I was 20 at the time I found out that I was pregnant. For weeks in December, I felt incredibly hungry, my lower back was in searing pain a majority of the time, and my pelvic bones physically felt like they were stretching out and growing. I disregarded it as growing pains since I was still young.

Then my boyfriend (at that time) and I had just come back home from a long weekend visiting his friends when I decided to take a pregnancy test so I could eliminate that as a possible reason why my body was wracked with pain. I took two tests to make sure, and both came out as positive. There was zero doubt in my mind about what I had to do. I was a young college student on birth control who could not care or provide for a child. I also didn’t want it. I was terrified that this thing was growing inside of me regardless of wanting it or not. So to pay for the abortion, I worked Christmas Eve and got paid double because it was a holiday. This, along with some of my savings and my boyfriend’s contribution, paid for the procedure. I still feel upset that I couldn’t spend that night with my family. It was the day before my 21st birthday in January when I went to Planned Parenthood to have the abortion. It was a long process of meetings, ultrasound and having the nurses check that I was healthy to undergo the procedure. I tried to crack a joke to lighten the mood while meeting with a counselor and she looked uncomfortable that I was trying to lighten the mood. I asked to keep the ultrasound so that I could be reminded of the possibility of becoming a mother someday. Afterwards, I had the procedure, which was surprisingly brief. I felt a huge wave of relief come over me as I left the clinic and went home. This was a powerful and positive experience for me. I understood from that point onward that I need to take control of my life and not let this happen again until I choose to become a mother. I believe having that choice changed my life completely. If I had not had the option for an abortion, my life and my dreams would have come to a full stop. Because of my freedom to choose what happens to my body, I can now continue to become the person I have wanted to be. It was the right decision for me without a doubt.