It was early autumn 1991.
I was 21 years old. In January I had given birth to a beautiful daughter … the product of a relationship with a man who was not interested in being a father and was gone before I was two months pregnant. With the help of my wonderful parents and twin sister (we were all living together) I was raising my baby, attending business college full-time and working part-time at a party store.
For a long while I was in an on-again, off-again relationship with a young man with major substance abuse issues (for the majority of my pregnancy he was in rehab). We broke up shortly after my daughter was born, but got back together several times.
In September 1991, while the addict and I were still technically together (my daughter and I were, in fact, living with him in his father’s house), I met someone else. This man treated me well, asked me about my feelings and took me to nice places. I was not used to such treatment and I was smitten.
I moved out of the addict’s house and began dating the other man. We were taking things slowly and I was falling in love.
A missed period alerted me that something was wrong. I bought a pregnancy test at the grocery store and took it in the bathroom at work, knowing full well what the result would be.
I never for a moment considered having the baby. There was too much going on in my life, and I knew that having another child was not an option. I had already had a child with a man who wasn’t interested, and I wasn’t going to do it again. I had to finish my education, begin a career and take care of the child I had already brought into the world.
I made the plans by myself. I drove in my little Red Chevette to the Planned Parenthood in Kalamazoo, Mich. and had a counseling session. I made an appointment for the next week.
The only person I ever told about any of this was the friend who drove me to the appointment. The surgery wasn’t bad. I left with pain medication and antibiotics, and within a week I wasn’t sore anymore and my life was back to normal.
I don’t recommend abortion as a form of birth control. It only had to happen to me once for me to realize how important it is to take precautions against unwanted pregnancies.
But for me, a 19-year-old single mother, there was just no other option. I would not have been able to take care of that baby, and its addict father would have been no help. My first priority was my baby daughter, and I believe I did what was best for her and for myself.
I have never regretted my decision. Rather, I feel blessed that I had access to what I needed and that I had choices.