It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.

I was 17-years-old at the time. A year prior my mother died of cancer, my father lost his job for taking 1 week to grieve and at 17 I was motherless, my father had moved to New Mexico to live with his mother and find work, and I had to take care of myself.

I was in love. My partner and his family were my family. I was taken care of.

Then it happened. It was 1 month before we would have to go our separate ways to two different colleges in two different states. It was the classic teenage love story.

We were scared that I might have gotten pregnant because the condom we were using fell out during sex. Literally just fell off. So, we went down to planned parenthood to ask some questions and get advice.

I peed in a cup. We sat in the room and waited, joking about the possibility of being pregnant. The doctor came in and handed me three pamphlets and said with a somber tone “the test came back positive. You’re pregnant.”

I looked at my partner with disbelief. No–not me. Not us. This isn’t happening. I’LL have to skip the college life and maybe one day take courses at a junior college. I’LL have to take care of a child without any help. My mother is dead. My father is drinking himself numb on my granny’s couch. No. No. NO!!!!

It was awful. I ran out of the room, leaving the pamphlets behind. My partner followed. We sat in his car while I caught my breath. We went to a movie. We were silent. No room for discussion at this point. He knew it was up to me and was waiting for me to speak. I cried all night. Didn’t sleep.

There were 3 options that kept me awake and thinking every night. 1.I can throw away everything I’ve worked so fucking hard for despite being on my own and have this baby. Wave goodbye in a month to my boyfriend as he makes his way off to college and stay with his parents, only seeing him on weekends.

2. I can set myself back a year. Be pregnant, give birth, be attached, fall deeply in love the precious life growing inside of me, then have someone else come and take my baby away.

3. I could have an abortion. I could wait to have a child when I have a home, money and a stable partner to help me raise it.

I chose the third option. For weeks after I was empty. I felt the hole that the abortion left inside of me. The picture of the ultrasound that the clinician MADE me look at before making my final decision was a bad horror movie playing over and over in my brain. I was fucking angry!

But here I am 8 years later. I’ve finished my undergraduate degree. I’ve traveled. I’m doing work that I love to do and I’ve been able to do this because of the choice I’ve made. No, I wasn’t raped or coerced. I loved my partner at the time and we had an accident. I do not regret my choice and I believe that it should be there for every young woman so that they can experience their own life, struggle with themselves and the world before they have to help a child through that process.

Women deserve choices. Women deserve to plan their own lives.