I was 34. I feel it is very important for me to tell my story because I had a very hard time finding stories like mine when I got pregnant accidentally, over 2 years ago.

I have wanted to be a mother for a very long time, and I have also experienced the panic that comes with advancing age and not knowing when my time will come, if ever. So I knew, as soon as I took the pregnancy test, I knew in my heart what my choice would be, and I knew it would devastate me. I had been pregnant for 6 weeks and beyond sore breasts, I had no symptoms whatsoever. My period was irregular for years so I didn’t suspect a thing. I was in a very new relationship with an immigrant who had just moved to the states, and it was an unhealthy, sometimes violent relationship. I knew he would not want to have a child then, and I also knew I was not ready emotionally or financially to raise a child on my own. I was in a crazy amount of student loan debt from graduate school, and working temp jobs because it was nearly impossible to find a permanent job at the time. The relationship I was in was just so unhealthy, even though I loved him deeply. He told me he would support the child if I had it, but he finally admitted to me that his choice would be not to keep it. He also gave me a lot of guilt about it, saying he would not be able to go to grad school himself the next year if we had a child. I hope he realizes one day the sacrifice I made in part because of him.

I am staunchly pro-choice, but I am a bit disillusioned by much of the pro-choice movement in the sense that they seem to want to put forth the narrative that women have abortions and are fine immediately afterwards almost all of the time. I think and hope that is true for many women. However, I also know personally, from my experience and talking to other women, many of us who go through it are profoundly affected emotionally. That does not mean I would not make the same decision again. But there are a lot of gray areas. Sometimes I do wonder if I could have decided to become a mother and if I SHOULD have decided to do so. That is life, the hardest decisions are almost never black and white. I don’t feel guilty necessarily, I just feel sad. Sad that I could not enjoy my pregnancy, sad that the man I loved did not want our child and treated me coldly throughout the experience, sad that I had to make that sacrifice.

It has made me more pro-choice because no one has the right to judge any woman faced with that decision. The only thing women need and deserve is compassion when they are faced with an unwanted pregnancy. I am thankful I had the choice, and I am thankful all it took was a phone call and making an appointment and showing up a few days later.

I have learned to live with a sense of loss that never truly goes away. I am out of that relationship for good and sometimes I do feel relief that I spared myself the pain of having to be connected to that person for the rest of my life. I want women to know, if they feel sadness, it’s normal, and that they are not alone. I hope to become a mother one day. Abortion is not a selfish decision, it’s a decision made out of love and compassion and great sacrifice. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.