It was 1979, and I was 18 years old. I was working as a night shift waitress at a Pancake House in Pittsburgh, and my then-boyfriend worked there too, as a line cook in the kitchen.
It was only a matter of time before I became pregnant – we weren’t using any birth control, and we were having sex every chance we got.
I was living at home still, this was the summer before I went off to college. So when I started to throw up every morning, my mom took me to our family doctor, concerned for my health. The Dr., who had taken care of me since I was a little girl, couldn’t diagnose anything in particular, while my mom was in the room. But when he took me aside privately, he intimated that he knew that what I was presenting were symptoms of morning sickness. I forget how I actually was tested to determine the pregnancy.
But there was no question in my mind, or my boyfriend’s, about whether or not I was going to get an abortion. I was young, and dumb, and broke. And I was leaving in a couple of months to start college.
I went to a clinic in downtown Pittsburgh, by myself, one step then the next. I found a place to park, came up in the elevator, waited in the waiting room, read and signed the consent form, put on the paper gown, lay down on the cold metal table, looked up at the ceiling, heard the vacuum machine turn on, and wished I were somewhere else.
All I could think of was how much of this must flush through the mighty 3 rivers of Pittsburgh. I will carry the guilt, and the shame, with me forever.
A girl friend of mine knew I was there, my boyfriend knew I was there, and they both called me at home later that night, to see how I was doing. My mom asked me who was calling, but she never knew why they had called.