I look back now and realize that even though I was educated and very capable, I was also very young and naive. I was 18 years old, a freshman in college and in my first serious relationship, all while dealing with my father’s illness and death later that year. A powder keg of change and stress – to deal with it I spent almost all of my time with my boyfriend, trying not to think about the future.
We used condoms for awhile but stupidly thought that we could avoid pregnancy using the rhythm method.
Midway though that first year, I thought I had the flu, one which lasted almost three months. I was tired and nauseous, and couldn’t stand the smell of certain foods. My boyfriend finally suggested that we get a pregnancy test “just in case.” The next day I took the test in my dorm bathroom, and (I feel foolish saying this now, 22 years later) was absolutely shocked when it turned up positive. (It turned out I was 10 weeks pregnant at that time.) I drove to my boyfriend’s to tell him, and once I did we knew what we needed to do. He still lived with his mom, working the night shift at a local newspaper. I had no job. We knew that we were not prepared to raise a child- we were kids ourselves.
I ended up calling Planned Parenthood and was able to get an appointment for the following week. I was awake the entire time, the staff were so kind, and the procedure seemed to be fairly quick. I remember when we left my boyfriend took me to a restaurant to eat. It was so surreal to have just had an abortion and then be surrounded by people who had no idea.
To this day, only a very small number of people know I did this. While not ashamed, I just don’t want others to see me differently. I am now married to my boyfriend and we have wonderful careers, a house, and a lovely dog. And no, we do not have any children. I cannot say I feel any regret having an abortion, but I also knew that I never wanted to go through it again, so we made sure to use birth control diligently. I know that having had a child so young would have limited our opportunities to become self-sufficient, so it was the right thing to do at the time. I am glad I had a choice.