I was 23 and in a new relationship with a man that I already thought I would marry, but we had been together only two months when we had a condom failure, and a few weeks later I took a positive pregnancy test. I called my mom right away, sobbing.

She said I had several choices, and that all of them had lifelong consequences, but that I didn’t have to have a baby if I didn’t want one. I did want to have kids, eventually, but I wanted a more stable relationship and financial base before I brought more people into the world. And more than anything, I felt very strongly about only bring very much wanted children into the world. I never wanted to tell my kids that I wasn’t 100% excited when I found out I was pregnant.

When I told my boyfriend, he held me and told me he would support my decision no matter what. So I went to a women’s health clinic in my liberal PNW city (no protesters, no judgment — I’m so grateful I had such easy access!!) and had a counseling session with a doctor who agreed with my reasons for wanting an abortion and cleared me for the procedure. I took a Valium. My mom and my boyfriend went with me, and held my hands during the procedure. I was devastated afterward. I had never been so sad. It was hard to make a decision like that, because it does cut off a potential pathway for all the lives involved. But I don’t regret my decision. Not ever.

I’m now married to that man — we’ve been together 16 years and married for 13. We have two beautiful children that we planned. When I found out I was pregnant with each of them, we both cried tears of joy, and the happiest days of my life are the days they were born. I’m so grateful I had the choice to have children when we were ready. We are better partners, people, and parents because we had that choice.