The first time, I was 18, a freshman in college, and should’ve known better. I was a smart girl. But my erratic (and oftentimes absent) periods made me think I was safe. When I found out I was pregnant, my sophomore boyfriend helped me find a clinic, paid for the procedure, and stayed with me.

My body reacted horribly to the pregnancy, and I was violently ill for weeks. The procedure was easy, the clinic kind, and frankly what I remember most was gratitude for being able to eat food again.

We broke up not long afterward, but I was fortunate to have his support throughout. There was *never a question* of keeping it. Kids for me have always been out of the question, and I got on the pill.

The second time, 3 years later, was with another boyfriend (who eventually became my husband). By this time I’d made several bad decisions, was a college dropout at the time, so damn poor, living in squalor. Too poor to afford the pill anymore, we were stupidly taking chances. When I found out I was pregnant, it was late — close to the legal # of weeks allowed to have an abortion in my home state. Again, I was violently ill, too ill to go to work consistently so I lost my job. It was a brutal ticking time bomb, trying to scrape together enough funds in time to afford the procedure — which now cost even more because it was close to the time limit. He ended up pawning his most prized possession to pay for it…something that would now be of great value. I’ve always felt guilty about that.

The day I went to the clinic was 1 DAY before the legal limit, I recall them telling me that. I also recall being brutally sick and dehydrated and exhausted. That procedure was vividly painful and traumatic, yet I still felt grateful. It was agonizing to feel 1 day away from what felt like life-changing, imminent doom. Neither of us were prepared to care for a child at that point in our lives.