It was 20 years ago – I was 29 and it was an accident. The circumstances aren’t important, because a different who or where or when would not have led to a different decision.
There was never a moment when I considered going through with the pregnancy. At my initial appointment at the clinic I was informed that I would have generalized anesthesia for the procedure, and when I balked at that in it didn’t go over well; but the nurse who attended me the day of my actual procedure was incredibly kind and supportive. She asked me if the reason I declined to be put under was some form of “punishing” myself. When I explained to her that no, I just understood the medical facts of what was about to happen to me and I knew it was not serious enough to warrant general anesthesia, she nodded and then confirmed what I had suspected: most of the doctors preferred putting the women under because it prevented the patients from being “troublesome.” In other words, it stopped them from crying or asking questions. She was extraordinarily warm, which is more than I can say for the doctor, who said not a single word to me. From the time he walked into the room he addressed himself only to the nurse and he walked out the moment it was over. My nurse (whose name I have forgotten, which makes me very sad) even asked me if I wanted to see the aborted matter, in case that would help me with closure. I didn’t, but I will be grateful to my dying day for that gesture of respect on her part. It completely reaffirmed my own agency over my decision and reminded me that I was not a victim of some awful calamity – I was a woman who was solving a problem.
I have never drawn a single breath in regret or sadness. I have never married or had children and contrary to what some people think, that fact has only confirmed for me that it was the right choice – I did not want to be a mother, then or ever. I require no sympathy or comforting, because it was not a tragedy – you might as well feel sorry for me because I had my wisdom teeth out. I am not scarred, sorry, or ashamed. I’m not a criminal or a fallen angel or damaged goods. I had an abortion. And everything was fine.