.)

I knew I wanted children, but also knew I wasn’t ready. My boyfriend and I had been using condoms and contraceptive foam, but I got pregnant anyway. I scheduled my abortion for a week or so later.

And while waiting, I started talking to this child’s spirit. I told this spirit that I wasn’t ready… that if it wanted me as its parent, it needed to wait a few years. But if it needed to be born soon, it would be best to find another family. I knew with certainty that I could decide not to bear this child, that it was my right and my responsibility to decide if I could do it well or whether it would be best to say no. But no matter what I or anyone else does, that does not kill the child’s spirit. The child’s spirit will find a way to come into this world, even if it is not to me.

The night before the abortion, I began to bleed and went to the hospital. The doctor told me that I had started miscarrying and that it would be best to do the abortion procedure in the morning. Which is what I did. I’ve never regretted my decision. I know it was best for me and my future children. And I firmly believe that my communication with this spirit was an important part of this process. I am very thankful for all the loving support and understanding from my boyfriend at the time, from my 2 friends, and from the wonderful nurses and doctors who supported me in my decision.