I was one of the lucky ones. I lived in Ohio, and I was a senior in high school. It was the day before prom, and I took a pregnancy test in a CVS bathoom with my best friend reading the directions. When the “pregnant” flashed onto the screen, I hyperventilated. I was supposed to go to Chicago and start college in the fall. I had been drinking on weekends and smoking marijuana. I had an eating disorder. There was no way I could have a healthy pregnancy or take care of a baby.
I told my boyfriend the day after prom, allowing us one last moment of happiness. He was really mad about it, and accused me of getting pregnant on purpose to trap him. He had joined the military, and had little money, nor was he interested in parenting. He told me to stop contacting him immediately. I called my local planned parenthood, but was told that since I wouldn’t be 18 for another 3 months…just in time to make it too late… that they couldn’t help me without parental consent in the state of Ohio. So I got my best friend to agree to drive me to Illinois to have an abortion. Our guidance counselor overheard her gossiping about the road trip during school, confronted me, and insisted I call home and tell my mother what I was planning. I walked out of school, and went home. My mother was livid… she had raised me to know better and she was running for political office. But she was also supportive. She took me to a private ob-gyn at a reputable hospital. The doctor and I discussed my options and what I felt was best, and we agreed that for me, my best option was to terminate the pregnancy. I came back for an appointment a week later with my mother.
So why do I call myself lucky? My abortion was done in a private operating room, under general anesthesia. I never had to deal with the angry mobs of protesters, not being able to be put under, or pain at home, as I had a prescription for vicodin and tetracycline to combat infection and a 24 hour hotline to my doctor in case anything went wrong. I had my mother by my side and financial help. I am so lucky to have had a safety-net. I remember nothing about the procedure, but I do remember waking up in the PACU. I felt horribly depressed, and asked the nurse if I was a bad person for what I did. She took my hand and told me that I was a sweet girl, and that she could just tell, I would never be bad. I would occasionally cry and feel horribly sad for the next month when I saw a small child or infant, but the depression faded as my hormone levels returned to normal and life went on. I graduated high school with honors, went off to college and did everything I set out to do, and went on to become a women’s health nurse practitioner.
It is a myth that an abortion will emotionally scar you. It was not an easy choice, and I sometimes wonder in the back of my head what life would be like and what that child may have been. But my overall feeling is relief. Relief that I was able to go to finish my education and find a career that I am passionate about and love every day. Relief that I found a man who really loves me, rather than the guy in high school who hit me and left me when I needed him most. Relief that I was given a second chance to grow up, recover from anorexia and addiction, and be able to help others. And most of all relief that with my open future, I will be able to be the mother I want to be when I decide I am ready. Forcing me to be a mother at that point in my life would have destroyed everyone involved, which is why I am so adamant that no one be able to take away our ability to choose.