I wrote the date on the whiteboard in preparation for my high school English class. That’s when I realized I had missed my period and not noticed.
I knew immediately I was pregnant. I’d never missed a period before. I’d been on and off in a relationship with a man-child who was mentally ill. My self esteem was at an all-time low and I was lonely. I bought a home pregnancy test after work and confirmed the pregnancy. I told the man-child and he had a predictably immature and selfish reaction. I hung up on him and dealt with it on my own. I went to my regular gynecologist who performs nonsurgical abortions. The pregnancy was so early he was surprised I’d tested positive already. It was a black dot on the ultrasound. He put medication in my cervix and gave me an injection. I took pain killers in preparation for the induced miscarriage. I remember watching a Monica-Chandler episode of “Friends.” The cramping was terrible. It was unbearable for a few hours, then just sore for a while after. Like a bad period. I went with my mom, who was cool and understanding about it. I didn’t tell very many people. It kind of sucks that we can’t talk about our abortions. We’ll be judged. Certain friendships might even end. My job as a public school teacher would be in jeopardy if I were honest about it. I’ve never had any particular feelings about it. I’m not sad or ashamed. I wish I’d been more careful and not gotten pregnant. It was pretty absurd. My then boyfriend and I didn’t even have sex. We started to, but didn’t finish because he was so messed up in the head and we ended up getting in a fight mid-sex. I can’t believe that I got pregnant from that encounter, but timing-wise, it’s absolutely certain I did.
I got pregnant again 3 years later at the end of a relationship. He dumped me and I went off the pill gradually and without thinking because I wasn’t regularly having sex so it was easy to forget to take it. Three weeks later, we happened to have an unanticipated “one last time” bang, and I didn’t think about birth control. He was used to me being on the pill, so he didn’t think to wear a condom. Mostly I felt stupid, pregnant at 30. I thought I should be old enough to know better. I did the nonsurgical abortion with the same doctor. I made sure to take a double dose of pain killers this time beforehand, knowing from my first abortion that 10 mg didn’t even put a DENT in the pain. I never told the ex-boyfriend/impregnator. He would have supported the decision, but I was still hurt and angry over being dumped and didn’t need the emotional rollercoaster of going through an abortion with him. I still see him sometimes. We both have children now. I’m glad we don’t have one together. I have no regrets, guilt, or depression over my abortions. A little embarrassment about failing to use birth control, but being careless shouldn’t be a reason to become a mother.
I’ve never thought of abortion as a birth control method. I had multiple partners in the 20 years I was sexually active before I got married and had sex hundreds of times and only got accidentally pregnant twice. I used birth control regularly, usually condoms. Never had one break. I’m well-educated and middle class. I think that people have a lot of misinformation about abortion. I wish I could talk openly about it with the teenagers I teach. I feel like by telling the stories of my sex life and abortions I could prevent teenagers from getting pregnant. But I’d like to keep my job, so I keep my mouth closed. I’m so glad I had the option of abortion and that my health insurance through my job covered it 100%. My life would have been devastated and destroyed if I’d been a mother with a bipolar man-boy. And the argument that I “shouldn’t have sex if I don’t want to get pregnant” is annoyingly Puritanical. I believe women and men should be free to enjoy sex with as many or as few people as they choose.