I am 23 years old. I had my abortion in May of this year. I have never wanted children. I have never wanted to carry a thing inside of me that is not part of me. The very thought chills me to the bone.

Being a mother, however, is something that I might want to try. I wouldn’t mind adopting. But to carry a child to term and birth it is something that I have promised myself from a young age that I will never do.

So when I became pregnant due to unprotected sex with my boyfriend of almost 2 years (we both knew we shouldn’t have but we did it anyway!), I immediately knew I needed to get an abortion. It was a struggle, though. I couldn’t stand thinking that I was pregnant, the very thought disgusted me and made me hate myself. “How could I be so stupid?” I kept thinking. My boyfriend kept insisting it was not my fault. He took a very active role in accepting his responsibility in it. But the part that told me that I was a horrible person and made me hate myself, also told me that I deserved the punishment of staying pregnant. I was stupid, so I deserved this.

My boyfriend told me that he would accept and stand beside any choice I made. I knew that we couldn’t afford it. We both worked 40 hours a week, we didn’t even have our own apartment, we had trouble making the bills on time already. There would be no way for me to get the proper medical care. My blood type is B-, which would have meant even more bills. I was sick for an entire month straight. I could barely keep anything except water down. I lost 20 pounds that month. Plus, the longer I was pregnant, the less time I had to change my mind. In my state, you can’t get a surgical abortion after 8 weeks. The only other option is to take pills and bleed alone at your house for days.

So I made the appointment. The clinic was small, and it was packed. So many people were there. They only were allowed to accept patients at 8:00 AM on Tuesday and Thursday. If you missed it, too bad. And the protesters were the worst. They wouldn’t speak to me. They spoke to my boyfriend. “Don’t force your lady to do this, man!” “Jesus will help you raise your child!” “Turn from the sin!” I tried so hard not to listen. My boyfriend was so angry at them. I was so angry at them. They couldn’t even acknowledge me as a person long enough to attack me. They thought my boyfriend was forcing me. They couldn’t even imagine that I have my own thoughts, my own wants, could make my own choices?!

But there were so many people. We had gotten there at 8, but the doctor couldn’t get there until noon. My boyfriend had to stay in the lobby. Only minors were allowed a person to go with them. I was so lonely and scared back there. But the others in the waiting area and I began to talk once everyone loosened up, and we swapped stories. Every single person in there was 100% sure they did not want to be pregnant. There were people older than me, and some younger than me. When the doctor got there, they gave us sonograms, because in my state, you have to be offered to see the embryo or fetus you are aborting. When the lady offered to show me I laughed, cause I knew that it was only a clump of cells. I hadn’t even been pregnant for 7 weeks.

In my state, though, you have to wait at least 24 hours before actually getting the procedure. So I’d have to wait another week before I could actually get the procedure. But it was definitely worth it. I was just shy of the mark before I couldn’t get the surgery. But I wouldn’t have been able to do it at home. It was some of the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. But it was over in 5 minutes, and the doctors were so nice. Everyone in the office was great. They didn’t judge me. They asked me questions about my life, and laughed with me. I passed out at one point because you can’t eat or drink before you go to the clinic. It was a difficult experience made great because of the caring people who took care of me. They actually treated me like a person.

And that is why I have no regrets. I was extremely worried that the anti-choice propaganda would actually be right about something, and that I’d get like some weird post-partum depression. But I didn’t. I felt great leaving, and I felt great after. I was able to eat the next day and actually keep it down. I felt like I was human again. And for that reason, I would not change a single thing about it. Except for maybe getting pregnant at all. I’d cut that part out.