I was 20 years old and recently married with an 8 month old son. To say we were struggling is an understatement. We were lucky if we made it through the week on our minimum wage paychecks. Thank goodness for our families and government funded food programs like WIC. I was on the pill the first time I got pregnant. After my son was born I tried to go on the pill again but it caused some pretty severe mood swings and regular bleeding. I was afraid of getting pregnant, so we really tried to be careful, used condoms and tried to monitor my cycle.

Looking back I chuckle, it was always so obvious when I was pregnant. I craved water every time. Oddly, I also left my husband three out of four pregnancies before I realized I was pregnant. I blame some of that on hormones, as well as the fact we should have never been married in the first place!

Ethan was just 8 months old when my pregnancy test came up positive. I was absolutely devastated. I could not imagine having another child. I was also very scared of having an abortion. I knew friends who had had them but I didn’t want to be “that kind of person”. At the time I was going to a fundamental Christian Evangelical church. I knew God would never forgive me for even thinking of having an abortion, but I just couldn’t imagine another baby. I wasn’t against abortion, I just never thought I would have one.

To make matters worse, my husband told me that if I had another child I would be a single mother of two at the ripe age of twenty. I called an abortion clinic and set up an appointment.

The actual procedure was easy. I felt a huge amount of relief when it was all done. The clinic I went to was, and still is, awesome. From the time I showed up to my appointment (after walking through crowds of protestors) to the time I left was about five hours. The actual abortion took five minutes. Two of those hours were counseling as I was pretty terrified and shaken up because of the protestors. They didn’t help matters. I made my decision weeks before going to the appointment and not a whole lot was going to change my mind; especially not random strangers screaming vulgarities at me “in the name of God”.

The worst part about my abortion experience was feeling like I could not tell anyone. I hid it from everyone for a very long time. I struggled with the emotion of deeply loving my son and choosing to terminate this pregnancy. The church was certainly no help so I stopped going altogether. I finally told my mother who felt terrible because I didn’t feel I could tell her. She said she would have liked to have been there for me. I was born in 1972 and often wonder if I would be here had Roe v. Wade been passed earlier.

I have three children. When I found out I was pregnant with my third child I considered terminating as my husband and I were separated and considering a divorce. Ultimately, I chose to go through with the pregnancy and we worked at our marriage for another few years. To this day I am so grateful I had the option of choosing a safe and legal abortion. My youngest son, now 14, is well aware he was a choice. I do not hide my position about abortion to anyone; especially my kids.

I have been with several friends through their abortions. All of these experiences inspired me to get involved by becoming a clinic escort, starting a pro-choice organization on my college campus and eventually joining the board of the non-profit Faith Aloud. I am passionate about a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion. Motherhood should not be forced upon women, or men for that matter.