I got pregnant at the age of 19, I had two jobs and was a full time student. I lived in a small southern town, and didn’t even realize that abortion was a real option or how to even go about getting one.
The father had a decent job and was willing to settle down and raise a baby with me. So, I quit school (vowing to one day go back) and had a baby girl shortly after my 20th birthday. Well, the father settled down just long enough to move me far from my family and strand me and my newborn in a strange new town. So, there I was – a single mom with a half-finished degree, no real support system, and too much pride to go back home and live with my Mom.
Fast forward six months, I met a fabulous single dad and we start to hang out. Things get serious and I move in with him. I feel as though I should say that I don’t always make the best decisions concerning men. I just don’t . Well, he wasn’t fabulous, he was controlling, he was emotionally abusive, and he couldn’t hold a job. But, I learned from previous mistakes and always used condoms, and they probably would have worked fine, except Mr. Controlling used a needle to poke holes in all of them. Nice, I know.
So, there I was – in a relationship I knew wouldn’t last, pregnant. I knew almost immediately that I was expecting, and this time I didn’t try to kid myself by saying it was the flu. I had to do something. I reached out to another single mom and moved in with her, and completely separated myself from the boyfriend. This was the late 90’s, well before the internet, so I drug out the phonebook and looked for an abortion provider. The first three I called weren’t abortion clinics at all, but some sort of church scam that tried to make me keep the baby.
Finally, I found Planned Parenthood, but they could only refer, not abort. They referred me to a clinic about 90 minutes from my house. I called and made the appointment, but I wasn’t very far along, maybe 4- 5 weeks, and they told me I would have to wait 3 weeks before they could perform the procedure. It was the longest wait of my life, I had all the regular symptoms, the morning sickness, the back aches, the mood swings, and the knowing. The knowing that my body was betraying me by growing this child that I did not want and could not possibly afford.
The cost for the abortion was $440. A relative fortune to a single mom. I broke down and asked the now ex for half the money, he said he’d have it, and he was willing to drive me to my appointment, as I was unwilling to tell another soul. He was not happy about it, and tried to convince me to have the baby, but I could not. He used the time waiting for me at the clinic to kick the fender on my car, so my driver’s door would no longer open.
It was April 1997 when I had the abortion; I have never been so relieved about anything else in my entire life. It was the best decision I could have possibly made. I remember very little about the actual procedure, except that I refused the valium they offered because I had to go to work afterwards. For a while I felt guilty about not being guilty, but I don’t regret it and rarely think about it.
I am thankful that I was able to do this for my daughter and myself.